DSCC Statement Made to UN Fish Stocks Review Conference Preparatory Meeting

Date: March 16, 2010

DSCC Intervention
Preparatory Session:
Review Conference on 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 New York, 24-28 May 2010

NRDC/DSCC Intervention

Thank you Mr Chairman, and we join others in congratulating you on your continued appointment.

This intervention is made for the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, a coalition of over 60 Non-governmental organizations, as well as NRDC, one if its constituent organizations.

Mr Chair, we would like to make some suggestions to build on the 2006 FSA review, taking into account developments that have taken place since then. These are issues of concern to our organizations to take into account for the review conference

Firstly, with respect to reviews of RFMOs:

We note that a number of reviews of RFMOs have taken place as recommended in 2006. Some important recommendations were made. It is critical that the recommendations made in those reports be implemented. It is also important that:

  • firstly, the reports be reviewed at a FSA or UN level, on a regular basis, and we suggest annually, and
  • secondly, that independent reviews be conducted on a regular basis, firstly to review progress made since the last review, and secondly to review any new issues that have arisen.

Secondly, with respect to the port state agreement. Until such time as it is fully ratified and enters into force, it would be helpful to recommend that RFMOs and States review measures to ensure they are consistent with the agreement and as necessary incorporate provisions of the agreement.

Thirdly, on science based decision making, we believe that it is important to recommend that conservation and management measures are devised and implemented according to the best available science and recommendations of the relevant scientific committees. In particular, fishing levels must be within scientific guidelines to protect the sustainability of stocks and non-target species and according to recommendations to protect the marine environment.

Fourthly, referring to mind resolution 64/72, we call on all members and RFMOs to fully implement the relevant provisions of that recent resolution, which builds upon the 2006 resolution 61/105.

The underlying principles should be applied to all fishing. In particular, assessments should be carried out to assess potential impacts on the marine environment, including non-target and related species and the habitat, taking into account the ecosystem approach and the precautionary approach, as well as to assess the target stocks, following articles 5 and 6 of FSA. Measures should be implemented to prevent significant adverse impacts on impacted ecosystems, ensure long term sustainability of stocks and non target species, and rebuild depleted stocks. Fishing effort, capacity and catch limits must be at levels commensurate with long-term sustainability of stocks.

Marine protected areas on the high seas must be able to be designated to protect ecologically or biologically significant areas, including vulnerable ecosystems and spawning habitats. This, together with other measures, is important to address the effects of climate change in the ocean.

Finally, it is also important that vessels and nationals should not engage in fishing activities until these requirements are complied with.

Thank you Mr Chair