056- Fisheries Jurisdiction Case (Germany vs Iceland)
On June 5th, 1972, respectively, the Federal Republic of Germany filed an application instituting proceedings against Iceland before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning a dispute over the proposed extension by Iceland, as from September 1st, 1972, of the limits of its exclusive fisheries jurisdiction from a distance of 12 to a distance of 50 nautical miles.
Iceland challenged the jurisdiction of the Court and declined to attend the proceedings and produce documents. Germany, for its part, had accompanied its initial application with a request for the indication of provisional measures so that Iceland would not apply the new Regulation extending its exclusive fishing rights in respect of German vessels and that those vessels would limit their annual catches of fish in the disputed area to a certain ceiling. The Court granted this request in its Order of August 17th, 1972, which was confirmed by the Order of July 12th, 1973.
The ICJ addressed the question of its jurisdiction raised by Iceland in its judgment of February 2nd, 1973 and decided that it could hear this case.
It subsequently ruled on the merits of the case in its judgment of July 25th, 1974 and held that:
- The Icelandic regulation unilaterally extending Iceland’s exclusive fishing rights up to 50 nautical miles was not enforceable against Germany.
- Moreover, Iceland was not entitled to unilaterally exclude German fishing vessels from the disputed area.
- Finally, the Parties had a mutual obligation to enter into negotiations in good faith to reach a fair solution to their differences.
This summary is provided for informational purposes only, does not involve the responsibility of Dome and should in no way be used as a substitute for a careful reading of the judgment and order of the case.