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In: Extraterritorial Immigration Control
In: The International Legal Regime of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction
In: Energy from the Sea
In: The 1982 Law of the Sea Convention at 30


The legal status of mid-ocean archipelagos is well-settled. The relevant rules are set out in Part IV of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982. However, the status of dependent or outlying archipelagos remains subject to debate and legal uncertainty. This paper focuses on the question of whether there is a customary international law rule that allows states with a dependent archipelago to draw straight baselines around these offshore islands. Rightly, existing discussions of this question focus on an evaluation of state practice. However, it seems that little attention is given to the underlying rationale for and status of archipelagic States: that is the essential relationship between islands and waters that form an intrinsic geographical, economic, and political entity. I argue that these factors need to form part of the assessment of the opinio juris that is also required for the formation of customary international law. These factors go to the basic rationale for archipelagic claims, and so should underpin any claims states are entitled to make to dependent archipelagic waters. This also reflects the fundamental connection between the status of archipelagos and the use of baselines, and it may offer up a way of moderating excessive claims to maritime jurisdiction.

Open Access
In: Peaceful Maritime Engagement in East Asia and the Pacific Region
In: International Law and Marine Areas beyond National Jurisdiction


This Chapter advocates how the proposed agreement for areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ agreement) could advance and improve international fisheries management. Although the question of inclusion of fisheries in the agreement is a political one, inclusion is desirable from a conservation perspective. Arguably, existing legal rules and institutions also support inclusion. Given the importance of addressing the impact of fishing on biodiversity in ABNJ, I argue that we should focus less on why, and more on how the proposed agreement can address fisheries. As a review of the negotiation process shows, there are some indications of how fisheries can be included, at least indirectly. However, there are also some potential impediments to be overcome. Political objections aside, the main impediment is that the proposed agreement “should not undermine existing relevant legal instruments and frameworks and relevant global, regional and sectoral bodies”. This is a significant impediment because in fisheries management existing regimes have developed well-established, if not comprehensive, mandates. I propose three ways of addressing concerns that mandates could be undermined: conflicts and compatibility clauses, the careful use of general principles, and developing mechanisms for enhanced cooperation. Each contributes to a more integrated governance regime without threatening existing mandates and institutions.

In: New Knowledge and Changing Circumstances in the Law of the Sea


As the development of an implementation agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction gathers pace, it is important to consider how this might impact upon international fisheries law. Although the proposed agreement provides an opportunity to addresses governance gaps both generally and with respect to fisheries, we should not expect too much of it; not least because the inclusion per se of fisheries remains debated by States. Also, positive institutional developments are already occurring beyond this United Nations process. The proposed implementation agreement should not undermine existing laws, but it is unlikely to leave them untouched. The application of integrated governance principles, and the use of area-based management tools and environmental impact assessment will necessarily influence fisheries regulation in ABNJ. Accordingly, care should be taken to ensure that any innovative governance tools are adapted to existing institutional capacities and circumstances.

In: Conserving Biodiversity in Areas beyond National Jurisdiction


The public right to fish is a creature of the common law. It underpins the statutory regime of fishing in England, and has influenced fisheries in other common law jurisdictions. With reform of fisheries on the political agenda, it is useful to consider the nature and extent of this right. By exploring and articulating the nature and extent of the right, its role in shaping the future regulation of fisheries in British waters can be better understood. This may become a future issue, especially when attention is already being devoted to the regulation and, perhaps more importantly, to the allocation of fisheries under management regimes that rely upon rights-based mechanisms.

In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law