1998 Year of the Ocean
A SURVEY OF INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS
|2.||THE LAW OF THE SEA||J-2|
|3.||THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT||J-3|
|4.||LIVING MARINE RESOURCES||J-9|
|5.||LIVING MARINE RESOURCES¾ NEW AGREEMENTS NOT YET IN FORCE||J-14|
|7.||THE ANTARCTIC AND ARCTIC||J-19|
|8.||LIST OF ACRONYMS||J-22|
This Year of the Ocean document was prepared as a background discussion paper and does not necessarily reflect the policies of the U.S. Government or the U.S. Government agencies that participated in its preparation.
The legal regime governing the use of the ocean is based on a network of important international agreements. The following is a compendium of some of those agreements and programs relating to the ocean with a brief description of each. The list is selective and is designed to illustrate the major ocean agreements relating to the environment, fisheries, transportation, and the polar regions. The United States is either a party to each agreement or in the process of ratification. The list is indicative, but not comprehensive.
THE LAW OF THE SEA
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982
Senate Treaty Doc. 103-39, Oct. 6, 1994
The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Law of the Sea, with Annexes done at Montego Bay, December 10, 1982 (the Convention) and the Agreement Relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, adopted and opened for signature at the United Nations in New York, July 28, 1994 (the Agreement) provide a comprehensive framework that sets forth the rights and obligations of States with respect to the uses of the ocean. Its provisions would guarantee United States control of economic activities off its coasts, such as fishing and oil and gas development, and enhance the United States ability to protect the marine environment. At the same time, it preserves and reinforces the freedoms of navigation and overflight essential to national strategic and commercial interests.
The Convention authorizes a territorial sea of up to 12 nautical miles and Coastal State sovereign rights over fisheries and other natural resources in an Exclusive Economic Zone that may extend to 200 nautical miles from the baseline. The Convention further accords Coastal States sovereign rights over the nonliving resources, including oil and gas, found in the seabed and subsoil of the continental shelf, which is defined to extend to 200 nautical miles from the baseline or, where the continental margin extends beyond that limit, to the outer edge of the geological continental margin. The Convention preserves the rights of navigation and overflight in areas under Coastal State jurisdiction and on the high seas beyond.
The 1994 Agreement fundamentally changed the provisions of Part XI of the Convention that establish a system for regulating the mining of mineral resources from the deep seabed beyond national jurisdiction. Part XI was renegotiated to remove the obstacles to the acceptance of the Convention that had prevented the United States and other industrialized countries from becoming parties. The United States signed the Agreement and has submitted the Law of the Sea Convention and the Agreement together as a package to the Senate for advice and consent. The entry into force of a widely accepted and comprehensive law of the sea convention has been a consistent objective of the United States since negotiations began on such a convention over two decades ago. The Convention entered into force in 1994 and over 120 States are parties including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Australia Russia, China, and France. The United States is not yet a party; the Convention was submitted for Senate advice and consent to ratification in 1994.
THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT
Conference on Environment and Development:
Agenda 21 Chapter 17 (Oceans)
Chapter 17 on oceans in Agenda 21 sets forth an ambitious work program for the international community in pursuing the objective of sustainable development with respect to the ocean. To this end, it promotes new approaches to managing human uses of ocean resources, including the application of environmental impact assessment procedures and natural resource accounting techniques; economic incentives to encourage industrial and agricultural practices that avoid degradation of the marine environment; and protection of the ecosystems and habitats of marine species. Particular emphasis is given to coastal areas¾ the land/sea interface¾ which are critical to the life cycles of most marine species and in which human population is increasingly concentrated.
The specific program areas of Agenda 21 Chapter 17 (Oceans) may be summarized as follows:
(a) Integrated management of coastal areas, including representation of all affected interests in decision making, to ensure that human uses of these areas are compatible, sustainable, and environmentally sound;
(b) Development and implementation of strategies, particularly at the local and national level, to prevent degradation of the marine environment from land-based activities, including recognition of this effort as a central component of coastal area management;
(c) Strengthening and improving implementation of international measures to prevent marine pollution from vessels and from dumping at sea;
(d) Improved management of coastal fisheries, including use of selective gear and practices, to ensure healthy populations and to meet human nutritional needs;
(e) Implementation of obligations for international cooperation to conserve marine living resources found on the high seas (e.g., straddling stocks and highly migratory species);
(f) Protection and restoration of endangered marine species, as well as preservation of marine biological diversity, including protection of rare or fragile ecosystems and habitats critical for marine species;
(g) Coordinated programs of scientific research and systematic observations, as well as data exchange, to improve understanding and management of the marine environment, including implementation of a Global Ocean Observing System;
(h) Regular review and coordination of activities within the United Nations system relating to the protection and sustainable development of the marine environment and revitalization of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Seas Program; and
(i) Elaboration of programs to address the particular problems of small island developing States, whose economies and very existence is integrally tied to the marine environment.
Convention for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
The environment of the North Atlantic and adjacent seas has been the prime concern of ICES since its inception in 1902. As the oldest intergovernmental marine science organization in the world, its main focus has continued to be on international cooperative scientific studies. Article 1 of the 1964 ICES Convention formally identifies the Councils principal functions:
a. to promote and encourage research and investigations for the study of the sea particularly related to the living resources thereof;
b. to draw up programs required for this purpose and to organize, in agreement with the contracting parties, such research and investigations as may appear necessary;
c. to publish and otherwise disseminate the results of research and investigations carried out under its auspices.
Since the 1970s, a major responsibility for ICES has involved the provision of scientific information and advice for fisheries conservation and protection of the marine environment to intergovernmental regulatory commissions, the European Commission, and the governments of ICES member countries.
ICES works in the broad areas of fisheries, oceanography, and environmental sciences, including the study of marine pollution, and maintains extensive databases on the North Atlantic, in cooperation with other international organizations. The work is organized and carried out by scientists from the 19 contracting parties: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Scientific Observer status has been granted to Australia, South Africa and Greece. Lithuania applied in 1997 for membership.
More than 40 international organizations have Observer status and cooperative relations with ICES. Of the United Nations agencies, ICES works with the Fisheries Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the International Maritime Organization, the World Meteorological Organization, and the UNEP.
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, 1960
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) promotes marine scientific investigations to learn more about the nature and resources of the oceans and provides related ocean services and training. The IOC plans, coordinates, and supports global and regional programs, in cooperation with IOC member states and other international organizations. The IOC is designated in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as the competent international organization for marine scientific research. It also has specific responsibilities under the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biodiversity, Agenda 21 of the UN Conference on Environment and Development, and the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.
Through memoranda of understanding, the IOC cooperates with ICES in the North Atlantic, and with the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) in the North Pacific region. UN agencies that work closely with the IOC on programs of mutual interest include the World Meteorological Organization, the UNEP, the International Maritime Organization, the FAO, and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Scientific advice is provided to the IOC by the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research of the International Council of Scientific Unions. Major programs include study of global ocean circulation, ocean mapping, and global ecosystem dynamics. Under each of these program areas and in cooperation with national and international agencies, the IOC sponsors and organizes meetings and workshops to define scientific problems and service requirements, and to develop appropriate international programs. The programs are executed by the participating IOC member states.
The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping
of Wastes and Other Matter, London, 1972
The Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, known as the London Convention of 1972, is the primary international agreement controlling the deliberate dumping of non-ship generated wastes at sea. Since entering into force in 1975, the London Convention has provided a structure by which its now 77 contracting parties have made consistent progress in combating marine pollution caused by dumping at sea. The London Convention has become more restrictive over the years. In 1993, bans on the ocean disposal of low-level radioactive wastes and industrial wastes were adopted.
In 1996, a Protocol to the London Convention was adopted, at a special meeting of the contracting parties, and signed by the United States, subject to ratification. The Protocol is a free-standing agreement to which both contracting and non-contracting parties to the London Convention may become party. The Protocol embodies a major structural revision of the Convention¾ the so-called "reverse list" approach. Parties are obligated to prohibit the dumping of any waste or other matter that is not listed in Annex 1 ("the reverse list") of the Protocol. Dumping of wastes or other matter on the reverse list requires a permit. Parties to the Protocol are further obliged to adopt measures to ensure that the issuance of permits and permit conditions for the dumping of reverse list substances comply with Annex 2 (the Waste Assessment Annex) of the Protocol. There are seven categories of substances on the reverse list. These include dredged material; sewage sludge; industrial fish processing or other fish waste; vessels and offshore platforms or other man-made structures at sea; inert, inorganic geological material; organic material of natural origin; and bulky items including iron, steel, concrete and similarly unharmful materials for which the concern is physical impact and is limited to those circumstances where such wastes are generated at locations with no practicable access to options other than dumping.
Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1994
Over 160 countries are now Parties to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (the Convention) which was ratified by the United States in 1992. This Convention entered into force on March 21, 1994 and the Parties held their first meeting in April 1995 in Berlin. There, they launched a negotiating process designed to produce a new legal instrument to deal with the threat of climate change in the post 2000 period. In this regard, the Third Session of the Conference of the Parties [to the Convention] reached agreement December 11, 1997 on a protocol committing developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention), 1983
The Cartagena Convention, which entered into force in 1984, is a framework convention negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Seas Program. It is aimed at the protection of the marine environment and the promotion of environmentally sound development in the wider Caribbean region, including the Gulf of Mexico. The Cartagena Convention is similar in form to nine other regional agreements negotiated under the auspices of the Regional Seas Program, including one for the South Pacific, to which the United States is a party.
The Cartagena Convention contains general obligations on parties to protect the marine environment of the region from a variety of pollution sources, including oil pollution from ships, dumping, and pollution from land-based activities. It is intended to be supplemented by protocols containing more specific obligations in these areas. A Protocol on Combating Oil Spills was negotiated and entered into force with the Cartagena Convention. A Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife was negotiated in 1990 but has not entered into force. This Protocol has been transmitted to the U.S. Senate for advice and consent to ratification. A protocol on pollution from land-based activities, which accounts for about 80 percent of the pollution entering the marine environment, is currently under negotiation.
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements
of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (Basel Convention)
The Basel Convention is an international agreement which attempts to control the movement of hazardous waste across State boundaries. This Convention, which went into effect in 1992:
One hundred twenty-two countries have ratified the Basel Convention. Although the U.S. Senate has given its advice and consent, the United States is not a party at this time.
Global Program of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment
From Land-Based Activities, 1995
The Global Program of Action was adopted November 3, 1995 at the conclusion of a two-week conference sponsored by the UNEP and hosted by the United States. The Global Program of Action seeks to prevent the degradation of the marine environment from land-based activities by helping States Parties realize the duty to preserve and protect the marine environment. It is designed to assist States in taking actions individually or jointly according to their respective policies, priorities, and resources. It constitutes a practical source of guidance for action which must take place at the national and regional level; identifies steps for making available knowledge and experience about effective measures to combat land-based sources of marine pollution; and offers instruction on how to involve the relevant United Nations institutions in the implementation effort.
Convention for a North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES), 1992;
U.S. Senate Treaty Document 102-9, 102nd Congress, 1st Session
PICES was established to promote and coordinate marine scientific research in the northern North Pacific and adjacent seas, particularly northward of 30 degrees north latitude. The organizations purpose is to advance scientific knowledge about the ocean environment, global climate change, living resources and their ecosystems, and the impacts of human activities, and to promote the collection and rapid exchange of scientific information on these issues. The six contracting parties are Canada, the Peoples Republic of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States. Each party pays an equal contribution.
South Pacific Regional Environment Program, 1995
The South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) is designed to promote cooperation in the South Pacific region, provide assistance to protect and improve the environment, and to ensure sustainable development. SPREP is comprised of twenty-two Pacific island countries and four developed countries with direct interests in the region. The SPREP Agreement came into force on August 31, 1995. The United States has signed the Agreement, which is before the Senate for its advice and consent for ratification.
Convention on the International Hydrographic Organization
The International Hydrographic Organization is a technical organization established to coordinate and promote the adoption of reliable and efficient scientific practice in hydrography and navigation. It has the following objectives:
a. bring about close and permanent association between national hydrographic offices;
b. ensure the greatest possible uniformity in nautical charts and documents;
c. further the exchange of nautical charts and documents;
d. provide guidance and advice on request;
e. assist countries engaged in setting up or expanding their hydrographic service;
f. encourage coordination of hydrographic surveys with relevant oceanographic cruises or other activities;
g. facilitate the application of oceanographic knowledge for the benefit of navigators;
h. cooperate with other international organizations and scientific institutions with similar objectives.
The International Hydrographic Organization is organized in two parts. The Conference, composed of representatives of all member states, meets every five years. In the intersessional period, the scientific and technical business of the organization is conducted by the Bureau, composed of an elected Directing Committee and the Secretariat staff. Dues for the member states are assessed according to the tonnage of their fleets.
LIVING MARINE RESOURCES
International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, 1948
The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, drafted in 1946 after a conference hosted by the United States, was subsequently ratified and entered into force in 1948. This Convention was the culmination of a series of agreements begun in the 1920s, the purpose of which was to establish a system of international regulation for whaling in order to ensure the conservation and development of whale stocks, and to make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry. The Convention created the International Whaling Commission, the organization that is internationally recognized as having authority over the conservation and management of whale stocks worldwide. In 1982, the International Whaling Commission adopted a commercial whaling moratorium, which took effect in 1986 and remains in place.
Convention Between the United States of America and the Republic of Costa Rica for the Establishment of an Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, 1949;
Tuna Conventions Act of 1950 (64 Stat. 777), as amended (16 U.S.C. 951-961)
The Agreement established the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, to "(1) study the biology of the tunas and related species of the eastern Pacific Ocean with a view to determining the effects that fishing and natural factors have on their abundance and (2) to recommend appropriate conservation measures so that the stocks of fish can be maintained at levels which will afford maximum sustainable catches." The nations who are party to this agreement are: Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Japan, Nicaragua, Panama, the United States, Vanuatu, and Venezuela.
The Commissions duties were broadened in 1976 to include work on the problems arising from the tuna-dolphin relationship in the eastern Pacific Ocean. The International Dolphin Conservation Program, which was developed by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, has drastically reduced the dolphin mortality in purse seine tuna fisheries, where the dolphin bycatch rate had been traditionally high. In 1992, ten nations with tuna vessels operating in the eastern Pacific Ocean entered into the La Jolla Agreement, which committed them to reduce dolphin mortality to insignificant levels, with a goal of eliminating it entirely through the application of ecologically sound fishing methods. This Agreement established an annually decreasing limit on the total allowable dolphin mortality in the fishery to a level of less than 5,000 in 1999. The International Dolphin Conservation Program has already achieved that mark, well ahead of schedule.
Convention for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery
of the Northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, 1953;
Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982
(as amended: 50 Stat. 325; 67 Stat. 494; 79 Stat. 902; 97 Stat. 78).
The bilateral International Pacific Halibut Commission was created to conserve, manage, and rebuild the halibut stocks of the west coast of Canada and the United States to levels which would achieve and maintain the maximum sustainable yield from the fishery. The Commission is responsible for data collection and stock assessment, and addresses the issue of bycatch of halibut by the groundfish fisheries in the region. The halibut resource has been managed by this Commission since 1923.
Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries between the United States and Canada, 1954;
Great Lakes Fisheries Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 932)
The bilateral Great Lakes Fishery Commission was established to control and eradicate sea lamprey, which decimated important commercial and recreational fisheries in the Great Lakes. The lamprey entered the lakes through canals built in the nineteenth century to provide access to the lakes by ocean-going vessels. This Commission is also responsible for undertaking research programs to determine the maximum productivity of any stock of fish that is of interest to the parties, and making recommendations on appropriate measures for the conservation and management of those stocks.
International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, 1966;
Atlantic Tunas Convention Act of 1975 (16 U.S.C. 971)
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas was established to provide an effective program of international cooperation in research and conservation in recognition of the unique problems of tunas and tuna-like species. The Convention area is defined as all waters of the Atlantic Ocean, including the adjacent seas. The Commission is responsible for providing internationally coordinated research on the condition of the Atlantic tunas, tuna-like species, and their environment, as well as for the developing harvest proposals for consideration by the convention parties. The objective of such regulatory proposals is to conserve and manage species of tuna throughout their range to achieve maximum sustainable catch. Parties include Angola, Benin, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, Cote dIvoire, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, the European Union, France, Gabon, Ghana, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Morocco, Sao Tome and Principe, the Republic of South Africa, Spain, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, the United States, and Venezuela.
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially As Waterfowl Habitat, Ramsar, 1971
The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, known as the Ramsar Convention from its place of adoption in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran, is the only international accord dedicated to the protection and conservation of wetlands. Over 100 contracting parties, including the United States, have committed themselves to the wise use of wetlands at over 700 sites that are specifically recognized as important under the Convention. Wetlands support many important plants and animals, migratory waterfowl, and provide water purification and flood control services. Wetlands also play an important role in protecting shorelines and coastal waters from pollutants. Under the Ramsar Convention, the definition of wetlands extends to a wide variety of habitats, including rivers, lakes, coastal lagoons, mangroves, peatlands, and coral reefs.
Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Washington, 1973
The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which was signed in 1973, restricts international trade in the large number of endangered and threatened species. These species include all whales, dolphins and porpoises, sea turtles, some seals (including walrus), marine otters, polar bears, and some fish species. The United States is a party to this Convention.
Follow-Up on Actions Taken at the 22nd Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, Rome, March 17-20, 1997
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization was founded in October 1945 with a mandate to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living, to improve agricultural productivity, and to better the condition of rural populations. Since its inception, FAO has worked to alleviate poverty and hunger by promoting agricultural development, improved nutrition, and the pursuit of food security¾ the access of all people at all times to the food they need for an active and healthy life. FAO is active in land and water development, plant and animal production, forestry, fisheries, economic and social policy, investment, nutrition, food standards, and commodities and trade. It also plays a major role in dealing with food and agricultural emergencies. As a long-term strategy for the conservation and management of natural resources, a specific priority of the FAO is encouraging sustainable agriculture and rural development. It aims to meet the needs of both present and future generations through programs that do not degrade the environment and are technically appropriate, economically viable, and socially acceptable.
The FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) will address fishing capacity issues, shark conservation and management, and seabird bycatch avoidance at three technical consultations early in 1998. Policy-makers from COFI member countries will meet in October 1998 to recommend plans of action in each of the three areas. The plans of action are to be adopted at the March 1999 COFI meeting.
Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries, 1979; Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Convention Act of 1995 (Title II of P.L.104-43)
The mission of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization is twofold:
(1) to provide for continued multilateral consultation and cooperation with respect to the study, appraisal, and exchange of scientific information and views relating to the fisheries of the Convention Area (which is off the Atlantic coasts of Canada and the United States, from the Virginia Capes to the southern tip of Greenland), and
(2) to conserve and manage fishery resources of the Regulatory Area, i.e., that part of the Convention Area that lies beyond the areas over which coastal states exercise fisheries jurisdiction.
The Convention applies to all fishery resources except salmon, tunas, swordfish, marlins, cetacean stocks managed by the International Whaling Commission, and sedentary species of the continental shelf. Parties include Bulgaria, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Estonia, the European Union, Iceland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, the Russian Federation and the United States.
Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean, 1982;
Atlantic Salmon Convention Act of 1982 (16 U.S.C. 3601)
This Convention applies to the salmon stocks which migrate beyond areas of fisheries jurisdiction of coastal states of the Atlantic Ocean north of 36° N latitude throughout their migratory range. The purpose of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization is: (1) to promote the acquisition, analysis, and dissemination of scientific information pertaining to salmon stocks in the North Atlantic Ocean, and (2) to promote the conservation, restoration, enhancement, and rational management of salmon stocks in the North Atlantic Ocean through international cooperation. Members include Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the United States, and the Russian Federation.
Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada Concerning Pacific Salmon, 1985;
Pacific Salmon Treaty Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3631)
The mission of the Pacific Salmon Commission is to serve as a forum for cooperation between the United States and Canada in the establishment of general fishery management regimes for the international conservation and harvest sharing of intermingling North Pacific salmon stocks.
Treaty on Fisheries Between the Governments of Certain Pacific Island States and the Government of the United States of America, 1988;
South Pacific Tuna Act of 1988 (16 U.S.C 973-973r)
This Treaty provides U.S. fishermen with the opportunity to fish within the exclusive economic zones of some countries in the South Pacific region under agreed terms and conditions. It prohibits U.S. fisheries of any kind (not only tuna) except in accordance with the agreement. Only purse seine fishing for tunas is allowed. A separate economic assistance agreement between the United States and the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) is associated with the treaty. It calls upon the United States to pay 14 million dollars annually to the South Pacific nations through the FFA. The treaty requires the U.S. tuna industry to pay $4 million annually, in a lump sum, to the Pacific Island nations through the FFA. Nations party to the agreement include Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Western Samoa, and the United States. The treaty and the economic assistance agreement entered into force on June 15, 1988. The treaty has no expiration date. The economic assistance agreement was initially agreed to extend for a five-year period. In 1988, the treaty was amended and the economic assistance agreement renegotiated and extended for an additional ten years.
Convention on Biological Diversity, Rio De Janeiro, 1992
The Convention on Biological Diversity is the main international forum for addressing biodiversity. Its three objectives are conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components, and a fair and equitable sharing of the benefits of genetic resources. This Convention came into force in late 1993 and its Secretariat is located in Montreal. While the United States signed the Convention in June 1993, it is not a party at this time. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee favorably reported it to the full Senate in June 1994, but concerns related to domestic land use issues have stalled action on ratification.
The next Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties will be in Bratislava in May 1998. In November 1995, this body adopted the "Jakarta Mandate" on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity. Work has proceeded slowly on five issues: integrated marine and coastal area management, marine and coastal protected areas, sustainable use of coastal and marine living resources, mariculture, and alien species.
Convention for the Conservation of Anadromous Stocks in the North Pacific Ocean, 1992; North Pacific Anadromous Stocks Act of 1992 (Title VIII of P.L. 102-567)
The North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission serves as a forum for promoting the conservation of anadromous stocks and ecologically related species, including marine mammals, sea birds, and non-anadromous fish, in the high seas area of the North Pacific Ocean. In addition, this Commission serves as the venue for coordinating the collection, exchange, and analysis of scientific data regarding the above species within Convention waters. It also coordinates high seas fishery enforcement activities by member countries (the Convention prohibits directed fishing for salmonids and includes provisions to minimize the incidental take of salmonids in other fisheries in the Convention area). Members include Canada, Japan, the Russian Federation, and the United States.
Convention on the Conservation and Management of Pollock Resources in the Central Bering Sea ("Donut Hole Agreement"), 1994
This Convention establishes long-term measures for the conservation, management, and optimum utilization of the Aleutian Basin Pollock stock in the Central Bering Sea. The stock experienced a drastic decline prior to the negotiation of this agreement, and remains at a low level of abundance. There is currently a voluntary moratorium on fishing for pollock in the "Donut Hole," although fishing may resume under the Convention when stocks reach a sustainable abundance level. The Convention requires that vessels fishing for pollock in the "Donut Hole" use real-time satellite position-fixing transmitters and carry observers on board. It also requires that any vessels fishing in the area consent to boarding and inspection for compliance with the Convention by enforcement officials of the member states. The agreement will aid in ensuring the long-term health of pollock stocks in the Central Bering Sea on which the U.S. pollock industry in the Pacific Northwest in part depends. Parties include the Peoples Republic of China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Poland, the Russian Federation, and the United States.
Interim Agreement on Yukon River Salmon, 1995;
Yukon River Salmon Act of 1995 (16 U.S.C. 1821)
The Yukon River Panel created by this agreement will make conservation and management recommendations to the management entities designated by each country, independent of the Pacific Salmon Commission. The Panel will also undertake research, management, and restoration activities within the Yukon River basin. The Yukon River is a major transboundary river, rising in Canada and flowing to the Bering Sea through Alaska. The Agreement institutionalizes cooperative conservation and management and contains a provision, unique in international fishery agreements, committing both the United States and Canada to protect salmon habitat in the Yukon River region. The Agreement is in place while negotiations continue on other difficult long-term issues and is currently being extended.
LIVING MARINE RESOURCES¾ NEW AGREEMENTS NOT YET IN FORCE
Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas (Compliance Agreement)
The Compliance Agreement builds upon the legal framework established by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The fishery provisions of that Convention contain basic obligations for States whose vessels fish on the high seas to cooperate in the conservation and management of living marine resources. Under the Convention, flag States must also ensure that there is a genuine link between themselves and the vessels that fly their flag.
The Compliance Agreement builds upon those obligations in order to address a growing threat to the integrity of multilateral fishery organizations and international fisheries conservation and management measures: Fishing vessels flying the flag of some States members of such organizations have in the past increasingly reflagged to nonmember states as a means to avoid fishing restrictions that would otherwise apply.
Reflagging is only part of a larger problem. A growing number of newly built high seas fishing vessels are registered directly, without reflagging, in states that are not members of the major multilateral fisheries organizations, precisely because these states are not bound by the restrictions adopted by those organizations. The Compliance Agreement is designed to address these situations and, more broadly, to bring all high seas fisheries under greater control. The Agreement has two primary objectives:
(1) to impose upon all states whose fishing vessels operate on the high seas an array of obligations designed to make the activities of those vessels consistent with conservation and management needs; and
(2) to increase the transparency of all high seas fishing operations through the collection and dissemination of data.
These provisions establish a sound basis for conducting high seas fishing while providing for the effective conservation and management of living marine resources.
The Compliance Agreement forms an integral part of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing which was adopted by the FAO Conference in November 1995, and the Conference passed a resolution which urged members and nonmembers of the FAO to accept the agreement and to bring it into force as soon as possible. The agreement will come into force upon its acceptance by 25 countries.
On November 3, 1995, President Clinton signed the Fisheries Act of 1995, which contains the implementing legislation necessary to allow the United States to accept the Compliance Agreement. The United States deposited its instrument of acceptance for the Agreement with the FAO on December 19, 1995. Thus far the European Union and nine countries have deposited instruments of acceptance with the FAO.
Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, 1995
The Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (the Fish Stocks Agreement) was adopted on August 4, 1995.
The Agreement aims to reverse the global trend of declining fish stocks. It preserves current conservation and management concepts expressed in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It also gives form and substance to this Conventions mandate for States to cooperate in conserving and managing straddling and highly migratory fish stocks. The Agreement complements the 1993 Agreement to Promote Compliance With International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas, which itself is an integral component of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and which was adopted in November 1995.
The Agreement lays out general principles to be followed by States to conserve and manage the stocks in question. It prescribes a precautionary approach to fishery management and advocates compatibility in the measures adopted for stocks within areas of coastal State jurisdiction and on the high seas. The Agreement specifies mechanisms for cooperation between coastal States and distant water fishing States, particularly the use of regional or subregional organizations or arrangements. It also requires strict fisheries enforcement and the collection and exchange of data on fishing operations, and requires parties to settle disputes using the procedures established in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Nations that have ratified (the Agreement will enter into force when 30 nations ratify) include: Bahamas, Fiji, Iceland, Mauritius, Micronesia, Nauru, Norway, Russia, St. Lucia, Samoa, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tonga, and the United States.
International Dolphin Conservation Program (currently being negotiated)
This agreement, intended to formalize and strengthen the existing International Dolphin Conservation Programs provisions mandating dolphin conservation measures in the yellowfin tuna fishery in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, is currently under development. The most recent negotiating session, held the first week of February, 1998, resulted in the conclusion of an agreed conservation program. Nations involved include Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, the United States, Vanuatu, and Venezuela.
Multilateral Agreement on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Species in the Western Pacific Ocean (currently being negotiated)
This agreement, intended to establish a management regime for highly migratory species in the Western Pacific, is currently under negotiation. The next working group sessions are scheduled for March 1998; a plenary session is scheduled in June 1998.
Nations involved in negotiations include: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Western Samoa, Japan, Taiwan, China, Korea, the Philippines, and the United States.
Convention on the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization, 1948
The Convention establishing the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, entered into force in 1958. The name of the organization was changed to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1982. The purpose of the IMO is to provide machinery for cooperation among governments in governmental regulation, policy, and practice relating to technical matters of all kinds that affect shipping engaged in international trade. It aims to encourage and facilitate the adoption of the highest practicable standards in matters concerning maritime safety, efficiency of navigation, and prevention and control of marine pollution from ships. The IMO has 155 member states and two associate members. Many non-governmental organizations and observers also participate in IMO meetings. Since its inception, 30 Conventions and Protocols and over 700 codes and recommendations concerning maritime safety, prevention of marine pollution, and related matters have been adopted under the auspices of the IMO, some of which are discussed below. The IMO also focuses on the effective enforcement and implementation of these conventions, codes, and other instruments.
International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC), 1969;
International Convention Establishing a Fund for Compensation of Oil Pollution Damage (Fund Convention), 1971
The CLC and Fund Convention were negotiated in 1969 and 1971 respectively, to establish an international regime of liability and compensation for pollution damage from oil tanker spills. The CLC established a regime of strict liability on tanker owners to pay for damage up to $20 million. Above this amount, the international fund created by the Fund Convention provides additional compensation up to a total per incident of about $86 million. The United States never ratified these conventions, due in large part to the limits which were considered insufficient to cover damages and cleanup costs from major oil spills. In 1984, Protocols were negotiated to both conventions which increased ship owner liability to a maximum of nearly $86 million, and increased the total per incident compensation to about $194 million (the total compensation would rise to about $260 million if the United States were a party). After further technical amendments, these Protocols were adopted in 1992 and entered into force internationally in 1996. The United States is not a party to either Protocol and has adopted a unilateral domestic liability and compensation regime.
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships,
as amended (MARPOL Convention), 1973/1978
The MARPOL Convention, which entered in force in 1983, is the primary international agreement aimed at preventing or reducing intentional and accidental discharges from ships into the marine environment. The MARPOL Convention and mandatory Annexes I and II deal with discharges of oil and noxious liquid substances in bulk, respectively. Optional Annexes III, IV and V deal with packaged harmful substances, sewage, and garbage, respectively. MARPOL and Annexes I, II, III, and V are in force both internationally and for the United States. Annex VI, dealing with air pollution from ships, was negotiated in 1997 but is not yet in force. Another Annex, currently under negotiation, will be aimed at preventing the introduction of aquatic nuisance species, such as the zebra mussel, through ships ballast water.
The MARPOL Convention greatly reduces the amount of oil and ship generated waste which can be discharged into the sea by ships and bans such discharges completely in certain special areas. For example, the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico have been designated as special areas where the dumping of ship generated waste, including plastic, is prohibited. This designation will become effective as soon as adequate reception facilities for such waste are available in the region.
International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response, and Cooperation (OPRC Convention), 1990
The OPRC Convention, which entered into force in 1995, was negotiated to provide an international framework for cooperation in combating and responding to major oil pollution incidents, and to enhance existing national, regional, and global capabilities concerning oil pollution, preparedness, response, and cooperation. The OPRC Convention encourages all parties to enter into bilateral and regional response agreements to prepare for and respond to oil spills, and establishes a voluntary mechanism for parties to provide technical assistance in the form of equipment and training to other parties that request it. It also requires parties to establish national systems for preparedness and response which would include shipboard oil pollution emergency plans, and reporting requirements for oil pollution incidents. Even before the OPRC Convention entered into force, its provisions on cooperation were effectively utilized on a provisional basis to respond to the massive oil pollution of the Persian Gulf during the 1991 Gulf War.
International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (HNS Convention), 1996
The HNS Convention establishes an international regime of liability and compensation for damages resulting from maritime accidents involving the carriage of hazardous and noxious substances, similar to the international liability and compensation regime for oil which is described above. Maximum ship owner liability is set at approximately $133 million and the international fund will increase the total per incident compensation to approximately $334 million. At present, only one State is a party to the Convention but several European States and Canada are well along in the ratification process. The Clinton Administration is in the process of deciding whether to submit the HNS Convention to the Senate for advice and consent. Several difficult issues are under consideration, including preemption of U.S. liability statutes, which were particularly troublesome in the context of the international liability and compensation regime for oil.
International Convention on supplemental Compensation for Nuclear Damage (Supplemental Convention on Nuclear Damage) 1997
The Supplemental Convention on Nuclear Damage, was negotiated under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency to provide supplemental compensation for civil damages resulting from a nuclear accident, including an accident involving the transport of nuclear materials by sea. It establishes an international fund that would provide compensation of approximately $400 million, over the first $400 million of the liability limits provided by a partys domestic legislation. In order to become a party to the Supplemental Convention a States liability legislation or international obligations must meet certain minimum criteria, including strict liability, channeling of liability to the operator, and a single forum for jurisdiction among parties. It also creates a mechanism that facilitates States entering into global international agreements on civil nuclear liability that does not currently exist.
THE ANTARCTIC AND ARCTIC
The Antarctic Treaty, Washington, 1959
The Antarctic Treaty, which entered into force in 1961, applies to the area south of 60° S including all ice shelves. The Treaty guarantees freedom of scientific research in Antarctica; establishes Antarctica as a zone reserved exclusively for peaceful purposes; bans military activities, including weapons testing; and prohibits nuclear explosions and the disposal of radioactive waste. It also provides the right of onsite inspection of all stations and installations in Antarctica to promote the objectives of the Treaty and to ensure compliance with its provisions. The Treaty freezes the question of previously asserted rights and claims to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica, and provides that no acts or activities carried out while the Treaty is in force will constitute a basis for a claim. The Antarctic Treaty provided for consultative meetings to exchange information, consult on matters of common interest, and recommend measures in furtherance of the principles and objectives of the Treaty.
As a result of these consultative meetings, approximately two hundred recommendations have been agreed to by the consultative parties. The recommendations incorporate measures to give effect to the principles and purposes of the Antarctic Treaty. Recommendations adopted at consultative meetings include initiatives which have led to the conclusion of separate agreements which address resource issues. Two such agreements are in force: the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (concluded 1972, entered into force 1978) and the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (concluded 1980, entered into force 1982).
The consultative parties adopted a Protocol on Environmental Protection in Madrid on October 4, 1991, which entered into force on January 14, 1998. The Protocol designates Antarctica as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science, and sets forth basic principles and detailed mandatory rules applicable to human activities in Antarctica, including obligations to accord priority to scientific research. The Protocol also establishes a Committee on Environmental Protection as an expert advisory body to provide advice and formulate recommendations for consideration at the consultative meetings.
The Treaty is open to any member of the United Nations. Thirty-one additional countries have joined since it came into force in 1961: Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Italy, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, and Uruguay. Of these, Brazil, China, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, India, Italy, Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and Uruguay have since become consultative parties entitled to attend and vote at consultative meetings provided for under Article IX of the Antarctic Treaty. Consultative status is open to representatives of any acceding party during such time as that party demonstrates its interest in Antarctica by the conduct of substantial scientific research there. Representatives of all other Antarctic Treaty parties may participate in consultative meetings as observers if they wish to do so. These meetings are held annually to consult on matters of common interest to Antarctica and to recommend to the Consultative party governments measures which will further the objectives of the treaty.
The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, 1980
The Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources establishes the legal obligations and mechanism for dealing with fishing activities in the waters around Antarctica. This Convention requires that management action take into account the impact of activities on all living organisms in the Antarctic ecosystem. More specifically, the objectives of the Convention are to ensure that:
(a) exploited populations not be allowed to fall below a level close to that which ensures their greatest net annual increase;
(b) depleted populations be restored to such levels;
(c) ecological relationships between harvested, dependent, and related species be maintained; and
(d) risks of changes to the marine ecosystem that are not potentially reversible over two or three decades be minimized.
The original signatories to the Convention were Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the U.S.S.R. It entered into force on April 7, 1982.
Declaration on the Arctic Council, 1996
The eight Arctic governments1 met in Ottawa on September 19, 1996, and signed the Declaration on the Arctic Council, which established the Arctic Council as a high-level forum to promote cooperation among the Arctic states on issues of mutual concern that require circumpolar cooperation. The Council incorporates the structure of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, which was created in 1991 to foster cooperation in solving Arctic environmental problems. In establishing the Council, the Arctic governments took particular note of the important role Arctic science and research play in adding to the collective understanding of the circumpolar Arctic. The Arctic Council currently comprises four subsidiary groups: Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna, Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment, and Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response. Two of the most notable results of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy and the Arctic Council in the area of protecting northern waters have been the publication of Arctic Offshore Oil and Gas Guidelines in English and Russian, as well as ongoing activities within the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment working group to develop a "Regional Program of Action for the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities." The Arctic Council is a forum for consultation but does not have an independent organizational structure with a secretariat.
Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears
In 1973, the United States, Norway, Denmark, Canada, and the former Soviet Union signed the international Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears. The United States ratified the Agreement in 1976. Under the terms of the Agreement, it became the responsibility of each nation to develop conservation programs to promote compliance with the Agreement. The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended, served that purpose, vesting authority in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the management and conservation of polar bears. Both the Agreement and the Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibit the take of polar bears in United States territory except in specified circumstances (by Alaskan Natives for subsistence purposes).
1The United States, Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.
LIST OF ACRONYMS
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization (United Nations)
FFA South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency
ICES International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
IMO International Maritime Organization
UN United Nations
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme