In April 2018, Cecilia Engler, PhD Candidate at the Marine & Environmental Law Institute at Dalhousie University, and member of OceanCanada’s Law and Policy WG, was appointed to the Expert Panel established under the Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean to review the objection filed by Ecuador against a conservation measure adopted by the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMO).
Ecuador objected to a decision adopted by the RFMO’s Commission that allocated quota shares in the Jack mackerel fishery for the period 2018-2021. The Convention establishing the South Pacific RFMO considers a “ring-fenced” objection procedure that requires the objecting party to justify the objection on an admissible ground (inconsistency of the decision with the Convention or international law of the sea as reflected in the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention and the 1995 Fish Stocks Agreement; or the discriminatory nature of the measure with respect to the objecting party) and the adoption of alternative conservation measures equivalent in effect to the decision to which an objection was presented. Additionally, the objection triggers the establishment of a three-person Review Panel to consider the objection and to submit its findings and recommendations to the RFMO’s Commission.
The proceedings took place in May 2018 in The Peace Palace, The Hague, Netherlands, where the Permanent Court of Arbitration served as a Registrar. The findings and recommendations of the Review Panel were submitted to the South Pacific RFMO on 5 June 2018. The Review Panel found that the conservation measure objected by Ecuador is not inconsistent with the provisions of the Convention or other relevant international law, and does not unjustifiably discriminate, in form or in fact, against Ecuador. Furthermore, it found that the alternative measures proposed by Ecuador were not equivalent in effect to the objected decision.
The findings and recommendations, as well as the objection, the written submissions by the participating Parties and the transcript of the hearing, can be found at the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s website at the following link: https://pca-cpa.org/en/cases/156/.