Making Fishery Agreements Work
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Making Fishery Agreements Work

Post-Agreement Bargaining in the Barents Sea

Geir Hønneland

Why do people obey the law? And why do states abide by their international commitments? These are among the questions raised in this important book. The setting is the Barents Sea, home to some of the most productive fishing grounds on the planet, including the world’s largest cod stock. Norway and Russia manage these fish resources together, in what appears to be a successful exception to the rule of failed fisheries management: stocks are in good shape, institutional cooperation is expanding and takes place in a constructive atmosphere. The author argues that post-agreement bargaining helps activate norms and establish standard operating procedure that furthers precautionary fisheries management.
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Chapter 4: Post-agreement Bargaining at State Level

Geir Hønneland

Extract

4. Post-agreement bargaining at state level When the Soviet Union fell apart in late 1991, the north-west Russian fisheries sector was already undergoing reform, with still more dramatic changes to follow. More and more fishing vessels had begun delivering their catches in neighbouring Norway. Initially an opportunity to earn some hard currency, this practice became a necessity for fishing companies when deliveries in Murmansk became ever more difficult during the 1990s. In just a few months, the Murmansk Fish Combine, once the largest fish-processing factory in the Soviet Union, turned into a ‘ghost town’ in the harbour of Murmansk. The Norwegian authorities viewed the events with a mixture of glee and horror. On the one hand, the massive Russian catches literally saved numerous fish-processing plants along the Norwegian coast, not yet recovered from the resource crisis of the late 1980s. On the other hand, there were suspicions that Russian enforcement authorities were losing control of how much fish was being taken by their own vessels in the Barents Sea. Soviet quota control had been performed on shore, when the fish was delivered – and the Russian authorities were now deprived of this control opportunity. As we shall see, this was to spur the establishment of enforcement collaboration between Norway and Russia in the Barents Sea fisheries, and subsequent further extension of the bilateral management regime. This chapter takes us through the rather turbulent post-Cold War period of Norwegian–Russian fisheries relations (turbulent as compared to the immediate past, if not to...

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