[Coral-List] Mauritius challenges legality of Chagos MPA

GJ GJ at fishion.eu
Wed Dec 22 03:40:58 EST 2010

Dear Richard,

Many thanks for this document so fast!

You filled a gap in my historical knowledge. It is very different from what I thought. The issue stems from the colonial past.

Main part in the doc: 
2. The dispute over the 'MPA' arises against the background of longstanding differences
between Mauritius and the United Kingdom. The Chagos Archipelago comprises a
number of islands located in the Indian Ocean, including Diego Garcia. Until 1965, the
United Kingdom accepted the Chagos Archipelago as part of the Territory of Mauritius,
over which it exercised colonial authority. That year, it dismembered Mauritius by
purporting to establish a so-called "British Indian Ocean Territory", a new colonial
territory consisting of the Chagos Islands, which it excised from Mauritius, and the
separate islands of Aldabra, Farquhar and Desroches, taken from the colonial territory of
Seychelles.2 By 1973, the United Kingdom had forcibly removed the entire indigenous
population of the Chagos Archipelago, comprising a community of approximately 2000
persons calling themselves Ilois or Chagossians, whilst recognizing respect for traditional
fishing rights in the waters of the Chagos Archipelago.
3. In 1968, Mauritius achieved independence from the United Kingdom. Article 111 of the
Constitution of Mauritius states that "Mauritius includes...the Chagos Islands, including
Diego Garcia". By its 1977 Maritime Zones Act, Mauritius declared a 12-mile territorial
sea, a 200-mile EEZ and a continental shelf to the outer edge of the continental margin
around all of its territory, including the Chagos Islands.

Mauritius and the UK are both saying the Chagos are theirs. Mauritius claims fishing rights based on the past. 
That will be quite a legal battle, I guess. Difficult to say which way this will go. 
It will depend on the UK if the MPA is actually established despite this dispute or that it will be years before any MPA sees the light of day.

Best wishes, GJ

Gert Jan Gast
Koningin Wilhelminakade 227, 1975GL IJmuiden, the Netherlands
Ph +316 5424 0126, Fax +31255 521546, Skype gjgast

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Dunne [mailto:RichardPDunne at aol.com] 
Sent: 22 December 2010 07:36
To: GJ
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Mauritius challenges legality of Chagos MPA

I attach Mauritius' submission for you.

Richard P Dunne

West Briscoe, Baldersdale, Barnard Castle, Co Durham, DL12 9UP. UK Tel +44 (0)1833 650059

On 21/12/2010 19:16, GJ wrote:
> Interesting.
>  From Law of the Sea:
> Article 56
> Rights, jurisdiction and duties of the coastal State in the exclusive 
> economic zone 1. In the exclusive economic zone, the coastal State 
> has:
> (a) sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, 
> conserving and managing the natural resources, whether living or 
> non-living, of the waters superjacent to the seabed and of the seabed 
> and its subsoil, and with regard to other activities for the economic 
> exploitation and exploration of the zone, such as the production of 
> energy from the water, currents and winds;
> (b) jurisdiction as provided for in the relevant provisions of this 
> Convention with regard to:
> (i) the establishment and use of artificial islands, installations and 
> structures;
> 44
> (ii) marine scientific research;
> (iii) the protection and preservation of the marine environment;
> (c) other rights and duties provided for in this Convention.
> 2. In exercising its rights and performing its duties under this 
> Convention in the exclusive economic zone, the coastal State shall 
> have due regard to the rights and duties of other States and shall act 
> in a manner compatible with the provisions of this Convention.
> Chagos can decide on their own what and how they want to exploit or conserve in their 200 nm zone. As Chagos and Mauritius EEZ don't overlap, it would be interesting what sort of rights they think they have to the resources in the Chagos EEZ.
> They can hardly object to a MPA on principle. That would mean that all MPA's around the world would be against UNCLOS.
> It would be interesting to learn how they build their case, I you happen to find out.
> At moment I find it hard to believe Mauritius will have any success.
> Best wishes, GJ
> --
> Gert Jan Gast
> Koningin Wilhelminakade 227, 1975GL IJmuiden, the Netherlands Ph +316 
> 5424 0126, Fax +31255 521546, Skype gjgast
> -----Original Message-----
> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov 
> [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Richard 
> Dunne
> Sent: 21 December 2010 12:39
> To: Coral List
> Subject: [Coral-List] Mauritius challenges legality of Chagos MPA
> Chagos Marine Protected Area - Mauritius takes UK to UN Law of Sea 
> Tribunal
> At a press conference in Mauritius yesterday, the Prime Minister 
> Ramgoolam announced that Mauritius has informed the UK Foreign 
> Secretary, William Hague, that it has begun proceedings before the 
> International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Mauritius is seeking a 
> legally binding declaration on the Chagos Marine Protected Area, which 
> it believes is incompatible with the UN Convention on the Law of the 
> Sea (UNCLOS).

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