Harmonizing International Regimes for the Sustainable Use of Living Resources
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Chapter 1: Introduction
The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) requires States to maintain the sustainability of fish stocks and to cooperate in the taking of conservation measures on the high seas. In order to fulfill these two obligations, states have concluded various agreements between themselves concerning fishing for identical species or in the same areas on the high seas. Ten years after the conclusion of UNCLOS, the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) served to emphasize, amongst other things, the need for states to adopt a holistic perspective towards conservation that aims to integrate environmental concerns into socio-economic needs. In the years that have followed, the international community has striven to come to terms with translating this holistic approach into substantive norms via the conclusion of new conservation treaties and by reviewing existing ones. In this manner, both UNCLOS and UNCED have strongly contributed to the specialization and fi ne-tuning of international law with respect to the sustainable use of living resources on the high seas. They have been less successful, however, in curbing its fragmentation, since coordination between the diverse fora which generated this accumulation of norms has often been lacking. The purpose of this book is to assess how these various applicable norms interrelate with each other. It aims to identify which legal techniques can be used when interpreting and applying these norms to harmonize their goals, methodologies and scope of applicability.