A Geographical, Historical and Legal Perspective on the Right to Fishery in Norwegian Tidal Waters
Hugo Grotius proclaimed freedom of the seas in 1609, and this natural law principle was interpreted to include freedom of tidal fishing. His act represented a far more political than juridical claim. Exclusive fishery rights can be documented all around the North Sea basin, and even in Roman law theory in the High and Late Middle Ages were such rights given protection. In Norway in 1728 an effort to free tidal fishery to anyone by law was ignored in the main, and the centuriesold custom of exclusive rights to tidal fishing prevailed. Although after 1857 exclusive tidal fishery rights have been gradually abandoned in Norway, they were protected by the Norwegian Supreme Court in 1894 and as late as 1985, and again recently with the Norwegian Official Report 2008: 5, where a claim was made to protect tidal fishery rights by law in the county of Finnmark.
Keywords: Mare liberum, tidal fishery, tidal fishery rights, customary law, law and economics
Citation: Arctic Review on Law and Politics, vol. 1, 1/2010 p. 108–130. ISSN 1891-6252
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Mare liberum, tidal fishery, tidal fishery rights, customary law, law and economics
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