Multiple examples of state noncompliance with UNCLOS
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For reasons of space, I cannot attempt here any detailed or comprehensive survey of non-compliance with the LOSC, nor is it necessary to my case to do so. It is sufficient to give a number of varying and persisting examples to show that non-compliance continues to be a problem.
- Some States parties, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Myanmar and Viet- nam, have drawn straight baselines in ways that do not meet the require- ments of Article 7, even on the most generous interpretation of the admittedly imprecise provisions of that Article.1
- Four States parties (Benin, Philippines, Somalia and Togo) still claim a territorial sea with a breadth in excess of the 12 nautical miles permitted by Article 3.
- 12 States parties, including China, Haiti, India, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, have included security as one of the matters in respect of which they claim to exercise jurisdiction in their contiguous zones, contrary to Article 33.
- A few States parties, including Japan, have sought to delimit an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf from uninhabitable rocks, contrary to Article 121(3).
- A considerable number of flag State parties are in breach of their obliga- tion under Article 94 to exercise effective jurisdiction and control in respect of the seaworthiness of ships having their nationality, as revealed by the record of inspections and detentions of unseaworthy ships carried out by port States under various regional Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on port State control. In particular, such States include those on the black list of flag States, and possibly even those on the grey list, pub- lished each year by the Paris and Tokyo MoUs.2
- The biennial reports on the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture published by the FAO show that for the past decade or more nearly 30% of fish stocks are over-exploited.3 This indicates that some coastal States parties (notably the European Union (EU))4 are in breach of their obliga- tion under Article 61(2) to ensure that the maintenance of the living resources of their EEZs is not endangered by over-exploitation; and that some States parties are in breach of their obligation under Articles 117– 119 to conserve the living resources of the high seas. Furthermore, it has been estimated that as much as one-third of the total global marine fish catch is taken illegally.5 Not all such illegality is necessarily a breach of the LOSC, but a good deal certainly is.
- A number of States parties are in breach of their obligations under Article 194(5) by failing to take the necessary measures to protect and preserve rare or fragile ecosystems, for example by permitting fishing using explo- sives in the vicinity of tropical coral reefs or by permitting bottom trawl- ing on seamounts and areas of cold-water coral reefs in their EEZs.
Empirically, after 30 years there is a significant and consistent pattern of non-compliance with UNCLOS provisions.