Global, Regional and National Perspectives
Edited by Nigel Bankes, Irene Dahl and David L. VanderZwaag
Chapter 2: The international law and policy seascape for aquaculture: navigating tangled currents
What does international law and policy have to do with aquaculture? From one perspective, the answer is ‘not much’. No international treaty has been negotiated to specifically address the challenges raised by coastal and marine aquaculture developments. Aquaculture operations are largely regulated at the national level with each coastal state having the right to develop and control aquaculture activities within its offshore zones of jurisdiction. However, from another perspective and, as demonstrated in this chapter, the answer is ‘lots’. A complex mix of international agreements, documents and initiatives have emerged to promote sustainable aquaculture and are reviewed in this chapter. The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) establishes the overall rights and responsibilities of states in approving and regulating offshore activities including aquaculture. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has issued the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, which also covers aquaculture operations, and many other FAO technical guidelines and documents addressing aquaculture have followed. Additionally, three multilateral environmental agreements are especially relevant by emphasizing the need to consider and manage the impacts of aquaculture on marine biodiversity, wetlands and migratory species. UN General Assembly resolutions and processes are also relevant to aquaculture.
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