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                   Office of the Press Secretary
                    (Seoul, Republic of Korea)
For Immediate Release                                  November 21, 1998




As a coastal Nation, America has a proud fishing heritage, and we have long benefited from the bounty of the oceans. Generations of our people have made their living from the sea, fishing for cod off the rocky coast of New England, shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico, or Pacific salmon along the West Coast and Alaska. In this Year of the Ocean, it is fitting that we set aside a special day to celebrate one of our Nation's oldest industries and the source of so much of our sustenance.

World Fisheries Day is not only an occasion for celebration, it is also a time to raise awareness of the plight of so many of the world's fish resources. A recent United Nations study reported that more than two-thirds of the world's fisheries have been overfished or are fully harvested and more than one third are in a state of decline because of factors like the loss of essential fish habitats, pollution, and global warming.

My Administration is committed to restoring our marine resources and preserving their diversity through careful stewardship. At the National Oceans Conference in June of this year, I announced our goal of creating sustainable fisheries and rebuilding fish stocks by working with industry to improve fishing practices and technologies that catch only targeted species, devoting additional resources to fisheries research, and protecting essential fish habitats. We have also launched the Clean Water Action Plan that, among other things, reduces the runoff from farms and city streets that flow into our streams, rivers, and oceans.

While these efforts are important, the United States acting alone cannot preserve the health of the world's oceans and their marine life. It will take concerted international action -- both at the government level and from fish harvesters, workers, and consumers themselves -- and a commitment to scientifically based fishing limits to rebuild the world's fisheries and ensure that future generations will benefit from their abundance.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Saturday, November 21, 1998, as World Fisheries Day. I call upon Government officials, fishing industry professionals, scientists, environmental experts, and the people of the United States to observe this day and to recognize the importance of conserving the world's fisheries, sustaining the health of the oceans, and protecting their precious and abundant variety of marine life.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-third.