The third United Nations conference on the Law of the Sea opened on Monday (15 March) and delegates from more than 150 counties began discussing numerous issues, including the exploitation of marine life and minerals.
SV Reporter asks question of Iceland's ambassador
SCU Japanese ambassador
CU Reporter talks to British ambassador
REPORTER: "The 200 mile limit is not about to split the conference - how likely is it to support such a limit unilaterally?"
ANDERSEN: "Well, first of all, I think the 200 mile limit be adopted and even if it is not formally, or a formal commitment, and I think that there is all the support in the world for it and unless (indistinct) is lost and we were (indistinct) on that basic procedure (indistinct), but as I said I hope there will be a commitment and I'm sure there will be."
REPORTER: "If the limit is adopted, will Iceland perhaps give access to British trawlers to fish in its waters?"
ANDERSEN: "If this limit is adopted it will be on the basis of a text of the convention, and we don't have the text yet, and we have a single negotiating text and there is a proviso that access to living resources within the zone will only be made available on certain terms, and the (indistinct) itself will decide the total allowable catch and also their capacity to utilise that catch (indistinct) are not subject to (indistinct) by the governments and if there is a surplus, it will be made available, as I said."
REPORTER: "Ambassador, if the 200 mile fishing limit is adopted, is Japan confident that it will be able to negotiate fishing contracts with other counters bilaterally?"
FUJISAKI: "Oh, yes, if it, as you say, the court decided to incorporate into the new treaty."
REPORTER: "What about charges by U.S. fishermen that Japanese fishing operations are dangerously depleting stocks off the American continent?"
FUJISAKI: "It is my understanding that the Japanese government is co-operating with the United States government for the purpose of conservation."
REPORTER: "Since Iceland depends entirely on fishing for its livelihood, isn't there some merit to their claim?"
LOGAN: "There's some merit in the claim of the fishermen and those who work with them from Hull, grimsby and Fleetwood, who depend very much on fishing. I think that people from those ports and other British ports have fished in these waters for 600 years. It's (indistinct) that there is, as I understand it, and I believe that it is true, there is little or no unemployment in Iceland at the moment, in Britain, unfortunately, at the moment, there's some five percent unemployment in those three ports I mentioned."
This film is serviced with three interviews -- with Iceland's ambassador, Hans Andersen, Japan's ambassador, Masato Fujisaki and Britain's ambassador, Donald Logan. A transcript follows:
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The third United Nations conference on the Law of the Sea opened on Monday (15 March) and delegates from more than 150 counties began discussing numerous issues, including the exploitation of marine life and minerals.
To simplify discussions, the delegates are divided into three committees, each one concerned with a different aspect of the high complex sea law. These are: the exploitation of the sea bed, with its vast potential of oil reserves and industrial metals; general aspects of the law of the sea, including territorial zones; and the marine environment including pollution and specifically scientific research and technology.
Perhaps the most difficult issue facing the delegates will be the delicate task of preventing countries quarrelling among themselves to divided the oceans which form about 70 per cent of the earth's surface.
For almost two years the Conference has been trying to negotiate a new international treaty to govern the uses of the sea. At stake is the right to exploit the oil, cobalt, copper, gold, nickel and other vast riches which lie beneath the seas and the fish and other food potential of the oceans.
The eight-week conference will be held under the shadow of a bitter Anglo-Icelandic fisheries dispute which led to a severing of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The conference has before it a comprehensive working document,the "informal single negotiating text". The key proposal in this establishes a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone off the shore of coastal stats. Experts say there is a clear majority at the conference for that.
The drafts comprise more than 300 articles and other major proposals include a maximum of a 12 nautical mile territorial sea and the formation of a new international body that would be responsible for all the seabed area outside the exclusive economic zone.