Conflicts over protection of marine living resources: the ‘Volga Case’ revisited

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Karim, S 2011, 'Linkages of development and environment: in search of an integrated approach through sustainable development', Goettingen Journal of International Law , vol. 3, no.1, pp. 101-127.

Peer Reviewed



Non-traditional maritime security concerns have become more importantthan ever in the post-Cold War era. Naval forces of most developedcountries are more concerned about these threats than conventional war.One of the main maritime security issues for many countries in the world isillegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the marine area. Withthese burgeoning issues comes the potential for a large number of disputesinvolving international law. In early 2002, a long-line fishing vessel under aRussian flag – the Volga, was detained by Australian authorities a fewhundred meters outside the Exclusive Economic Zone of Australia’s Heardand McDonald Islands in the Southern Ocean. The vessel was reportedlyengaged in illegal fishing. This incident gave birth to litigation ininternational and Australian courts. Apart from these cases, Russia alsoannounced separate litigation against Australia for violation of Articles 111and 87 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).Considering the outcome of these cases, this article critically examines thecharacteristics of litigation as a strategy for pacific settlement of disputesover marine living resources. Using the Volga Case as an example, thisarticle explores some issues related to the judicial settlement of disputesover marine living resources. This article demonstrates that the legalcertainty of winning a case may not be the only factor influencing thestrategy for settlement of an international dispute.

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