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Conservation of Antarctic marine living resources

To protect the ecological balance in the Antarctic Ocean by means of international regulations on the management and conservation of its marine resources.

ACT

Council Decision 81/691/EEC of 4 September 1981 on the conclusion of the Convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources.

SUMMARY

The International Convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources was adopted at the diplomatic conference held in Canberra (Australia) on 20 May 1980. This decision approves the convention on behalf of the European Community.

There has been an increase in the importance of safeguarding the environment and protecting the integrity of the ecosystem of the seas surrounding Antarctica, due to the concentration of living resources found in Antarctic waters and the increased interest in the possibilities offered by the utilisation of these resources as a source of protein. It is therefore vital to ensure the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources.

The Convention applies to the marine living resources of the area south of 60° South latitude and to the marine living resources of the area between that latitude and the Antarctic convergence which form part of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.

In order to ensure the protection of marine living resources, any harvesting and associated activities must:

  • prevent the decrease in the size of any harvested population to levels below those ensuring its stable recruitment. For this purpose its size shall not be allowed to fall below a level close to that which ensures the greatest net annual increment of the population;
  • maintain the ecological relationships between harvested, dependent and related populations of Antarctic marine living resources and restore depleted populations to the levels defined above; and
  • prevent changes or minimise the risk of changes in the marine ecosystem which are not potentially reversible over two or three decades, taking into account the state of available knowledge of the direct and indirect impact of harvesting, the effect of the introduction of alien species, the effects of associated activities on the marine ecosystem and the effects of environmental changes, with the aim of making possible the sustained conservation of Antarctic marine living resources.

The Contracting Parties, whether or not they are Parties to the Antarctic Treaty, agree that they will not engage in any activities in the Treaty area contrary to the principles and purposes of that Treaty.

This Convention shall not derogate from the rights and obligations of Contracting Parties under the International Convention for the regulation of whaling and the Convention for the conservation of Antarctic seals.

A Scientific Committee for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources is established in a consultative capacity. This Committee may seek the advice of other scientists and experts as may be required on an ad hoc basis.

This Committee shall provide a forum for consultation and cooperation concerning the collection, study and exchange of information with respect to the marine living resources to which this Convention applies. It shall encourage and promote cooperation in the field of scientific research in order to extend knowledge of the marine living resources of the Antarctic marine ecosystem.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 81/691/EEC04.09.1981-OJ L 252 of 05.09.1981

RELATED ACTS

Council Regulation (EC) No 601/2004 of 22 March 2004 laying down certain control measures applicable to fishing activities in the area covered by the Convention on the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources and repealing Regulations (EEC) No 3943/90, (EC) No 66/98 and (EC) No 1721/1999 [Official Journal L 97of 01.04.2004].
To implement the new conservation measures adopted by the Commission for the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources (CCAMLR), this Regulation brings together in a single act the special provisions on the control of fishing activities deriving from the European Community's obligations as a Contracting Party to the Convention. These rules concern access to fishing activities, catch and effort data reporting, control and inspection procedures at sea and in port, and the measures applicable to vessels engaged in illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in the area covered by the Convention.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1721/1999 of 29 July 1999 laying down certain control measures in respect of vessels flying the flag of Non-Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources [Official Journal L 203 of 03.08.1999].
In practice some parties have been found operating fishing vessels under the flag of Non-Contracting Parties to the Convention as a means of avoiding compliance with existing conservation and enforcement measures, thus undermining the effectiveness of the Convention. To discourage such action, a conservation measure was adopted at the XVI Annual Meeting, held from 27 October to 7 November 1997, on a "Scheme to Promote Compliance by Non-Contracting Party Vessels with Convention Measures", the objective of which is to ensure that the effectiveness of conservation and enforcement measures established by the Convention is not undermined by Non-Contracting Party vessels.
This Scheme provides, inter alia, for the mandatory inspection of Non-Contracting Party vessels when such vessels are voluntarily in the ports of Contracting Parties, a prohibition of landings and transhipments if, in the course of such inspection, it is established that the catch has been taken in contravention of conservation and enforcement measures established by the Convention as well as certain other collateral measures to be taken by the Contracting Parties.
This conservation measure became obligatory for all Contracting Parties with effect from 10 May 1998. The purpose of this Regulation is to bring this system into force for the Community.

This Regulation was repealed and replaced by Council Regulation (EC) No 601/2004.

 
Last updated: 11.02.2005
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