Distant Water Issues

Distant Water Issues:

Under access agreements, joint ventures or licensing arrangements, non-riparian fishing (or distant water) vessels can access tuna and a few other resources of the riparian fishing nations in the IOR. In 1998, according to FAO statistics, about 400,000 tonnes of fish were caught by non-riparian fishing nations in the IOR. Most of this comprised high value tuna resource.

There are, however, no such arrangements at the regional or bilateral level amongst the riparian nations within the Indian Ocean. A regional mechanism to address conflicts over access to fisheries resources as well as fisheries conservation and management issues is important, taking into account the human dimension associated with fleet migration between countries in the region.

The absence of agreements or procedures to handle expeditiously and humanely the problem of fishermen arrested for poaching often results in the gross violation of the spirit of the UNCLOS, which clearly discourages incarceration as punishment for poaching.