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Fisheries Jurisdiction case (Spain v. Canada)

Spain, Canada
Type of court
International court
Dec 4, 1998
Court name
International Court of Justice
Torres Bernardez
Reference number
General list No. 96
Fisheries, Legal questions, Sea
Fishing vessel Endangered species Marine area Marine fisheries Court/tribunal Maritime zone Fishing area
On 9 March 1995, the Estai, a fishing vessel flying the Spanish flag and manned by a Spanish crew, was intercepted and boarded some 245 miles from the Canadian coast, in Division 3L of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Regulatory Area, by Canadian Government vessels. The vessel was seized and its master arrested on charges of violations of the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, in particular illegal fishing for Greenland halibut; part of the ship’s catch was confiscated. Spain complained about a violation of the international law in force, since these acts took place outside the 200-mile zone. The Canadian Government stated that it had taken the said measures on basis of the amended Section 2 of the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act. It also stated that the Court lacked jurisdiction to deal with the Application filed by Spain, by reason of paragraph 2 (d) of a Declaration made by Spain on 10 May 1994, whereby Canada accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court but excluded it under certain circumstances. The Court analyzed the question whether the Parties had conferred upon it jurisdiction in respect of that dispute. In order to decide this question, the Court had to interpret subparagraph (d) of paragraph 2 of Canada’s declaration, which excluded the Court’s jurisdiction as follows: "Disputes arising out of or concerning conservation and management measures taken by Canada with respect to vessels fishing in the NAFO Regulatory Area, as defined in the Convention on Future Multilateral Co-operation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries, 1978, and the enforcement of such measures". The Court concluded that the dispute submitted to it by Spain constituted a dispute "arising out of" and "concerning" "conservation and management measures taken by Canada with respect to vessels fishing in the NAFO Regulatory Area" and "the enforcement of such measures". It followed that this dispute came within the terms of the reservation contained in paragraph 2 (d) of the Canadian declaration of 10 May 1994. The Court consequently had no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the present dispute.
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Convention on Fishing and Conservation of the Living Resources in the Baltic Sea and the Belts

Treaty | Multilateral | Gdansk |

Source: IUCN (ID: TRE-000535)

Convention on Fishing and Conservation of the Living Resources of the High Seas

Treaty | Multilateral | Geneva |

Keyword: Management/conservation, Dispute settlement, Maritime zone, High seas, Sovereignty, Exploration, International relations/cooperation, Court/tribunal, Fishery management and conservation, Marine fisheries

Source: IUCN (ID: TRE-000141)

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

Treaty | Multilateral | Montego Bay |

Keyword: Alien species, Inspection, Legal proceedings/administrative proceedings, Management/conservation, Deep sea bed, Islands, Bycatch, Offences/penalties, Enforcement/compliance, Risk assessment/management, Fishing licence fee, Authorization/permit, Fishery management and conservation, Total allowable catch, Marine fisheries, Liability/compensation, Pollution control, Future generations, Marine pollution, Dispute settlement, Monitoring, Stock enhancement/repopulation, Maritime zone, Policy/planning, Marine pollution (dumping at sea), Size, Contract/agreement, Access right, Education, Data collection/reporting, Research, EIA, International organization, Long-range air pollution, Marine mammals, Mining, Business/industry/corporations, High seas, Sovereignty, Marine pollution (land-based sources), Migratory species, Vessel ownership, Court/tribunal, Marine resources management, Jurisdictional competence, Fishing licence, Harbour, Early warning system/emergency intervention system, Fishing gear/fishing method, Navigation, Registration, Continental shelf, Marine pollution (ship-based sources), Exploration, Seasons, International relations/cooperation, Technology transfer, EEZ-Exclusive Economic Zone, Sustainable use

Source: IUCN (ID: TRE-000753)

Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the North-West Atlantic Fisheries (NAFO)

Treaty | Multilateral | Ottawa |

Keyword: Marine fishes, Data collection/reporting, Marine resources management, International organization, Fishery management and conservation, Marine fisheries, Marine mammals, Sustainable use, International relations/cooperation, Enforcement/compliance

Source: IUCN (ID: TRE-000536)