Conservation, Biodiversity and International Law

Conservation, Biodiversity and International Law

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Alexander Gillespie

This important and timely book provides a rigorous overview of the defining issues presently facing conservation at international level. The author provides detailed coverage of topics ranging from the classification of species right through to access and benefit sharing, drawing on his personal experience at intergovernmental level. Each question is examined through the prism of dozens of treaties and hundreds of decisions and resolutions of the key multilateral regimes, and the law in each area is supplemented by the necessary considerations of science, politics and philosophy – providing much-needed context for the reader.

Chapter 15: Compliance on the High Seas

Alexander Gillespie

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, environmental law, public international law


INTRODUCTION The topic of compliance with regards to the conservation of fish stocks is both easier and harder than the topic of compliance with regards to regimes involved in the conservation of both species and areas. It is easier because the conceptual frameworks of this area are more integrated and fit into an overall schema. It is more difficult because achieving compliance with conservation objectives on the high seas involves many more legal principles and nuances by which States can avoid conservation considerations. This is because the legal seascape is fundamentally different from that operating within the safe sovereign bounds of nation states. 2. NON-PARTIES AND NON-FISHERIES CONSERVATION REGIMES Ideally, all countries of the world would be members of all conservation agreements and all agreements would have universal membership. However, although increased membership is a long-standing goal of every Convention, it is seldom achieved. This is not just a problem with the high seas; the problem of non-signatories almost always exists with most, if not all, conservation-related agreements. In some instances, where the regimes deal more at the policy level, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the absence of a key player such as the United States is more of a political problem than a practical one. However, with regard to conservation regimes at the more practical level, the question becomes more pertinent – how should countries that have not signed specific conservation accords be dealt with in matters of shared concern? This question is important because, unless proper relationships...

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