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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 11, 2003
Message to the Senate of the United States
TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES:
With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith Amendments to the 1987 Treaty on Fisheries Between the Governments of Certain Pacific Island States and the Government of the United States of America, with Annexes and agreed statements, done at Port Moresby, April 2, 1987 (the "Treaty"), done at Koror, Palau, March 30, 1999, and at Kiritimati, Kiribati, March 24, 2002. I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Secretary of State with respect to these Amendments, related Amendments to the Treaty Annexes, and the Memorandum of Understanding regarding provisional application.
The United States enjoys positive and constructive fisheries relations with the Pacific Island Parties through the implementation and operation of the Treaty, which is one of the cornerstones of our overall foreign relations with the Pacific Island Parties. This Treaty, and the good relationships it has fostered, has provided new opportunities for collaboration between the Pacific Island Parties and the United States on fisheries conservation and management issues. The relationships established as a result of the Treaty have also helped to safeguard U.S. commercial and security interests in the region.
The Amendments to the Treaty will, among other things, allow U.S. longline vessels to fish in high seas portions of the Treaty Area; streamline the way amendments to the Treaty Annexes are agreed; and allow the Parties to consider the issue of capacity in the Treaty Area and, where appropriate, to promote consistency between the Treaty and the relevant fisheries management convention, which is likely to come into force during the duration of the extended operation of the Treaty.
Existing legislation, including the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. and the South Pacific Tuna Act of 1988, Public Law 100-330, provides sufficient legal authority to implement U.S. obligations under the Treaty. Therefore, no new legislation is necessary in order for the United States to ratify these Amendments. However, minor amendments to section 6 of the South Pacific Tuna Act of 1988, Public Law 100-330 will be necessary to take account of the Amendment to paragraph 2 of Article 3 "Access to the Treaty Area," which opens the high seas of the Treaty Area to fishing by U.S. longline vessels.
I recommend that the Senate give favorable consideration to these Amendments and give its advice and consent to their ratification at an early date.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE, February 11, 2003.
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