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The United Nations Fish Stocks Convention aims to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks under the Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Convention on the Conservation and Management of Fisheries Resources in the South-East Atlantic, which paves the way for the establishment of SEAFO, was opened for signature on 20 April 2001. The objective is to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources in the Convention area through the effective implementation of the Convention. Negotiations on the establishment of ASEAN took place over a period of five years. With a view to the entry into force of the Agreement, the last session of the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Conference agreed to establish a preparatory conference, which began its work in April 2002. The objective was to establish the organizational and financial framework for the new Commission and its subsidiary bodies in order to ensure that the Commission could begin its activities effectively and with a minimum of delay. The conference also started with the collection and analysis of data on the state of fish stocks and recommended conservation and management measures if necessary. The next pre-hearing conference is scheduled for December 2004. The objective of the 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Convention is to facilitate the implementation of certain provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 Convention) on the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks. The Convention complements the 1993 FAO Convention on Promoting Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas (1993 FAO Convention) and the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. The Convention area is large and covers part of the Pacific Ocean.

The Convention area is defined by geographical coordinates to the south and east. In the west and north, due to a number of difficult and sensitive political issues, boundaries are defined by reference to the migratory zone of the stocks. In this way, the Commission will define the scope of conservation and management measures for certain species on the basis of its cooperation agreements with other relevant regional fisheries management organisations. In negotiating the SEAFO Convention, States relied not only on the 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Convention, but also on a number of other agreements, including the Conventions establishing the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), ICCAT, the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) and the Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC). Some States participating in the negotiations are members of these RFMOs. Therefore, the draft SEAFO Convention could easily be approved if it were derived from the existing conventions. The agreement aims to achieve this objective by creating a framework for cooperation in the conservation and management of these resources. It promotes the order of the oceans through the effective management and conservation of the resources of the high seas, including by establishing detailed minimum international standards for the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks; ensure that measures for the conservation and management of these stocks in areas of national jurisdiction and adjacent high seas are compatible and consistent; ensure the effective implementation of these measures on the high seas; and recognition of the specific conservation, management, development and participation needs of developing countries for the two types of stocks mentioned above.

SeaFO will manage stocks that extend between the EEZ of coastal states and the adjacent high seas. Species under management may include alfonsino, orange roughy, armourhead, wreckfish and deep-sea pike. It will also manage a discrete stock of deep-sea red crabs, although discrete stocks are not subject to the provisions of the 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Convention. The management of the latter stocks is a logical and practical consequence of the characteristics of the geography of the region, the stocks and their distribution, as well as the requirements of fisheries management. The Convention does not deal with the management of highly migratory stocks, as they are already under the management of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The Government of Namibia has established an interim secretariat to facilitate the implementation of the Convention. It will carry out this task until the entry into force of the Convention and the full implementation of the administrative arrangements. The Interim Secretariat will conclude provisional arrangements for the authorization and notification of fishing vessels, the needs of vessels, as well as scientific monitoring and the collection of information in support of stock assessment. The 1995 UN Fish Stocks Convention places regional fisheries management organisations in a central and central position with regard to its implementation; they represent the main mechanism through which States should work together to improve the conservation and management of resources. .

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