Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Glen James Herbert, 1993

Fisheries Violations Across an Arbitrated Maritime Boundary: The Gulf of Maine Boundary Case


Maritime boundaries that are mutually agreed upon are often accompanied by reciprocal access agreements for fisheries. In the case of arbitrated boundaries, reciprocal access may not be a feature of the post-arbitration conditions and fisheries violations of the boundary may result. This has been the case in the Gulf of Maine (United States/Canada) since the boundary, known as the Hague Line, was settled in 1984 by the International Court of Justice.

American fishing violations of the Hague Line are studied during a five year period, 1988-1992. These particular years have been chosen because they contain the most accurate and comprehensive computerized records available from the Canadian Department of Fisheries and oceans Surveillance Operations Unit. Locational plots of the violations are analyzed in terms of the fishery type of violation, by quadrat analysis, and by locational quotient analysis. Temporal changes in the violation patterns during the study period are also analyzed.

Study results show that Hague Line violations are dominated by those involving the Georges Bank scallop resources and that these violations exhibit more positive autocorrelation patterns than non-scallop violations in the study (e.g. groundfish). The results also show that the frequency of all types of violations declines sharply with distance of penetration inside the Canadian exclusive fishing zone.