Management of Insular Pacific Marine Ecosystems

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Management of Insular Pacific Marine Ecosystems

in Ocean Yearbook Online


1. The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea contains 20 articles setting forth rights and duties in the EEZ. Article 121, "Regime of Islands," distinguishes between islands and "rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own." The latter "shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf." Some of the landmasses of the Pacific island nations are in fact rocks, rather than islands. In actual state practice, however, most countries draw their EEZs with little distinction between rocks and islands. The EEZs depicted on the maps in this paper have been generalized from available information. They do not consider the rocks versus islands provisions of the convention, and it is not known to what extent the various Pacific island EEZs are or should be affected by Article 121.

' 2. U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Integrated Renewable Resource Management for U.S. Insular Areas, OTA-F-325 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1987), p. 224. 3. Steven S. Amesbury and Robert F. Meyers, Guide to the Coastal Resources of Guam: The Fishes (Agana: University of Guam Press, 1982), 1: 4. 4. World Resources Institute and International Institute for Environment and Development, World Resources 1986 (New York: Basic Books, 1986), p. 150. 5. Ibid., p. 146.

6. David J. Doulman, Options for U.S. Fisheries Investment in the Pacific Islands Region, PIDP Research Report Series no. 8 (Honolulu: East-West Center, 1987), p. 2.

7. Michael P. Hamnett, "Marine Resources in Pacific Island Economies," report for the Regional Development Office for the South Pacific of the U.S. Agency for International Development (Suva, 1989), p. 13.

8. Ibid. 9. J. L. Munro and D. M. Williams, "Assessment and Management of Coral Reef Fisheries: Biological, Environmental, and Socio-economic Aspects," in Proceedings of the Fifth International Coral Reef Congress (Papeete, Tahiti, 1985), pp. 2-3.

10. J. E. Bardach and P. J. Ridings, "Pacific Tuna: Biology, Economics, and Politics," Ocean Yearbook 5, ed. Elisabeth Mann Borgese and Norton Ginsburg (Chi- cago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), p. 31. 11. Ibid., p. 32. 12. Ibid., p. 33.

13. See K. Sherman, "Productivity, Perturbations, and Options for Biomass Yield in Large Marine Ecosystems," in Large Marine Ecosystems: Palterns, Processes, and Yields, ed. K. Sherman, L. M. Alexander, and B. D. Gold (Washington, D.C.: American

Association for the Advancement of Science, 1990), pp. 206-20, for a discussion of the concept of large marine ecosystems (LMEs) and the principal yield controls on them. Although strictly speaking the tuna ecosystems are not LMEs, since they are too widespread and inhabit too great a range of oceanographic conditions, and the coral reef and mangrove systems are too small to qualify, the LME concept is applica- ble in discussing yields and the various stresses controlling them.

14. Art. 63, Par. 2, of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982) states: "Where the same stock or stocks of associated species occur both within the exclusive economic zone and in an area beyond and adjacent to the zone, the coastal State and the States fishing for such stocks in the adjacent area shall seek, either directly or through appropriate subregional or regional organizations, to agree upon measures necessary for the conservation of these stocks in the adjacent area." In the case of the treaty on Fishing between the Governments of Certain Pacific Island States and the Government of the United States of America, U.S. tuna vessels are licensed by the SPFFA to fish in the donut holes. Apparently, the United States and the SPFFA, acting as a regional organization, have agreed "upon the measures neces- sary for the conservation of these stocks in the adjacent area." However, suitable agreements between Pacific island countries and other distant-water fishing nations require that other countries accept the SPFFA as the appropriate regional or subre- gional organization. To what extent this acceptance will become universal is not known, and like many of the convention provisions, general acceptance is by no means guaranteed. State practice will ultimately define the appropriate international law of what might be called "donut hole fisheries."

15. Although Art. 116 of the LOS Convention gives all states the right to fish on the High Seas, these rights are subject to a number of restrictions. Among these are the previously quoted provisions of Art. 63, Par. 2, and Arts. 117-119, which stress the duties of all states whose nationals fish the High Seas to conserve the living resources and cooperate with each other in their management. Art. 119, conservation of the living resources of the High Seas, for instance, contains language similar (in some cases identical) to Art. 61, which is concerned with conservation of living re- sources in EEZs. There is an important difference, however. Art. 61 makes it clear that the coastal state has both the rights to the living resources and the duty to conserve them through appropriate management procedures. Art. 116, on the other hand, gives all states the right to permit their nationals to harvest the living resources, while Art. 119 requires various conservation measures. Although not stated in the LOS Convention, it is obvious that conservation consistent with ecological principles and the need to harvest fish on a sustainable-yield basis in the High Seas requires coopera- tion among a number of fishing nations. In EEZs, it is clear that the coastal state can make the rules, unencumbered by the problems associated with gaining international cooperation.

16. A. L. Dahl, Regional Ecosystems Survey of the South Pacific Area, Technical Paper no. 179 (Noumea, New Caledonia: South Pacific Commission, 1980). 17. Philip Helfrich and James E. Maragos, "Coral Reef Ecosystems: An Over- view," in Proceedings of the Inshore Marine Ecosystems of the Tropical Pacific Islands, ed. Philip Helfrich, Sea Grant Cooperative Report UNIHI-Seagrant-CR-82-01 (Hono- lulu: University of Hawaii, 1979), pp. 9-12.

18. Charles Birkeland, "Ecological Interactions between Mangroves, Seagrass Beds, and Coral Reefs," in Ecological Interactions between Tropical Coastal Ecosystems, UNEP Regional Seas Reports and Studies no. 73 (Nairobi: United Nations Environ- ment Programme, 1985), p. 3. 19. A. L. Dahl, "The Challenge of Conserving and Managing Coral Reef Ecosys- tems," in Environment and Resources of the Pacific, UNEP Regional Seas Reports and Studies no. 69 (Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme, 1985), p. 15. 20. Dahl, Regional Ecosystems Survey (n. 16 above).

21. Amesbury and Meyers (n. 3 above), p. 11. 22. M. J. Cruickshank, "Offshore and Onshore Mining Overview," in Proceedings of the Workshop on Coastal Area Development and Management in Asia and the Pacific, ed. M. J. Valencia (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1981), pp. 17-31.

23. Robert Johannes, "Making Better Use of Existing Knowledge in Managing Pacific Island Reef and Lagoon Ecosystems," South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Topic Review no. 4 (Noumea, New Caledonia: South Pacific Commission, 1981). ). 24. Dahl, "Coral Reef Ecosystems" (n. 19 above).


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