Article II of the IPHC Convention states that each Contracting Party shall have the right to enforce the Convention and any regulations adopted thereto in all Convention waters against its own nationals and fishing vessels, and in the portion of the Convention waters in which it exercises exclusive fisheries jurisdiction against nationals or fishing vessels of either Contracting Party or third parties.
This approach reflects the sovereign rights of the coastal state within its Exclusive Economic Zone as set out in Part V of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), in particular Article 73 (Enforcement of laws and regulations of the coastal State).
The United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA) places a series of obligations on flag States concerning compliance and enforcement, including immediate and full investigation of alleged violations, prompt reporting on the progress and outcome of the investigation to the relevant RFMO, and if a serious violation has been proven, the requirement not to allow the vessel to fish until such time as imposed sanctions have been complied with. Furthermore, the flag state must ensure that applicable sanctions are adequate in severity to secure compliance and to discourage violations and deprive offenders of the benefits accruing from non-compliance.
MCS in the IPHC context is implemented by Contracting Party national agencies as follows:
Canada: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has the lead federal role in managing Canada’s fisheries and safeguarding its waters. The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), a special operating agency within DFO, is responsible for services and programs that contribute to the safety, security, and accessibility of Canada’s waterways.
United States of America: NOAA Fisheries is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Department of Commerce. NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the stewardship of the nation’s ocean resources and their habitat. NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) enforces international treaty requirements. OLE ensures compliance with fishery regulations. The U.S. Coast Guard is a federal agency enforcing domestic and international fisheries laws, as well as protects the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.