Fish Story: Analysts See Nations’ Misuse of “Rational Use” When It Comes to Fishing Rights
The term “rational use,” as applied to fishing rights in Antarctic waters, has been misused by certain countries, an analysis by a team of researchers has concluded. Its work, which comes ahead of the 34th international convention where these matters are negotiated, posits that some nations mistakenly see the term as a license for unrestricted fishing—an interpretation the study’s authors say is not supported by language in international accords.
The term “rational use” comes out of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CAMLR Convention), which is the legal doctrine presiding over exploitation of marine life in Antarctic waters. At recent CCAMLR meetings, some member states have interpreted the term “rational use” in the convention text as “the unrestricted right to fish.” Moreover, it has recently been evoked in opposition to the establishment of marine protected areas.