Title: The Management of High Seas Fisheries

Authors: Trond Bjørndal, Veijo Kaitala, Marko Lindroos and Gordon R. Munro

Status: Annals of Operations Research - Special issue on Natural Resources, Vol. 94, Number 1-4, 2000, pp. 183-196.


Keywords: Straddling and highly migratory fish stocks, Norwegian spring spawning herring, Law of the sea, Game theory

 The intergovernmental United Nations Conference on Highly Migratory and Straddling Stocks, initiated in 1993 and finished in 1995, addressed the conservation and management of fishery resources located both within the coastal state 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the adjacent high seas. These type of marine resources continue to be a source for international conflicts and debates. The original United Nations Law of the Sea of 1982 failed to address transboundary fisheries in a proper way. In particular, the agreement did not recognize the emergence of the complicated ``straddling stock" issue. In the new United Nations Law of the Sea agreement of 1995, a consensus was reached that the management of the straddling and highly migratory fish stocks should be carried out through regional fisheries management organizations. We present a review of the straddling stock issues in the international agreement emerging from the negotiations within the United Nations. The review is contrasted with and clarified by game theoretic analyses. We also discuss one international fishery exemplifying the case, the Norwegian Spring Spawning Herring. The main conclusion is that the local problems, faced during the stage of setting up regional fisheries organizations for the management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks, are expected to be much more complicated and difficult to solve as compared to the cases of ``shared fish stocks". In the current paper, we present two reasons for this increased complexity. The first is the larger number of players as compared to the case of ``shared fish stocks" and the second is the possibility of new members entering the regional fisheries organizations.