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House of Commons Hansard
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31 July 1997
Volume 299
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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the rules relating to straddling stocks under the UN law of the sea convention 1983; when they come into force; and if he will make a statement on the capacity of flag states to take action against foreign vessels taking straddling stocks. [11955]

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The United Nations convention on the law of the sea—UNCLOS—of 10 December 1982, which enters into force for the United Kingdom on 24 August, contains a number of provisions relevant to straddling fish stocks, including a requirement that the states concerned seek to agree measures to conserve such stocks in the high seas. A detailed framework agreement of 1995 implementing these provisions of UNCLOS has been signed by the United Kingdom, but is not yet in force.A costal state may pursue into the high seas foreign vessels fishing for straddling stocks within its fishery limits in breach of its law and regulations. The control of vessels fishing for straddling stocks on the high seas is primarily the responsibility of the flag state. A coastal state will also be able to take action to the extent provided in the 1995 straddling stocks agreement, once it enters into force.