80th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 50th Session - Part 1

Preview Language:   English
05-Dec-1995 00:58:12
Importance of new agreement to regulate high seas fishing stressed as Assembly discusses sea law, sustainable use of marine living resources at 80th meeting.

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The Convention on the Law of the Sea was in good shape and heading towards the open sea with a full sail and universal support, the representative of Fiji told the Assembly this morning as it began discussion of that law and the sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources. Many other speakers seconded the idea that the Convention was one of the Organization's greatest achievements; however, some issues were raised regarding on-going threats to the marine environment and the implementation of the Convention.

Expressing concerns about recent nuclear tests undertaken in the South Pacific region, the representative of Malaysia said it was the international community's particular responsibility to guarantee that the legal regime that governed the law of the sea was not wrecked by unilateral and arbitrary action by any State. He was also concerned by reports of rusting nuclear warships with nuclear reactors abandoned carelessly at their bases and of nuclear submarines lost or scuttled at sea.

The representative of Australia said the deadlock in proceeding to the election of the Council of the International Seabed Authority had been regrettable, and he urged all countries to approach the coming consultations on that issue in a spirit of cooperation and good faith.

The representative of Norway said those States that had signed the Agreement were under a legal obligation not to defeat its object and purpose and under a political and moral obligation to ensure rapid ratification, and he stressed that past practice was not always in conformity with the provisions of the Agreement.

The representative of Fiji, who is also President of the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention, introduced three draft resolutions. By the terms of the first draft resolution, the Assembly would request the Secretary-General to convene meetings of States parties to the Convention between March and August 1996 to deal with several matters, including the initial budget of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

By the terms of the second draft resolution, the Assembly would seek early and universal adherence to the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the Convention relating to the Conservation and Mangement of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks.

By the terms of the third draft resolution, the Assembly would take a series of actions relating to large-scale pelagic drift-net fishing, unauthorized fishing in zones of national jurisdiction, and fisheries' by-catch and discards.

Statements were also made this morning by the representatives of Canada, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Marshall Islands and Indonesia.

The General Assembly will meet again at 3 p.m. today to continue its consideration of the law of the sea.

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