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Discuss and explain the abilities and limitations of the UNITED NATIONS convention on the law of the sea to regulate maritime ressource disputes in the Arctic Sea.

Par   •  28 Novembre 2018  •  3 436 Mots (14 Pages)  •  657 Vues

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Maritime law has a number of international instruments, executive or not, related to fisheries management: it goes from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982) to the Action Plan of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002), through the UN and FAO texts.

However, the reality is much more complex because of the cultural differences between the countries concerned. Political and economic pressure is important to protect the interests and the rules are difficult to enforce. [pic 12]

Nevertheless, the existence of texts of international law of the sea is a step forward even if the application of some still depends on ratification of agreements. The evolution of the law of the sea is then to be monitor in the coming years as its progress seems promising.

The problem of coastal areas

Coastal areas are of particular interest as their ecosystems generate increased competition and conflicts for space. Activity have an impact on one another: the construction of a port at anchor fish cages, or the installation of wind farms, the slightest flaw may have direct or indirect consequences on fish stocks. The example of the fish nurseries victims of poor water quality around is obvious. Hence the importance of an integrated approach to maritime activities to take into account any potential troublemakers.

An increasing focus on a key concept, Halieutics. It is defined as the science of exploitation of aquatic living resources: it tends to gradually integrate new dimensions such as resource management or restoration, in a sustainable development type approach (Researchgate).

Regulation fishing activity

According to estimations, the collection of non-target species would represent about a quarter of global fish catch. These species include those that are caught accidentally but unwanted or have to be rejected in accordance with regulations. This can be protected species, e.g. marine mammals, or endangered species, juveniles too small to be marketed or other fish species of no interest to fishermen, either in terms on the commercial or leisure. The bycatch species are usually discarded, often dead, at sea or on the coast. Various fishing techniques are then responsible for the indiscriminate capture of fish.[pic 13]

For certain marine species such as sea turtles, law are enforced to protect them. That is why their catch through industrial fishing operations must be reduced to a level that does not compromise their survival. In this context, measures have been taken for example shrimpers in the United States. They are required to equip their nets with turtle excluder devices, causing them to lose between 5% and 20% of their seafood.. Regarding the swordfish, productive areas being interactions with the living areas for sea turtles, they are off limits to fishermen. As for marine mammals, they are protected by a special law that sets the catch of these animals by industrial fishermen at a level close to zero, regardless of the degree of extinction of this population. (Mongosukulu)[pic 14]


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The unlisted and unregulated fishing is a problem that does not concern governments as fish abounded. Today, fishing quotas have been introduced to renew fish stocks without imagining that it would encourage ships to practice more and more illegal fishing. Most fish caught illegally come from waters too poor developing countries to have effective means of control of their areas and their ships, where an economic problem and access to food of

the coastal population. In addition, the boats engaged in illegal fishing do not conform to the fishing quotas set for the various species that live in their fishing grounds. There is therefore a significant risk of exploitation, particularly on juvenile (sizes unfulfilled taken), and thus disappearance of certain stocks in the short term (1-2 years). The loss is estimated at 2.4 billion euros (MH Aubert, 2007), to which are added the irreversible ecological consequences.[pic 16]

The international lobby

Global subsidies for the fishing industry are around $34 billion a year, mainly to Japan with $5.3 billion a year in the EU with $3.3 billion and China with $3.1 billion. Indeed, these subsidies aimed at increasing fishing capacity through the purchase of ships, fuel or fishing equipment are estimated at $20 billion per year worldwide and therefore encourage overuse. They also maintain the power of the United States and Japan over other less equipped nations.

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Degradation of marine resources

Unfortunately, degradation of maritime resources are numerous and often irreversible. The overexploitation of fishery resources is, at first, a major risk. Reduction of species, referenced or not, and destruction by indirect effect of the

[pic 18]

marine ecosystem. Overfishing, coupled with poor

management of fisheries, and lost billions of dollars a year in this sector, coupled with the large subsidies to fishing fleets.

Attacking the food chain returns to disrupt an ecosystem in its entirety. If overexploits large predators (sharks, tuna, marlin ...), stocks of prey fish (bottom row) are not regulated and an imbalance will fall into place.[pic 19]

Obviously, the overfishing has costs for both the economy and the environment. Allowing time for stocks to recover could increase productivity and maximize revenue over time for this sector. Such action is needed to stabilize both the fish stocks that the fisheries sector. On the other hand, it is important to consider the alternatives and countervailing measures by considering all aspects (environmental, socio –economic, political, cultural ...) to find « the » sustainable and effective solution.

[pic 20]

- Over-exploitation of non-living resources

The maritime areas are sources of tension among the several States, as to whom they belong. This is the current case between China, Taiwan and Japan that attempt to capture all three islands between Taiwan and Okinawa. Including basements contain hydrocarbons. Since 2012, the three navies of these nations meet periodically face to face because of these islands.

The oceans and seas contain a variety of mineral resources. It has energy in the form of oil and gas, construction


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