Golden Gate University Law Review


This article explores the concerns raised by conservation groups and evaluates the concept of a WOPT and its feasibility in light of international law of the sea regimes. Section I outlines the main elements of Orbach's vision for the enclosure of the world ocean, and discusses the concept of a WOPT as embraced by a growing constituency of conservation groups worldwide. Section II provides a summary review of the origin and development of the freedom of fishing as one of the fundamental freedoms of the high seas, with its crystallization under international law through the work of Hugo Grotius, its major exponent in the Western world. It also explores the differing property and stewardship rights of States over coastal areas and their obligations regarding high seas marine living resources conservation. Section III reviews relevant international law instruments, including the 1982 Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (hereinafter "UNCLOS"),' the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (referred to as U.N. Fish Stocks Agreement or UNFSA)," regional and international treaties, and other arrangements aimed to establish mechanisms for the study, conservation, exploitation and management of marine living resources on the high seas. It evaluates the effectiveness of these mechanisms and suggests that, although these regimes have curtailed the freedom of fishing considerably, in practice, they have been insufficient to ensure the optimal conservation of marine species. Section IV analyzes the feasibility of implementing a new ocean ethos for marine life conservation in light of models that explore policy change within and among States, including proposed global environment governance models.

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