Harmonizing International Regimes for the Sustainable Use of Living Resources
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Having practised as an environmental lawyer in the public sector for 15 years, I have always been intrigued by the invasive nature of environmental law and its influence on other legal fields that had evolved before it. Securing the sustainability of stocks was already a fundamental aspect of international fisheries law when the 1992 Earth Summit highlighted the need for regulating the utilization of natural resources on the basis of sustainable development. Nevertheless UNCED has been highly influential upon the development of fisheries law in these last two decades. It stressed, amongst other things, the need for a more holistic perspective and sought the integration of socio economic issues into environmental concerns and vice versa. Since 1992, the International community has struggled to come to terms with translating this common objective into substantive norms so as to ascertain the sustainable use of high seas living resources. Above all, it sought to elicit the legal obligations and the required methodology to reach this goal. This process, however, also exposed the fragmentation of applicable international regimes addressing the conservation of high seas living resources. This is mainly due to its different sources and the diverse interpretation of the same legal terms as perceived by various international fora. I believe it was the perplexed feelings of my non-legal colleagues, who expect the law to be both certain and specific, which instilled in me the desire to write on this subject. Carrying out research to assess to what extent harmonization may be achieved amongst...