Fishing Rights and Territorial Waters

September 4, 1963

Report Outline
Ocean Fisheries and Fishing Right
Status of Law on Territorial Waters
Fish as a Major Source of Protein

Ocean Fisheries and Fishing Right

Approaching Conferences on Fishing Disputes

Efforts to resolve conflicts, or potential conflicts, over fishing rights in the North Atlantic and the North Pacific will be pressed by leading maritime nations during the autumn. Japanese demands for revision of the North Pacific Fisheries Convention, taken up in Washington last June by representatives of the three signatory countries—the United States, Canada and Japan—are to be the subject of renewed negotiations opening Sept. 16 in Tokyo. Meanwhile, representatives of the United States have completed initial discussions in Ottawa on questions raised by Canada's decision to establish next May an exclusive fishing zone reaching out 12 miles from its shores. Although Canada will not attempt to extend its territorial waters proper beyond the traditional three-mile limit, creation of the new fishing zone will presumably bar American fishermen from extensive areas which they have long exploited.

British fishermen likewise are being gradually shut out of accustomed fishing grounds as other nations extend the limits of their territorial waters or exclusive fishing zones. London is planning to call a Western European Fisheries Conference, toward the end of this year, to discuss the different fishery claims of maritime nations, questions of fish conservation, and activities of the large Russian herring fleet in the North Sea.

The British government served notice last April 30 that it would withdraw next year from two North Sea fisheries conventions dating from the 19th century. Lord Privy Seal Edward Heath indicated then that a change in Britain's long-standing support of the three-mile limit was in the offing. His government, Heath said, had decided that it was no longer justified in denying to British fishermen an extension of exclusive fishing rights in coastal waters beyond the three-mile limit, because virtually all other countries in the area had asserted claim to a wider zone. Efforts through the United Nations to obtain general international agreement on the limits of territorial waters and on fishing rights have been largely fruitless so far.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Jun. 10, 2022  Governing the Seas
May 31, 2019  Global Fishing Controversies
Oct. 2007  Oceans in Crisis
Jul. 27, 2007  Fish Farming
Nov. 04, 2005  Saving the Oceans
Aug. 02, 2002  Threatened Fisheries
Sep. 27, 1985  Whaling: End of an Era
Jul. 16, 1982  Troubled Maritime Industry
Jun. 07, 1974  Oceanic Law
Sep. 29, 1965  National Maritime Policy
Sep. 04, 1963  Fishing Rights and Territorial Waters
Oct. 05, 1955  Territorial Waters and the High Seas
Jul. 21, 1954  Plight of the Maritime Industry
Jul. 10, 1935  Merchant Marine Policy of the United States
Jan. 15, 1929  Sea Power and Sea Law
Jul. 24, 1928  Government Aid to the Merchant Marine
Oct. 17, 1925  The Merchant Marine Problem
Apr. 26, 1924  The New Merchant Marine Situation
International Law and Agreements
Water Resources
Wildlife and Endangered Species