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 (Fish Stocks Agreement)
The United Nations convened a 3-year negotiating process that culminated in the adoption of the UN Fish Stocks Agreement in 1995. The United States participated actively in those negotiations and became one of the first States to ratify it. The Agreement, which entered into force in December 2001, is recognized as an important instrument for achieving sustainable fisheries around the globe. As a management regime, it set out principles for the conservation of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks. It also introduced new principles and concepts to fisheries management, including the precautionary approach, vessel monitoring systems (VMS), compatibility of conservation and management measures, transparency of activities within subregional and regional fishery management organizations, compliance of nonmember states with fishery management organizations' measures, high seas boarding and inspection, port state measures, and data collection and sharing standards.
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was not known as a forum for
the discussion of fisheries issues through most of its history, but this
changed in the 1990s when it took up the problem of large-scale, pelagic
driftnet fishing on the high seas. UNGA Resolution 44/225, adopted in 1990,
called for a moratorium on the use of this fishing gear on the high seas
by June 30, 1992. This Resolution was supplanted by UNGA Resolution 46/215,
which delayed the effective date of the moratorium until December 31, 1992.
Since that time, UNGA has adopted resolutions at least biennially calling
for various actions and asking the Secretary General to make status reports
on the implementation of those actions. The National Marine Fisheries Service
has worked with the Department of State to prepare a U.S. submission at
every such opportunity. In addition, UNGA regularly addresses in its resolutions
unauthorized fishing in zones of national jurisdiction and on the high
seas; overfishing and overcapacity; fisheries bycatch and discards; the
conservation and management of sharks; illegal, unregulated, and unreported
fishing; the ecosystem approach; promoting more widespread acceptanceof
the Food and Agriculture Organization Agreement to Promote Compliance with
International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on
the High Seas; and promoting more widespread acceptance of 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.