University of Tasmania
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Equity in tuna regional fisheries management organisations : the law and practice on differentiation in Western Pacific and Indian Ocean tuna fisheries

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posted on 2023-05-28, 12:13 authored by Abolhassani, AM
This thesis examines intragenerational equity for developing coastal states in transboundary tuna management. Intragenerational equity issues feature prominently in negotiations among members of intergovernmental organisations responsible for managing regional tuna stocks. Recent scholarship examining the performance of these organisations‚Äöv©vòreferred to as the five tuna regional fisheries management organisations (TRFMOs)‚Äöv©vòdemonstrates that disparities in economic development among members negatively impacts their effectiveness. This thesis builds on a developing thread in the TRFMO scholarship that views policy outcomes through the lens of distributive conflicts between developing coastal states and industrialised distant water fishing states. In order to analyse intragenerational equity for developing coastal states, this thesis examines legal differentiation in treaty regimes that govern TRFMOs. Legal provisions in TRFMO treaty regimes commonly differentiate obligations between states on the basis of their levels of economic development. The purpose of these differentiated legal obligations is to address intragenerational equity for coastal states in developing regions where the majority of worldwide tuna stocks are located, and in doing so support equitable and effective transboundary tuna management. Despite the significance and pervasiveness of these differentiated legal provisions, there is currently little research into how they are designed and applied by the TRFMOs. Through case studies of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), this thesis examines how TRFMOs address intragenerational equity (conceptualised as procedural and distributive equity) through the application of differentiation advantaging developing coastal state members to their law and practice. The thesis compares and evaluates six Policy Examples of differentiation to assess the equitability of policy outcomes observed in each TRFMO. Across Policy Examples, the thesis finds that both TRFMOs fail to adequately address intragenerational equity issues for developing coastal state members. This thesis demonstrates that TRFMOs confront significant challenges to addressing intragenerational equity issues in their work. Differentiation in TRFMO treaty regimes does not capture the full scope of procedural and distributive equity issues for developing coastal states and is repurposed to achieve compromises in negotiations rather than equitable management decisions. Distributional struggles, rather than legal commitments among states, tend to shape (liberate or constrain) the equitability of TRFMO management decisions. To address these issues, the thesis proposes that it is necessary to improve current formulations of differentiation within TRFMO treaty regimes and to introduce new elements to the TRFMO management model, such as a 'Coastal State Development Quota', thereby ensuring the delivery of concrete socio-economic benefits to developing coastal states.


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