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The Turbot War of 1995: Lessons for the Law of the Sea

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image of The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

Canada's seizure of the Spanish fishing vessel Estai in March 1995 touched off severe political tensions between Canada and the European Community. Known as the "Turbot War", the dispute arose over quota levels agreed to by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization for turbot stocks in fishing grounds straddling the high seas beyond Canada's proclaimed 200-mile national fishery zone. While underscoring tensions between coastal states and foreign fishing nations, this dispute became a diplomatic catalyst for the promulgation in August 1995 of a special UN Convention on the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Stocks. The "Turbot War" thus highlighted the utility of regional fishery organizations in monitoring and enforcing international fishing regulations and strengthened the international regulatory framework for managing straddling stocks under the 1982 LOS Convention.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Government, Georgetown University, Washington, DC


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