Southern Bluefin Tuna (Australia & New Zealand v. Japan)

39 I.L.M. 1359 (2000)

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Southern Bluefin Tuna (Australia & New Zealand v. Japan)

Australia-New Zealand-Japan Arbitration Tribunal
39 I.L.M. 1359 (2000)

Facts

In 1982, the United Nations passed the Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which was enacted in 1994. UNCLOS provided, in part, that disputes pertaining to international maritime law be submitted to compulsory arbitration. In 1993, Australia (plaintiff), New Zealand (plaintiff), and Japan (defendant) concluded the Convention for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT Convention). The SBT Convention set quotas for the number of bluefin tuna that may be caught. The SBT Convention also provided different procedures for resolving disputes than UNCLOS. In 1994, Japan sought an increase in its allotment of bluefin tuna. Australia and New Zealand denied the request, and Japan later instituted a unilateral program in which Japan allowed fishermen to fish for bluefin tuna in excess of the SBT Convention’s quotas. Australia and New Zealand invoked the compulsory arbitration provisions of UNCLOS. Japan argued that the arbitration tribunal lacked jurisdiction because the procedures under the SBT Convention controlled.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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