FNI director Geir Hønneland earlier this week took part in an expert seminar in Beijing where procedures for peaceful encounters at sea in the South China Sea were discussed
This ocean area is subject to severe jurisdictional disputes among the coastal states surrounding it, and there have been several unfortunate incidents between fishing vessels and coast guards in recent years. The situation is perceived to be particularly deadlocked after the International Court of Arbitration recently ruled in favour of the Philippines, a verdict China seems to not accept.
Hønneland was particularly invited to share experiences from the Barents Sea, where Norway and Russia have found mutual trust and room for compromise, both in meeting rooms and on the fishing fields, through nearly half a century of joint fisheries management.
- I'm careful not to tell others how they should do things, says Hønneland, - but I was surprised at how well my message was received and how it resonates with the compromise culture that has traditionally existed among countries in this part of the world. We're not trying to solve the jurisdictional dispute. It's more a matter of agreeing on measures to avoid conflict at the fishing fields in the interim period.
- Sharing of best practices from different parts of the world is valuable in this respect, and I'm happy to see that FNI expertise is in demand, Hønneland adds.