Changes in the migration routes of shared fish stocks and the case of the Mackerel war : confronting the cooperation maze
Title: Changes in the migration routes of shared fish stocks and the case of the Mackerel war : confronting the cooperation maze
Author: VATSOV, Mihail
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2015
Series/Number: EUI LLM theses; Department of Law
The aim of this thesis was to examine the effects of changes in the migration routes (CMRs) of shared (transboundary and straddling) fish stocks on the cooperative conservation and management efforts of States. The CMR phenomenon, while not completely novel, appears to be intensifying in recent years with climate change playing an important role. Examining it is important because CMRs represent changes in factual circumstances with considerable legal effects that are largely unexplored in the legal literature. The thesis examined how States must cooperate in a CMR situation and what are the consequences should they fail to do so. In doing this, the thesis used the Mackerel dispute as case study because it is a recent and comprehensive CMR dispute, fittingly exemplifying a wide range of the legal issues that CMRs can create. The analysis focused, first, on the application of the duty to cooperate in CMR cases and, second, on the consequences of unsuccessful cooperation. In the application discussion, three common threads of CMRs were discerned, involving changes in the (1) nature of the stock, (2) States involved in the fishery, or (3) zonal attachment of the stock. The impact of these changes was found to range from distorting legitimate fishing interests and equitable arrangements to changing the applicable law. Furthermore, two perspectives were identified, under which States must cooperatively address CMRs. Under the voluntarist perspective, States may ignore a CMR if they so agree. Under the conservationist perspective, however, such discretion was found to be lacking when the viability of a stock is threatened. In analysing the consequences of unsuccessful cooperation, the thesis focused on three issues – pre-CMR agreements, dispute settlement and self-help measures. It was found that CMRs can be a basis for the termination of international agreements and that, while existing dispute settlement mechanisms may provide some answers for CMR-related issues, the sweeping jurisdictional limitations for fisheries cases can provoke retaliation and counter-measures instead of further cooperation. These findings show that CMRs can have tremendous legal implications and, due to their specificities, need to be examined in detail and separately from other conservation and management issues. Furthermore, States and scholars alike must be very attentive to CMRs in the future for the issues they can create.
Award date: 12 November 2015; Supervisor: Prof Dr Marise Cremona, EUI
Type of Access: embargoedAccess