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2.5 Arrangements with some maritime boundary delimitation aspect


2.5.1 Arrangements establishing one or more maritime boundaries

Twelve of the arrangements establish one or more maritime boundaries, including a fisheries jurisdiction boundary, between the parties. These arrangements have been tabulated below. One of these [Australia/Indonesia MOU] establishes only a “provisional fisheries line”. Seven of the twelve arrangements in turn establish a special zone in relation to the fisheries jurisdiction boundary.


Special zone established in relation to fisheries jurisdiction boundary

River Plate Treaty

“Common fishing zone”

Australia/Indonesia MOU


Torres Strait Treaty

(a) “Protected Zone”

(b) Regime for the area between seabed boundary and fisheries jurisdiction boundary

Japan/Korea Agreement

Art 9(1) zone and Art 9(2) zone

Faroes/UK Agreement

“Special Area”

Colombia/Jamaica Treaty

“Joint Regime Area”

Colombia/Dominican Republic Agreement

Zone of scientific research and common fishing exploitation

Colombia/Costa Rica Treaty


Colombia/Panama Treaty


Colombia/Ecuador Agreement

MCS buffer zone

Costa Rica/Panama Treaty


Netherlands/Venezuela Treaty


2.5.2 Other arrangements, identifying zones as yet undelimited between the parties

In addition, five arrangements, though not delimiting any maritime boundary between the parties, first identify special zones that are to some extent as yet undelimited between the parties and then proceed to apply specified fisheries regimes to these waters:


Identified special zones to which specified fisheries regime is applied

Argentina/UK Joint Statement

(a) “fish stocks in the South Atlantic”
(b) “the maritime area defined in the Annex”
(c) “waters between latitude 45oS and latitude 60oS”

Japan/China Agreement

“Provisional Measures Zone”

Norway/Russia 1978 Agreement

“Provisional Joint Fishing Zone”

Halibut Convention

“boundary regions”

Trinidad and Tobago/Venezuela Agreement

“Area South of Trinidad and North of Venezuela”

2.5.3 Some remaining arrangements where maritime boundaries are undelimited

Two further arrangements have addressed the need for fisheries cooperation in situations where some or all of the maritime boundaries are undelimited, yet do not comprehensively identify specific zones for the application of that cooperation [Australia/Indonesia Agreement; Canada/US Enforcement Agreement].


It is not the mandate of this report to analyse, as a separate subject, the ways in which States have provided for fisheries management in areas where some uncertainty exists in respect of boundaries or where some concession has been made in respect of the boundary.[9] Instead, analysis of all arrangements together in respect of fisheries management can be found below in sections 2.10-2.12.

However, two potentially related points will be highlighted at this point. The first is that none of the arrangements in question creating a special zone has more than two parties. In most cases, this result derives from the fact that the main purpose of the arrangement is either to establish a maritime boundary or to manage an area where a boundary is unclear. By their nature, such arrangements will tend to involve only two parties.

There is, though, no reason in principle why an arrangement involving more than two parties could not, as part of its purpose, establish boundary-specific solutions. In practice though, the two States concerned might well prefer either to settle their boundary-specific concerns before commencing negotiations involving one or more other parties or at least to conduct such negotiations in the absence of other States.

The second point is that a large number of arrangements providing for some form of cooperation over fish stocks have developed in the context of uncertainty over maritime boundaries. It is questionable whether these arrangements (or least the parts of them that relate to cooperation over fisheries) would have even arisen if there had in law been certainty over the boundaries between the States concerned. However, the arrangements do nonetheless provide a fascinating array of regimes for cooperation, and these regimes are, as already mentioned, explored further below.

[9] However Churchill (1993) provides a helpful survey and analysis on this matter.

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