Bilateral cooperation in fisheries law enforcement: developments in state practice
Cooperation among States is the key principle that underpins the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (losc). This is an important approach to the management of ocean resources because of the interconnectedness of marine ecosystems and the myriad of overlapping ocean activities that take place in international and national waters. Fishing is the most ancient and enduring ocean activity. It evolves as new technologies emerge and fishing resources are discovered or alter in their distribution or abundance. There are challenges in ensuring adequate policing of fishing activities because of these dynamics and the oftentimes lucrative nature of fishing and its occurrence far offshore and sometimes in contested waters. An objective all coastal States should share is ensuring efficient use of expensive surveillance and enforcement assets. This chapter considers how bilateral cooperation can be developed to maximise the effectiveness of fisheries management measures. It examines Australia/France and China/usa examples of bilateral cooperation in the enforcement of fisheries laws and suggests how States can develop cooperative fisheries management measures with neighbouring States. This approach would maximise the potential to achieve effective regional fisheries management and support efforts to achieve cooperation and avoid conflict in other marine sectors. In light of China's current and planned significant foreign infrastructure developments under its One Belt One Road Initiative, which includes port redevelopments and fish processing facilities in States along the '21st-Century Maritime Silk Road' extending to Southeast Asia, North Africa and Oceania, it is suggested here that China could focus its bilateral and regional fisheries enforcement cooperation activities in such States.