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The “Lost Mackerel” of the North East Atlantic—The Flawed System of Trilateral and Bilateral Decision-making

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Abstract The North East Atlantic mackerel is moving westward and northward. How to integrate new coastal states whose Exclusive Economic Zone is invaded by mackerel into existing decision-making processes? The 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, the 1995 Straddling Fish Stocks Agreement, the 1980 North East Atlantic Fisheries Convention, and bilateral and trilateral agreements between “relevant coastal states” fail to provide rules for present decision-makers to incorporate newcomers. The present harvesting states are sovereign with regard to admitting or refusing newcomers. This article argues for a stricter obligation on coastal states to acknowledge the right of new harvesting nations to access decision-making processes for estimating total allowable catch and allocating quotas. Equitable distribution can occur if quota allocation is subject to principles that are less discretionary than the present ones. One solution is to estimate the ratio of biomass related to the share of coastal states in the distribution of eggs, larvae and fishable stock, and allocate a quota to each coastal and high seas fishing state accordingly.

Affiliations: 1: University of Tromsø Norway


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