By giving control over fishing stocks to coastal states with adequate resources to manage them, UNCLOS has arguably exacerbated overfishing problem
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More importantly, however, most states lack the capacity to manage their fisheries resources in the EEZ. For example, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 1.6 million tons of fish are stolen every year from Indonesian waters, which includes 2.7 million square kilometers of EEZ.39 This is due to the limited number of patrol ships that Indonesia has available to patrol and safeguard its archipelagic waters and EEZ. Similarly, the archipelagic state of Cape Verde has an EEZ the size of land territory of France – 800,561 square kilometers – but only has five patrol boats and one aircraft to patrol these waters.40 This lack of capacity by many developing nations to patrol and regulate their waters encourages illegal and unregulat- ed fishing, which in turn, leads to conflict and over-exploitation, not peace- ful and controlled uses of the sea. There is also little evidence that the majority of coastal states are effec- tively managing fish stocks in their EEZs. On the contrary, a 2008 report prepared by OCEANA indicates that only “17% of the world’s fisheries should be considered capable of any growth in catch” and that over 80 % “cannot withstand increased fishing activity . . . .”41 Similar findings were published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in 2010:
The proportion of stocks estimated to be underexploited or moderately exploit- ed declined from 40 percent in the mid-1970s to 15 percent in 2008. In con- trast, the proportion of overexploited, depleted or recovering stocks increased from 10 percent in 1974 to 32 percent in 2008. . . . In 2008, 15 percent of the stock groups monitored by FAO were estimated to be underexploited (3 per- cent) or moderately exploited (12 percent) and, therefore, able to produce more than their current catches. This is the lowest percentage recorded since the mid- 1970s. Slightly more than half of the stocks (53 percent) were estimated to be fully exploited and, therefore, their current catches are at or close to their max- imum sustainable productions, with no room for further expansion. The remaining 32 percent were estimated to be either overexploited (28 percent), depleted (3 percent) or recovering from depletion (1 percent) and, thus, yield- ing less than their maximum potential production owing to excess fishing pres- sure in the past, with a need for rebuilding plans. This combined percentage is the highest in the time series. While the degree of uncertainty about these esti- mates may be great, the apparently increasing trend in the percentage of over- exploited, depleted and recovering stocks and the decreasing trend in underex- ploited and moderately exploited stocks do give cause for concern.42
Consequently, UNCLOS has had little or no impact on stabilizing the world’s fisheries and arguably has contributed to their continued decline and added the potential for conflict.
"A Response to Cartner’s and Gold’s Commentary on “Is it Time for the United States to Join the Law of the Sea Convention?”
." Journal of Maritime Law & Commerce
. Vol. 42, No. 4 (October 2011): 487-510. [ More (11 quotes) ]