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National Archives

Public Papers - 1991 - May

Message to the Senate Transmitting the Convention for the Prohibition of Fishing With Long Driftnets in the South Pacific


To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, the Convention for the Prohibition of Fishing with Long Driftnets in the South Pacific, done at Wellington on November 24, 1989 (the ``Wellington Convention''), and Protocol I, done at Noumea on October 20, 1990, to the Wellington Convention.

The Wellington Convention was negotiated by the South Pacific states and is designed to prohibit driftnet fishing in the South Pacific Ocean. The Convention prohibits the use of driftnets or the transshipment of driftnet catches in waters under the fisheries jurisdiction of the parties within the Convention area, and by vessels and nationals of the parties anywhere within the Convention area. For the United States, these obligations will apply to the United States Exclusive Economic Zone around American Samoa and certain unincorporated U.S. islands and to U.S. nationals and vessels documented under U.S. laws fishing within the Convention area.

Protocol I to the Wellington Convention was adopted by the South Pacific states as the instrument by which distant water fishing nations, whose nationals and vessels fish in the Convention area, agree to prohibit their nationals and vessels from fishing with driftnets in that area.

Public Law 101 - 627 amends the Magnuson Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (MFCMA) to, among other things, prohibit driftnet fishing in waters subject to U.S. fisheries jurisdiction, and by U.S. vessels and nationals anywhere. As a result, no additional legislation will be required for the United States to implement the Convention.

Ratification of the Wellington Convention and Protocol I is consistent with U.S. policy on driftnet fishing. Section 107 of Public Law 101 - 627 provides that it is the policy of the Congress that the United States should support the Wellington Convention and secure a permanent ban on the use of large-scale driftnets on the high seas of the world. Early ratification by the United States will demonstrate U.S. commitment to this policy and encourage similar action by other nations whose participation in the Convention and Protocol I is important.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Wellington Convention and Protocol I and give its advice and consent to ratification, subject to the understandings described in the accompanying report of the Secretary of State.

George Bush

The White House,

May 21, 1991.

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