Golden Gate University Law Review


This paper discusses some of the relevant principles and substantive obligations that require elucidation in controversies over highly migratory fisheries, with a particular focus on some of the legal issues relevant in the Swordfish case before the ITLOS: The discussion first focuses on the law on high seas fisheries and particularly on the obligations to enact and enforce conservation measures, to produce and share information, and to co-operate in conservation. Subsequently, a focus on international environmental law allows further clarification on the relevance of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, the ecosystem approach to the conservation of marine biodiversity, and the precautionary principle. The analysis of relevant principles and obligations in these two areas of international law, i.e., high seas fisheries and international environmental law, including their interpretation and application in relevant ITLOS jurisprudence, may avail in illuminating some of the deliberately ambiguous elements in the law on highly migratory fisheries.