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Freya Baetens analyses transboundary fisheries governance at ESIL conference

Last week, the 12th Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law (ESIL) took place on the topic of How International Law Works in Times of Crisis. The conference was hosted by the Riga Graduate School of Law in cooperation with the Latvian Constitutional Court. The conference intended to provide an opportunity to discuss the crisis of international law, the international law of crisis, and also different biases and assumptions that contribute to questions about crisis.

Freya Baetens’ presentation was entitled ‘Shared fish stocks in crisis: An analysis of international transboundary resources management through the prism of UNCLOS and WTO disputes concerning the EU Common Fisheries Policy’. In her paper, she analysed the international and EU legal frameworks regulating transboundary fisheries, and the influence exerted by the world trade rules, taking into account the competing jurisdiction of various dispute settlement mechanisms.

In this context, she argued there exist two ‘crises’. First, there is a crisis with significant practical importance, namely the question of transboundary resources management requiring the involvement of multiple stakeholders, in general, and the sustainable governance of shared fish stocks in particular, which is subject to unilateral and plurilateral assertions of entitlement.

Second, there is the inter-connected, but more theoretical or abstract crisis within the EU legal order, posing the question of the legal personality of non-State actors, including supranational players, such as the EU, and territorial entities with autonomous status, such as the Faroe Islands.

More information about the 12th Annual Conference of the ESIL can be found here

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