Restricted access to the most recent articles in subscription journals was reinstated on January 12, 2021. These articles can be consulted through the digital resources portal of one of Érudit's 1,200 partner institutions or subscribers. More informations
Each of the member states of the European Economic Community (EEC) has extended, through a common agreement, its own fishing grounds to 200 miles, thus leading to the creation, since 1977, of the Community waters whose exploitation would be subjected to the common fisheries policy of the EEC. The widespread extension of fishing grounds throughout Europe together with the state of overfishing in the North-East Atlantic have led the EEC to elaborate a policy in order to protect the interests of its member states, to make their fishing vessels competitive, and to ensure the stability of the fishing industry. This paper looks into the implementation of the fisheries policy of the EEC, internally — namely access s rights to Community waters, the coordination of markets and producers, aid to modernize the vessels - as well as regarding foreign countries with whom agreements are sought in order to maintain historic fishing rights - specially in the North Atlantic - or in order to develop new fishing grounds - specially along the West African coast and in the Indian Ocean - a quarter of the EEC catch is made outside Community waters. France is deeply committed to the orientations of the EEC fisheries policy due to the importance of its fleet of trawlers fishing outside French waters and to the potential catch in the exclusive economic zone of its departments and territories overseas. The compromise signed by member states in 1983 is an important step towards the establishment of a true « Europe Fisheries ».
With the extension of the Exclusive Economic Zone, Mexico has been endowed with a tremendous oceanic potential. Although without any maritime history, the country embarked on the development of its marine biological resources ; an ailing ' 'agricultural revolution" was replaced by the , "blue revolution". An ambitious national plan for the development of its fisheries was set up; its implementation would improve the food supply situation, create thousands of jobs, increase exportations and, by turning out foreign fleets from its territorial waters, would also flatter Mexican nationalism. However, only part of these ambitions came to be. Lack of maritime know-how and a weak internal market have prevented Mexico from becoming free from external constraints. Although it has become an important producing country, yet it still remains dependent on the international market.
The Mediterranean together with the Black Sea constitutes a fishing ground of almost 3 000 000 square kilometres. In view of its geographical location, numerous conflicts arise in this area regarding its exploitation since 22 states have direct access to its waters. Total fish catch in the Mediterranean amount to almost 1 900 000 tons per year with a rise of 136 % over 20 years.
This industry employs nearly 250 000 fishermen. The occupations vary greatly in general and the exploitable resources are shared inequitably. The state of exploitation is such that the financial returns are extremely uneven, hence the requisite for profitability sometimes leaves much to be desired.
Although potential development of stock appears limited, changes in reception facilities, production instruments, planning of coastal and lagoon areas, and better training of fishermen would improve the situation in this industry. The setting-up of Mediterranean integrated programmes can be a step forward towards the realization of this goal.
After the last war, the USSR set it self to increase the development of its ocean fisheries from its two North-East Atlantic seaboards on the Barents Sea and the Baltic. With a modernized fleet and almost complete freedom on the seas, its catch increased six fold between 1950 and 1976, going from 0,4 to 2,5 million tons per year, and Soviet fishermen could be found roaming on all the seas bordering Europe.
However, as from 1977, this expansion was fiercely curtailed when coastal nations, including the USSR, established the 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or mere exclusive fishing zone (EFZ), each being alloted almost all of its living resource s. More fishing grounds were lost by the USSR than gained, to the point where production suddenly fell in 1977 and it had to turn to fish of lesser quality, often used for industrial purposes, such as the Capelin (Mallotus villosus) and the blue Whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) which today make up to 60 % of all its catch off Northern Europe.
The Soviet authorities reacted with flexibility and diversity, namely by increased fishing in the national exclusive zone, particularly in the Barents Sea, through negotiations leading to access rights to foreign waters, particularly those of Norway and the Faeroe Islands, and through a policy whereby it could purchase unprocessed fish from some members of the EEC. Thus Russian factory ships came to the British coasts to process mackerel delivered to them at sea by English and Scottish fishermen. It is through such a strategy of diversification, various examples of which may be found around the world, that the Soviets have succeeded in regaining grounds lost in 1977 and in reaching an average production of 1,7 million tons from 1977 to 1983 in the North-East Atlantic, this being 3 to 4 % less than that of 1970-76, notwithstanding the few purchases of fish made directly at sea.
Canada's fisheries have always been the subject of complex and conflicting international relations. Until January 1977, the fishing grounds off the Canadian coasts were there to be exploited by any nation with the means to do so. Interstate competition had a disastrous effect on the stock. With the extension of Canadian responsibilities to 200 miles offshore, a national System was laid down for stock exploitation and appropriation. From 1976 to 1982, Canada set up plans for the strict management of its fisheries, and numerous agreements were signed which allowed for the allocation of surplus stock from the Canadian waters in return for a market for Canadian sea products. From 1982 to 1985, with its stock increasing, Canada's policy appeared more generous since it allowed for the allocation of its non-surplus stock to signatory countries with a growing market for Canadian goods or with lower tarriff barriers. Since 1985, the emphasis in Canada has been mainly on conservation : Non-surplus stocks are allocated to countries who buy Canadian sea products, though especially those who respect the Canadian territorial limits and who respect the quotas, set by the North West Atlantic Fishing Organisation, outside Canada's 200-mile zone in the Atlantic. Due to its proximity to the US and to France (St-Pierre and Miquelon), Canada has sustained relations with those two countries. There are major differences between them regarding the demarcation of maritime boundaries and the sharing of transnational fisheries.
Japan's distant seafishing industry provides opportunities for supergains, y et it still remains dependent on the internal market. Its activities which are directed by the State, and implemented by the large industrial and commercial enterprises, are part of the whole evolution of the traditional corporations of the Kumiai. A study of the political, technical, and economical conjuncture and balance of power at the international level show three important periods. 1904-1941 : The imperialistic policy of the military-industrial complex supports the operations of the large enterprises. Between 1933 and 1940, Japan has several hundreds of fishing plants along the coasts of the Russian Far East; factory vessels are used for the canning of salmon and crabs in the Sea of Okhostk and the Behring Sea, and for whaling in the Antarctic and North Pacific ; industrial trawling is carried on along the coasts of the Asian continent while numerous enterprises are set up in Indo-Malaysia for coastal tuna fishing. 1948-1973 : Within the framework of the reconstruction of its economy, Japan at first resumes the same campaigns as those of the pre-War period; to these are added drifting long line fishing of tuna in the intertropical grounds and a powerful industrial trawling in North Pacific. By 1960, these activities are curtailed due to regulations imposed by USSR, USA, and the International Whaling Commission for stock protection. And then there are new competitors (Taiwan, South Korea). A general fail off after 1965 is partly compensated by the industrial trawling in the Behring Sea. 1974-1986: Significant geopolitical and economic changes force Japan to define and to redeploy its foreign fisheries. Pressured by waterside States, Japan gradually withdraws from traditional fishing grounds and endeavours to find new resources in waters which have remained international so as to maintain a balance with its internal market (tuna drifting long lines and seiners, squid fishery). New technology and profits from the internal market allow the industrial armaments to keep their competitive edge. The State strongly supports this sector through its diplomacy and the provision of funds for research and redeployment and by planning the integration of the distant fishing industry within the economical and social development of the traditional fishing cells of the Archipelago.
Chronique des relations extérieures du Canada et du Québec