The State of Food and Agriculture 1992

Marine Fisheries and the Law of the Sea - A Decade of Change

image of The State of Food and Agriculture 1992

In addition to the usual review of the recent world food and agricultural situation, each issue of The State of Food and Agriculture since 1957 has included one or more special studies on problems of longer-term interest. This year’s edition focuses on marine fisheries and the law of the sea.




Ten years ago, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was signed, marking the end of an era of freedom of the seas. For fisheries, however, the era of freedom had ended de facto during the 1970s when a majority of coastal states claimed jurisdiction over the resources within Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), i.e. waters within 200 nautical miles from their shores. The formal passing of the freedom of the seas provided the basis for the special chapter, Marine fisheries in the new era of national jurisdiction, in The State of Food and Agriculture 1980. As noted in that chapter: "The opportunity exists, as never before, for the rational exploitation of marine fisheries. Realization of the opportunity, however, will require major adjustments to the redistribution of benefits from the seas' wealth and improvements in the competence of the coastal states to exercise their newly acquired authority. The 1980s provide the threshold for a new era in the enjoyment of the oceans' wealth in fisheries."


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