San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


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In spite of the economic and political importance, fishery problems are being dragged in by the back door, to face decisions by diplomats who, for the most part, lack the requisite interest and competence to solve such problems. It is because of this that it seems timely and useful to raise a few points that might be considered by those who are (presumably) preparing themselves for the new conferences on the law of the sea. (1) The problems of fisheries, because of both the centuries of use and the recent, dramatic changes in enterprise, are inordinately complex. However, the issues have not been precisely described and the alternative resolutions have scarcely been formulated. (2) The over-emphasis on the seabed may lead to short term gains for those related interests at the cost of long term damages to the world's interests in fisheries. (3) The character of today's decisionmaking arena is far different from that of 1958. The fishery diplomats will not be participating in a club of fishing states, but in the context of a global interest in the wealth of the seas, and in the fears of a United States-Soviet Union condominium. (4) there is increasing awareness that the patterns of distribution among nations of the sea's wealth in fisheries is becoming more and more non-inclusive in nature, and that the opportunities for sharing are more restricted. (5) These non-inclusive patterns of distribution are supported by customary and conventional law. Non-inclusive access to (though not distribution of) wealth is required for efficiency in production. If there is to be more inclusive sharing of wealth, then there is need for totally new institutions of law.