International allocation issues and the high seas: an economist’s perspective

Gordon Munro

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    This paper is concerned with allocation issues pertaining to fishery resources that are shared internationally. My instructions are to approach the topic from the perspective of an economist. While I shall comment on the legal framework provided by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UN, 1982) and the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement (UN, 1995), I shall, in keeping with my instructions, rely upon my colleague, Professor Jon Van Dyke, who will precede me in the panel, to review in detail the legal framework surrounding the topic. In taking the economist’s perspective, a key question that I shall attempt to address in this paper, is whether there exist approaches to allocations between and among the States/entities sharing the fishery resources that will ensure the long run sustainability of the fisheries, which the resources support. The answer would seem to be selfevident. If it is possible to identify allocation schemes that are perceived as being fair and equitable, by all those sharing the resources, then all should be well. While not denying the importance of allocations that are seen to be fair and equitable, it will be argued that the existence of equitable allocation schemes constitutes a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for the long term sustainability of internationally shared fishery resources. This is particularly true in the case of internationally shared fishery resources that are to be found in all, or in part, in the high seas. In attempting to address this, and related questions, I shall draw heavily upon the results of and papers presented at, the Expert Consultation on the Management of Bergen, in October 2002. This Expert Consultation, which we shall refer to hereafter as the Bergen Expert Consultation, established several working groups, one of which dealt explicitly with the resolution of allocation issues (FAO, 2002). I should also note, in passing, that two states, which were very active in the Bergen Expert Consultation, I had the privilege of being involved in the Bergen Expert Consultation, both during the preparation phase as a consultant for the FAO, and during the Expert Consultation itself, as a participant. Following the Bergen Expert Consultation, I co-authored a FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 465 on the conservation and management of shared fishery resources, with two colleagues from the FAO, Ms Annick Van Houtte, from the FAO Legal Office, and Mr Rolf Willmann, from the Fishery Policy and Planning Division, FAO Department of Fisheries (Munro, Van Houtte and Willmann, 2004). Needless to say, I shall draw heavily upon the Munro, Van Houtte and Willmann paper, as well. In my attempt to address the aforementioned questions, I shall, of course, point to several real world examples, but I shall, by and in the large, touch only lightly upon Rayfuse, who will follow me in the panel, will wish to discuss such cases in detail.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSharing the fish ’06: allocation issues in fisheries management
    EditorsR. Metzner, D. Isokawa, Y. Liu, F. Wells
    Place of PublicationRome
    Number of pages26
    ISBN (Print)9789251066652
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Publication series

    NameFisheries and Aquaculture Proceedings


    Dive into the research topics of 'International allocation issues and the high seas: an economist’s perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this