Framework Agreement for the Conservation of the Living Marine Resources of the High Seas of the South Pacific (Galapagos Agreement)

Done at: Santiago

Date enacted: 2000-08-14

In force: not in force

The coastal States of the Southeast Pacific, Members of the South Pacific Permanent Commission (SPPC) and other interested States,


The coastal States of the Southeast Pacific, through the 1952 Declaration of Santiago, proclaimed their sovereignty and exclusive jurisdiction within a 200-mile maritime zone, with the aim of ensuring the conservation and appropriate exploitation of the natural resources off their coasts, and laid the foundation for this zone’s establishment and acceptance as one of the fundamental institutions of the new Law of the Sea;

The Declaration of Santiago also recognized that a coastal States’ duty to prevent an excessive exploitation of natural resources outside the reach of their national jurisdiction, which could endanger those resources’ existence, integrity and conservation, detrimental of the peoples that in their seas possess irreplaceable subsistence resources;

With these goals in mind, the coastal States in question agreed to establish the South Pacific Permanent Commission (SPPC), to coordinate their maritime policies and to promote the adoption of measures to preserve the environment and protect the integrity of the South Pacific’s marine ecosystem;

In conformity with the relevant provisions of international law, all States have the right to allow their nationals to engage in fishing on the high seas, subject inter alia to the rights, duties and interests of the coastal States with regard to the capture of straddling stocks and highly migratory species;

These provisions imply the recognition of a preferential status for the coastal States, justified by the relationship that exists between fish stocks of such species and the marine ecosystems of those States, as well as by the effects of fishing activities on certain coastal fish populations, associates or dependent of the same;

The uncontrolled exploitation of living marine resources in high seas areas adjacent to zones under national jurisdiction represents a threat to the conservation and sustainable use of said resources, as well as to fish populations dependent on or associated with them, and it may undermine the effectiveness of measures adopted by the coastal States with respect to the same species, within their 200-mile zones;

The provisions on these matters contained in recent instruments adopted within the United Nations Organization must be evaluated and adapted to the specific requirements of the South Pacific;

In light of the considerations set forth here, the coastal States of the Southeast Pacific have the right and duty to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of the living marine resources present in their subregion, including those which migrate from the zones under their national jurisdiction to the high seas and vice versa;

The countries have administered some of the world’s biggest fishing grounds and have adopted effective measures to promote the long-term sustainability of the living marine resources there, and thus they have a special interest in ensuring that the measures applied on the adjacent high seas are no less strict than those in the zones under their jurisdiction;

Taking the above into account, at the Fifth Foreign Ministers’ Summit of the SPPC Member States (Santafè de Bogotá, August 4, 1997), the decision was made to prepare a Framework Agreement for the Conservation of the Fishery Resources on the High Seas of the Southeast Pacific, the basic outlines of which were included in an attachment to the Ministerial Declaration emerging from that Summit;

According to those outlines, the Framework Agreement shall establish conditions and procedures allowing, after approval by the SPPC Member States, later accession by other States whose fishing fleets are active in the Agreement’s area of application and which have an established interest in the living marine resources in question;

In conformity with the outlines mentioned, the Framework Agreement must also be general in nature and permit later development through the addition of complementary instruments establishing specific provisions to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of the living marine resources in question, in accordance with their nature, characteristics and area of distribution;

Before the permanent institutional mechanisms are put into place for the implementation of the Framework Agreement and its complementary instruments, the SPPC General Secretariat has indicated its willingness to act provisionally as Secretariat for the regional organization being established;

Agree to subscribe to the following Framework Agreement for the Conservation of Living Marine Resources on the High Seas of the Southeast Pacific:

Article 1

Definition of terms


For the purposes of this Framework Agreement, the following terms shall be defined as stated:


“Coastal States”: Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.


“States Parties”: the coastal States along with other interested States, which subscribe and ratify this Agreement or accede to it.


“Other interested States”: the States involved in distant-water fishing which have an established interest in specific fishery resources in this subregion, including qualified inter-governmental organization.


“Established interest”: the interest demonstrated by a State whose nationals habitually fish for one or more fish populations within this Agreement’s area of application and whose participation may fall within the scope of this interest.


“Concerned States”: the States parties, whether coastal or otherwise, along with other interested States.


“Qualified intergovernmental organizations”: regional organizations constituted by States, which have had powers transferred to them in subjects covered by this Agreement, including the power to make decisions in relation to such subjects that are binding on member States.


“Area of application of the Agreement”: as established in Article 3.


“Zones under national jurisdiction”: those subject to the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the coastal States, up to the limit of 200 nautical miles measured from the baselines, including the jurisdictional zones established for island territories beyond the limit of the continental maritime zones.


“SPPC”: the South Pacific Permanent Commission.


“General Secretariat”: the General Secretariat of the SPPC.


“Conservation measures”: measures aimed at the sustainable exploitation of one or more fish populations, adopted in the Framework Agreement’s area of application in a manner compatible with the relevant provisions of international law and in conformity with the provision of this Agreement. For the purposes of this Agreement, the term “conservation” shall henceforth include the concept of the sustainable exploitation of living marine resources.


“Straddling and highly migratory fish populations”: those defined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, including fish and mollusks belonging to the same species regulated by the Agreement, in conformity with the provisions of Article 4.


“Living marine resources”: the straddling fish species or highly migratory and the other live marine resources associated or dependents of the same.


“Relevant provisions of international law”: those recognized in this subject in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other international instruments currently in force for the States Parties, as well as the provisions incorporated into common law through the general practice of States.


“Complementary instruments”: those agreed upon by the States parties or concerned States, whichever the case may be, in conformity with the provisions of this Framework Agreement, through conventions, protocols or annexes, as appropriate, on specific matters where this is seen to be necessary, with the aim of developing or regulating the provisions of the Agreement, taking into account the nature of the species in question.

Article 2

Objective of the Agreement

The objective of this Framework Agreement is the conservation of living marine resources in the high seas zones of the Southeast Pacific, with special reference to straddling and highly migratory fish populations.

Article 3

Area of application


The Framework Agreement shall apply exclusively to the high seas of the Southeast Pacific, encompassed by the outer limits of the coastal States’ national jurisdiction zones and a line traced along the complete length of the 120 west meridian of longitude, from the 5 north parallel of latitude to the 60 south parallel of latitude. It does not apply to the zones under national jurisdiction corresponding to oceanic islands belonging to any of the coastal States, but is shall also include the areas of high seas surrounding and adjacent to these oceanic islands, within the limits described.


The provisions of paragraph 1 notwithstanding, the complementary instruments may refer to other areas of application, according to the nature, characteristics, displacement and ecological relationships of the fish populations regulated by such instruments.

Article 4

Regulated species


Without prejudice to their later application to other living marine resources present in the area described in Article 3, conservation standards will first be adopted for particular species judged to be of high priority.


At the States Parties first meeting within the three-month period following this Agreement’s entry into force, they must identify such high-priority species, considering those which require preferential treatment because of their commercial interest or special conservation requirements.


The specific species to be regulated, as well as later additions of species or exclusions of any of them, shall be established through an annex adopted by the States Parties.


The States Parties shall give due consideration to the provisions of existing multilateral instruments regarding one or more of such species, which may be applicable in conformity with the relevant provisions of international law.


In the determination of regulated species, the States parties shall also consider the need to preserve the ecological equilibrium that exists between fish stocks of those species and populations of associated or dependent fish species.

Article 5

Conservation principles


In the implementation of this Framework Agreement, the following principles, among others, shall be followed:


The measures adopted shall be based on appropriate scientific and technical information, with the aim of ensuring the long-term conservation of the Southeast Pacific’s living marine resources within the area of application.


The scarcity or lack of available information shall not be construed as a reason to prevent or delay the adoption of precautionary measures, including points of reference for specific fish populations.


In the establishment of conservation measures for regulated species, the effects of fishing for specific fish stocks on the populations of associated or dependent species, as well as on the marine ecosystem as a whole, shall be taken into account.


The effects of environmental changes and other phenomena which might affect the marine ecosystem, along with the direct or indirect effects of capture, shall be taken into account, in order to reduce or prevent the risk of potentially irreversible alterations.


The measures adopted shall not be less strict than those established for the same species in the zones under national jurisdiction adjacent to the Agreement’s area of application, shall not undermine the effectiveness of the same, and shall be fully compatible with them in all cases.


Appropriate measures shall be adopted to prevent incidental captures as well as excesses in fishing and fishing capacity.


In the application of these principles and in other provisions of the Framework Agreement, particularly in the decision-making process as described in Article 12, due account shall be taken of the fact that, in conformity with the relevant provisions of international law, the freedom of fishing on the high seas is subject inter alia to the rights, duties and interests of the coastal States and to the conservation and administration rules of the living resources of the high seas.

Article 6

Conservation and sustainable use measures

Measures for the conservation of regulated species may include the following elements, among others:


The designation of subzones within the Framework Agreement’s area of application, taking into account the nature, characteristics and distribution of the fish populations in question, as well as other geographical, ecological, scientific, statistical and operational criteria;


The setting of catch limits for various fish populations in the area of application or in established subzones;


The regulation of fishing effort to prevent its concentration on one particular species or zone;


The establishment of appropriate open and closed seasons for fishing activities;


The adoption of capture methods, including the selective use of fishing tackle and equipment and appropriate fishing methods;


The regulation of minimum permissible sizes and/or ages for capture, and if applicable, the sex of regulated species, along with any other biological parameter which would assist in the conservation of those species; and


Additional conservation measures that are deemed appropriate to ensure the fulfilment of this Agreement’s objective.

Article 7

Obligations of the States Parties

With the aim of fulfilling this Agreement’s objective, the States Parties assume the following obligations:


To adopt necessary measures so that their national flag vessels comply with the conservation measures set forth in this Agreement and do not undertake activities that undermine the effectiveness of these measures.


To grant fishing authorizations for the Agreement’s area of application to vessels flying their national flag, maintain a registry of such vessels and exercise effective control over them to ensure the fulfilment of the measures adopted.


To observe international norms regarding the identification and marking of fishing vessels and fishing equipment.


To establish rules for the registry and communication, as appropriate, of data such as vessel location, captures of regulated fish species, by-catch, fishing effort, environmental conditions and other related data of interest, in conformity with international standards for the gathering of such data.


To gather and make available scientific, technical and statistical information about the fish populations captured within the Agreement’s area of application, and, as far as possible, about associated or dependent species, maintaining confidentiality, where appropriate, in the management of such information.


To carry out and interchange studies on ecological, economic and social considerations related to the utilization of fishery resources.


To carry out and support scientific studies and develop appropriate technologies related to the conservation of living marine resources.


In the case of States possessing sufficient means, to cooperate in the support of technical assistance and training programs, aimed at contributing to the implementation of this Agreement; and


In the case of the coastal States, to seek to harmonize the conservation measures in force in their national jurisdiction zones.

Article 8

Follow-up, monitoring, control and enforcement measures


The States Parties shall work together to ensure the fulfilment of the conservation measures adopted, through the establishment of follow-up, monitoring, control and enforcement systems, including the use of satellite data and positioning, and, where appropriate, the boarding and inspection of fishing vessels and the escorting of such vessels to port when infractions are discovered, in conformity with the relevant provisions of international law.


The States parties shall include provisions in their national laws to ensure the fulfilment by their nationals of the rules and measures agreed under this Agreement.


The States Parties shall hold consultations to determine the most effective measures to prevent illicit, unregulated and undeclared fishing, including boat-to-boat transfers to evade compliance with conservation measures, whether by vessels flying their national flags, those flying the flags of other States, those flying flags of convenience or those operating without a national flag.

Article 9

Measures to adopted by port States

In the exercise of their sovereignty in conformity with the relevant provisions of international law, the States Parties which are also port States shall adopt the following measures, among other:


To inspect, when necessary, the documents, fishing equipment and catches of fishing vessels which voluntarily enter their ports and coastal installations;


To prevent disembarkation and ship-to-ship transfers when reasonable grounds exist to believe that captures of fish in the Agreement’s area of application have been carried out in the contravention of the rules and conservation measures adopted by the States Parties, or, in the absence of such measures, when such captures have served to undermine the effectiveness of the measures in force with respect to the same fish populations in the coastal States’ national jurisdiction zones.

Article 10

Violations and penalties


The States Parties shall agree upon a list of violations and an adequate regimen of penalties, based on the principles of proportionality and adequate deterrence, for infringements of the measures adopted, including, as appropriate, the imposition of fines, the confiscation of catches and the suspension or revocation of authorizations to fish in the relevant area of the Agreement’s application.


In addition, a system shall be put into place to inform concerned States of violations committed and the penalties imposed.

Article 11

Institutional mechanisms


The States parties shall establish an Organization for the conservation of living marine resources in the Southeast Pacific, which in principle shall include:


Commission tasked with adopting the necessary decisions for the fulfilment of the Agreement’s provisions;


Scientific-Technical Committee, to serve as a consulting body for the Commission on these matters;




any other subsidiary body that the States Parties, or the Commission once it has begun operation; decides to establish in support of the Agreement’s implementation.


Until the institutional mechanisms have been put into place, the assembly of the States Parties shall carry out the functions of the Commission, and the General Secretariat those of the Organization’s Secretariat.


In addition, the assembly of the States Parties shall designate a representative for the Scientific-Technical Committee from each State Party, who has adequate scientific capacity and who may be accompanied by experts and advisors.


The States Parties shall supply the necessary financial contributions to support these activities, assessed on a proportional scale similar to that used by the United Nations Organization.


The Agreement’s complementary instruments shall also include provisions regarding the establishment and financing of those institutional mechanisms which may be considered appropriate by the States Parties.

Article 12

Decision-making process


The States Parties shall make all necessary efforts to ensure that decisions on issues considered to be substantive are reached by consensus. The determination of whether or not an issue is substantive shall also be considered a substantive question. If all efforts at conciliation are exhausted, however, and no consensus can be reached by the end of the day following the examination of the issue in question, the decision shall be made through the favourable vote of at least two-thirds of the representatives of the States present, including a majority of the coastal States. In the case of measures whose application may affect the conservation of fish stocks within the national jurisdiction zone of a coastal State, the adoption of such measures shall require that State’s affirmative vote.


Decisions on non-substantive matters shall be adopted by a simple majority of the representatives of the States present. However, if a matter relates to a matter immediately adjacent to the national jurisdiction zone of a coastal State, and the measures to be adopted may affect the conservation of fishery resources in this zone, that State may declare the decision to be a substantive issue.


When the participation of the representative of a qualified inter-governmental organization is required in decision-making, it must be specified whether a representative of any of said organization’s member States which is also a party to the Framework Agreement will also participate. If this is the case, the number of States Parties taking part in the vote shall not exceed the number of member States of the inter-governmental organization, and the representative of the latter shall have the right to only one vote.

Article 13

Non-Party States

The States Parties shall, individually or collectively, adopt appropriate measures, compatible with international law, to dissuade fishing vessels flying the flags of non-Party States from undertaking activities which undermine the effectiveness of the conservation measures adopted.

Article 14

Dispute settlement


Disagreements among the States Parties as to the interpretation or application of the provisions established in this Agreement, or in its complementary instruments, shall be resolved in the first instance through the dispute-settlement procedures set forth in Article 33 of the United Nations Charter, or in other international instruments in force for the States Parties.


If an agreement cannot be reached, disputes must be submitted either to a conciliation commission or a technical arbitration body, unless both parties have agreed upon a different procedure.


If the voluntary dispute-resolution measures are exhausted, or if agreement is not reached on recourse to other instances, such as the International Court of Justice or the International Law of the Sea Tribunal, either of the parties may solicit a binding arbitration procedure.


In no case, subject to the applicable provisions in conformity with international law, shall disputes concerning the exercise of the coastal States’ sovereign rights within their respective national jurisdiction zones be submitted to the procedures set forth in paragraph 3.

Article 15

Safeguard clause

None of this Agreement’s provisions shall be construed to infringe upon, affect or modify the positions of the States Parties with respect to the nature, limits or reach of their respective zones under national jurisdiction, nor their positions regarding the international instruments which address these issues.

Article 16

Signing, ratification and accession


The present Agreement shall be opened for signature by the four coastal States of the Southeast Pacific and ratified according to their respective constitutional procedures in force.


Once it enters into force, in accordance with the provisions of Article 19, the Agreement shall become open to the signature of other interested States for a twelve-month period. After this term has passed, any interested State may acceded to the Agreement.

Article 17

Deposit and registration


The original of this Agreement and the instruments of ratification or accession, as well as the texts of future amendments or withdrawals, shall be deposited with the General Secretariat of the SPPC, and as an alternative, with the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the State where the Organization’s headquarters is established, in conformity with the provisions of Article 11.


The depository shall provide the States Parties with authenticated copies of each doucment.


Once the Agreement enters into force, it shall be registered with the General Secretariat of the United Nations Organization.

Article 18

Reservations and declarations

The Agreement shall not be the object of reservations. However, at the moment when any concerned State signs, ratifies or accedes to the Agreement, that State may formulate interpretative declarations, provided that such declarations do not have as their aim the nullification or modification of the legal effects of the Agreement’s provisions in their application to that State.

Article 19

Entry into force


This Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following the date on which the four coastal States of the Southeast Pacific have deposited their instruments of ratification.


For each of the other interested States that ratify or accede to the Agreement, it shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following the date on which the instrument or accession is deposited.

Article 20

Amendments and revision


After one year has passed, counting from the date of the Agreement’s entry into force, any State Party may propose amendments, through written communication to the institutional mechanism established in conformity with Article 11, or in its absence, to the General Secretariat.


Amendment proposals shall then be distributed to each of the States Parties, so they can be examined at a review conference for their decision.


Such proposals shall be required to receive the endorsement of at least a majority of the States Parties, including a majority of the coastal States, in order to proceed to convene the review conference.


The provisions set forth in Article 12 shall apply to the adoption of proposed amendments.


Approved amendments dealing with substantive issues shall be subject to ratification, and they shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following the date on which a majority of the States Parties have deposited their instruments of ratification. Other amendments shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following the date of their approval.

Article 21



Any State Party may withdraw from the Agreement, by means of written notification addressed to the depository, after one year following its entry into force for the said State.


Withdrawal shall take effect one year after the date on which notification is received, unless a later date has been specified.


Withdrawal shall not release any State from financial or contractual obligations taken on while that State was a party to the Agreement, nor shall it affect any rights, obligations or legal situation of that State arising through the Agreement’s execution before the State’s withdrawal from it.

Article 22

Final provisions of complementary instruments

Complementary instruments, as appropriate, must contain final provisions that are similar, mutatis mutandi, to those established in this Agreement.

Article 23

Authentic texts


The original text of this Agreement, prepared in Spanish, and its translation into English are equally authentic.


In witness whereof, the duly authorized plenipotentiaries of the coastal States subscribe to the present Agreement, at Santiago, Chile, on the fourteenth day of the month of August of the year 2000.