GoJIL Vol. 13, No. 1 (2023)
The Settlement of EEZ Fisheries Access Disputes under UNCLOS: Limitations to Jurisdiction and Compulsory Conciliation
Valentin J. Schatz
This article revisits the scope of the limitation to jurisdiction ratione materiae under Article 297(3) of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the context of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) fisheries access disputes in the light of recent jurisprudence of UNCLOS tribunals. It first provides an overview over general aspects of Article 297(3) of UNCLOS in the compulsory dispute settlement mechanism of Section 2 of Part XV of UNCLOS. Next, it briefly considers the relationship between Article 297(3) and Article 297(1) of UNCLOS in order to clarify the former limitation’s role in the complex internal logic of Article 297 of UNCLOS. Thereafter, this article addresses the sometimes-overlooked function of Article 297(3) of UNCLOS as a confirmation of jurisdiction with respect to fisheries disputes that are not related to the EEZ. It then analyzes the scope of the limitation to jurisdiction ratione materiae of Article 297(3) of UNCLOS in the context of fisheries access disputes. Next, this article examines the potential and limits of the compulsory conciliation procedure under Article 297(3)(b) and Annex V of UNCLOS with a focus on the scope of the procedural mandate and subject-matter competence of such conciliation commissions.
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