Historic Fishing Rights in Foreign Exclusive Maritime Zones

Preserved or Proscribed by UNCLOS?

In: The Korean Journal of International and Comparative Law
Sourabh Gupta Senior Fellow, Institute for China-America Studies USA

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The South China Sea Arbitration is only the fourth case since the entry into force of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to touch on the issue of historic rights – in this case, traditional fishing rights. Traditional or artisanal fishing rights are acquired rights. This article reviews the basis and characteristics of a historic rights claim and compares it with the origin and properties of an entitlement-based fishing rights claim, which the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea mainstreamed into the body of international maritime law. And in light of this comparison, the article evaluates the Tribunal’s Award on the geographic scope of application of historic or traditional fishing rights in the exclusive maritime zones of a coastal State.

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