International Fisheries Law Workshop for ASEAN Member States and ASEAN Secretariat

The Foundation, in cooperation with ASEAN, delivered its first-ever workshop for ASEAN nominees online from 14 to 18 February 2022.

From 14–18 February 2022 the Foundation delivered the live components of its Workshop on International Fisheries and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea for 18 participants nominated by their respective ASEAN Member States and ASEAN Secretariat. This represents the first workshop in a series of five 3-day workshops on selected topics of the law of the sea that will be delivered as part of an ASEAN Cooperation Project, generously funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions on travel or large gatherings, the workshop was conducted remotely. The three live online Zoom sessions were complimented by extensive resources being made available to participants on the Foundation’s Legal Education and Research Network (LEARN) website, both before and after the live sessions.

The first day introduced participants to the general principles of international fisheries law, followed by an exploration of the different types of transboundary fisheries and the duty to seek cooperation. Several considerations underpinning the design of regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) were discussed, before an inclusive roundtable discussion saw participants share their best practices, perspectives, identified challenges and possible solutions in regional fisheries conservation and management.

Day two focused in on the distribution of rights and responsibilities concerning fisheries governance among coastal states, flag states, port states, market states and the state of nationality. Participants collaborated in breakout rooms to address hypothetical problem questions, utilising their own expertise and knowledge gained from previous sessions.

The third day turned to operationalising international or regional fisheries cooperation. Cooperation and capacity development were the focus of a lively discussion, including a focus on illustrative and practical examples from several international organisations. The final interactive element involved participants negotiating and developing a hypothetical RFMO, commenting on the advantages or disadvantages of each group’s model.

This workshop provided fruitful discussions on international fisheries law, a challenging and sometimes inaccessible topic, but one of fundamental importance to all states in terms of economic, social, political and cultural considerations. Participants were provided with Certificates of Participation in recognition of their active engagement. The Foundation looks forward to continued cooperation with ASEAN in delivering all aspects of the ASEAN Cooperation Project, which implements the Foundation’s project, entitled, Promoting Maritime Peace and Security in Southeast Asia.