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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 20, 1996


With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, with Annexes ("the Agreement"), which was adopted at United Nations Headquarters in New York by consensus of the United Nations Conference on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks on August 4, 1995, and signed by the United States on December 4, 1995. I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Secretary of State with respect to the Agreement.

The Agreement represents a considerable achievement for the United States in promoting better stewardship of living marine resources. It strikes a sound balance between the interests of coastal States in protecting offshore fishery resources and those of States whose fishing vessels operate on the high seas. If widely ratified and properly implemented, the Agreement should significantly improve the prospects for sustainable fisheries worldwide.

The Agreement builds directly upon, and strengthens, the fishery provisions contained in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ("the Convention"), which I transmitted to the Senate for advice and consent on October 6, 1994. As such, the Agreement further reflects the central role of the Convention in governing the maritime relations of the international community.

Perhaps more than any other nation, the United States stands to benefit from widespread adherence to this Agreement. The Agreement will help to ensure that the harvesting of fish by vessels of other nations in waters beyond our exclusive economic zone does not undermine our domestic management of fisheries within U.S. jurisdiction. In addition, by promoting sound conservation practices generally, the Agreement can restore and maintain productive ocean fisheries for the benefit of American consumers and for U.S. fishing vessels wherever they operate.

With regard to disputes concerning the interpretation or application of the Agreement, I intend to choose a special arbitral tribunal constituted in accordance with Annex VIII of the Convention, as recommended in the accompanying report of the Department of State.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Agreement and give its advice and consent to its ratification.


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