Dáil Éireann - Volume 446 - 02 November, 1994

Written Answers. - Law of the Sea Convention.

40. Ms McManus asked the Minister for the Marine the initiatives, legislative or otherwise, he intends to take when the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982, comes into force; and whether the Government intends to try to establish an appropriate reform of regional organisations to secure co-operation between Britain and Ireland in relation to the Irish Sea so as to comply with Article 123 of the Convention. [2608/94]

Minister for the Marine (Mr. Andrews): The Department of the Marine has examined the Convention on the [1492] Law of the Sea from the perspective of: sea fisheries policy; marine research; maritime safety; search and rescue arrangements; marine environmental matters; shipping policy and State foreshore jurisdiction.

The Department has concluded that the present statutory, administrative and international co-operative framework within the areas for which it is responsible fulfils the requirements of the Convention. No initiatives are called for, therefore, on my part when the Convention comes into force on 16 November next or upon ratification of the Convention by Ireland.

This is the position, moreover, in relation to Article 123 of the Convention which the Deputy has focused on in particular in her question. The Article deals with co-operation between States bordering enclosed or semi-enclosed seas and provides that States bordering such seas should co-operate with each other in the exercise of their rights and in the performance of their duties under the Convention. The Article focuses, in particular, on living resources, the marine environment, scientific research and the role of international organisations. In each of these areas there is detailed and thoroughgoing co-operation with the United Kingdom and I am glad to advise the Deputy that this operates on a North/South basis as well as on an Ireland/UK basis. I would instance the following by way of example:—

—the Irish Sea Science Co-ordination Group, an Irish/UK group which advises on the potential for better research and monitoring of environmental issues

—the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) an international body in which Ireland, the UK and other States co-operate on marine matters generally, including those related to the Irish Sea

—the finalisation of a Memorandum of Understanding at present [1493] between Ireland and the UK on mutual co-operation and assistance in search and rescue and pollution control matters in the Irish Sea.

There are many other examples; in aggregate they more than satisfy the aspirations of Article 123.