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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release August 7, 1996


Today, President Clinton ratified a landmark fisheries conservation agreement, concluded last year after three years of negotiations with strong U.S. leadership. By this action, the United States becomes one of the first nations to ratify the accord, formally titled 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. The Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification on June 27, 1996.

The Agreement offers the United States and global community a means for better managing and conserving highly migratory fish stocks, such as tuna and swordfish, and straddling fish stocks, such as cod and pollock. The accord will help avoid declines in healthy stocks of such fish and enable overexploited stocks to rebuild.

The Agreement builds upon and strengthens the fishery provision of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; contains strong new provisions on conservation, enforcement, data collection and data sharing; and enhances the ability of regional fisheries organizations and arrangements to carry out their responsibilities. Its balanced approach toward the interest of coastal States and States whose fishing vessels operate on the high seas demonstrates that the international community can tackle difficult global enforcement measures, when it has the will to do so.

The United States stands to benefit significantly from this Agreement. The Agreement will help to ensure that foreign fishing vessels operating on the high seas do not undermine the conservation measures adopted within our 200-mile exclusive economic zone. In addition, the Agreement can help restore and maintain ocean fisheries for the benefit of U.S. consumers and fishing vessels. No new legislation is required to implement the Agreement in the United States.

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