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Marine Wildlife Bycatch Under the CMS: Progress and Prospects

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image of The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

This article explains the provisions of the Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and its subsidiary marine wildlife instruments as they relate to bycatch management. The CMS was primarily developed with the purpose of protecting and conserving migratory species and their habitats. The Convention was initially regarded as little more than a paper accord. Since its inception the CMS has undergone gradual significant changes not only in its scope but also in its geographical coverage. There are ten subsidiary instruments currently in force under the CMS which include regional accords on a wide range of marine species such as cetaceans, marine turtles and pinnipeds. These agreements have considerable potential for regulating the incidental capture of marine wildlife in fisheries. Issues of interest in regard to these agreements include the use of non-binding instruments, and mechanisms for coordination between accords. This article examines the CMS and its subsidiary instruments; it identifies challenges facing the Convention, and provides options for the development of more comprehensive approaches to the management of bycatch.


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