HC Deb 21 July 1997 vol 298 cc397-8W
Mr. Ronnie Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the United Kingdom will accede to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the law of the sea; and if he will make a statement. [10101]

Mr. Robin Cook

We have decided to accede to the convention later this month. The convention has many advantages for the United Kingdom as a maritime nation with worldwide trading and other interests. The convention includes important environmental provisions. Accession will enable the United Kingdom to play a leading role in the institutions established under the convention.

The United Kingdom's fishery limits will need to be redefined based on St. Kilda, since Rockall is not a valid base point for such limits under article 121(3) of the convention. An Order in Council will be made at the first opportunity. Thereafter we shall seek to agree a fisheries boundary with the Republic of Ireland.

Further legislation may be needed in due course if British industry wishes to mine the deep sea bed under the terms of the convention and the agreement on the implementation of part XI of the convention. We shall also ratify the latter agreement, which fully meets the objections to the original terms of part XI.

Back to