In March 1995, Canadian gunboats seized and impounded a Spanish fishing trawler and cut the nets of another Spanish boat for alleged violations of international quotas and regulations governing the fishing of Greenland Halibut in the international waters of the North Atlantic.1 Spain and the European Union (EU) responded by alleging that the Canadians violated international law and committed an act of piracy by seizing a foreign ship in international waters.2 The EU threatened to impose economic sanctions against Canada, and the Spanish government responded by sending its own gunboats into the North Atlantic.3 The stage was set for a classic shoot-out on the high seas. This comment analyzes the Canada-EU dispute in light of current fisheries law as embodied in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III).' More specifically, it examines how the Canada-EU dispute highlights some major deficiencies in the existing system of international fisheries law regulating straddling and highly migratory fish stocks.5 In addition, this comment discusses the most recent attempt aimed at reforming international fishery law and preventing future international disputes concerning straddling and mi- gratory fish stocks: the August 1995 United Nations Agreement on Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (Fish Stocks Agree- ment).6 This comment argues that, although the Fish Stocks Agree- ment is an important step in the creation of a solid legal framework to regulate straddling and migratory fish stocks, it contains several ambi- guities which may hamper its ability to address current deficiencies in fisheries law which contributed to the 1995 Canada-EU dispute. Part II of this comment gives a brief history of the development of international fisheries law. Part III analyzes the Canada-EU dis- pute in light of current international fisheries law and shows how the dispute highlights some of the main deficiencies of UNCLOS III in dealing with straddling and highly migratory fish stocks. Part IV pro- vides a brief overview of the August 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement. Part V evaluates how the Fish Stocks Agreement ad- dresses some of the main deficiencies in international fisheries law which contributed to the 1995 Canada-EU dispute. Finally, Part VI offers some concluding remarks.
Derrick M. Kedziora,
Gunboat Diplomacy in the Northwest Atlantic: The 1995 Canada-EU Fishing Dispute and the United Nations Agreement on Straddling and High Migratory Fish Stocks,
Nw. J. Int'l L. & Bus.