Anadromous Species

Anadromous species are species such as salmon, shad and sturgeon which reproduce in rivers (inland waters) and spend their adult life in the sea. States in whose rivers such fish spawn (the State of origin) have the primary interest in and responsibility for them (UNCLOS Article 66). These States can establish total allowable catches (TACs) and may admit foreign States to their economic exclusive zones (EEZs) to fish for any surplus there may be. Where TACs are adopted, this must be done after consultation with other interested States. Where anadromous species migrate into or through the waters of a State other than the State of origin, both States shall co-operate with regard to conservation and management species. Fishing for such stocks on the high seas is prohibited except where this would result in 'economic dislocation' for a State other than a State of origin. In such a situation, the State of origin is to co-operate with the other States concerned in order to minimise economic dislocation. In effect, the treaty discourages fishing for these species on the high seas.
 
The State of origin may adopt conservation measures for such high-seas fishing (Article 66(2)). Such measures are to be enforced 'by agreement between the State of origin and the other States concerned' (Article 66(3)(d)).
 
The State of origin and other interested Sates are to implement the UNCLOS' provisions on anadromous species, where appropriate, through regional organisations (Article 66(5)). Such organisations have been established for salmon-the principal commercially significant anadromous species-in two main salmon fishing regions where disputes arose before the implementation of UNCLOS, as the State of origin strongly objected to the uncontrolled fishing of salmon in the high sea. The 1982 Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean prohibits fishing for salmon on the high seas, and even within 200-mile zones prohibits fishing in most areas beyond twelve miles. The 1992 Convention for the Conservation of Anadromous Stocks in the North Pacific Ocean prohibits directed fishing for salmon on the high seas and stipulates that any salmon incidentally caught shall be returned to the sea.

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