International judge presents keynote in regional judicial symposium to promote responsibility in fisheries
Honiara, Solomon Islands, Monday 5 August 2019 – Judge Tomas Heidar of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), who serves as President of its Chamber for Fisheries Disputes, today delivered a keynote address to the regional judicial symposium on the topic "IUU Fishing and the ITLOS Advisory Opinion". This appears to be the first time a judge of ITLOS has participated in a regional judicial conference.
Judge Heidar described how the ITLOS Advisory Opinion  from 2015 on the Request of the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission elaborates on the responsibilities of coastal States and flag States in combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The Honourable Judge Heidar said: "The ITLOS Advisory Opinion in particular gives teeth to the relevant treaty provisions on flag State obligations and has already had an impact on State legislation and practice. It offers guidance to coastal States for holding liable the flag State of a vessel conducting IUU fishing activities in their EEZs for a breach, attributable to the flag State, of its due diligence obligations prescribed in the Advisory Opinion."
Director-General of the Forum Fisheries Agency Dr Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen said: “The contributions of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on the interpretation and application of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea are noteworthy”.
Dr Tupou-Roosen added: “The ITLOS Advisory Opinion provides useful guidance on the management of fisheries resources. The Advisory Opinion is clear that coastal States have primary responsibility for management of fisheries resources and that flag States also have responsibility to exercise due diligence over their flagged vessels”.
The judicial symposium is attended by members of the judiciary from the Pacific Islands region, and international law experts, and will discuss in particular the responsibility of States, the responsibility of international organisations, and the responsibility of persons, in the governance of fisheries. The judicial symposium will be held from 5 – 8 August 2019 at the FFA Conference Centre in Honiara, Solomon Islands.