Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


University of Wollongong. Faculty of Law


The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC) granted significant access to fisheries resources to coastal States in their exclusive economic zones (EEZ), including tuna. As tuna is a highly migratory species, international law requires that States cooperate for the effective management of tuna stocks. The Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (UN Fish Stocks Agreement) provides the framework by which such cooperation is to be achieved. The coastal and Island States of the Indian Ocean including Kenya, achieve the cooperative management of tuna through the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).

As a beneficiary of the EEZ regime, Kenya has declared sovereign rights over the fisheries resources in its EEZ. In recent years, because of the potential of the tuna resources in its EEZ, Kenya has expressed its aspirations to develop these resources. Kenya’s sovereign rights over the tuna resources in its EEZ are subject to relevant rules of international law. The LOSC confers upon Kenya management and conservation responsibilities as well as the residual duty to promote the optimum utilisation of its tuna resources. The significance of Kenya’s regulatory regime for conserving and managing tuna resources in its EEZ is exemplified by the LOSC and the UN Fish Stocks Agreement.

This thesis analyses Kenya’s legal and policy framework relative to the management and conservation of the tuna resources in Kenya’s jurisdiction, to ascertain the consistency of this framework with the international and regional legal requirements. This will require an examination of the relevant international and regional legal requirements relative to the utilization of tuna and an analysis of the extent to which Kenya has met its international and regional commitments.

Ultimately, this thesis argues that Kenya has not fully adopted measures consistent with its international and regional obligations for the sustainable utilization of tuna, and that Kenya’s current legal and policy framework does not adequately address the long-term sustainability of its tuna resources. This thesis will aid in the construction of recommendations for the review and reform of Kenya’s legal and policy framework. These recommendations will include the formulation of a tuna management plan calculated to enhance the management of, and benefits derived from Kenya’s tuna fisheries. This thesis explores various options for the optimum utilisation of Kenya’s tuna resources, with a view to fostering the sustainable development of Kenya’s tuna fisheries. In developing an appropriate framework for the sustainable development of its tuna resources, Kenya will necessarily require provisions and commitments that ensure the effective management and conservation of the tuna resources in its EEZ.