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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 3, 2006

Memorandum for the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Commerce

SUBJECT: Promoting Sustainable Fisheries and Ending Destructive Fishing Practices

It shall be the policy of the United States, in advancing the interests of the American people, to support the maintenance and use of sustainable fisheries (1) as a source of nutritious food for the United States and the rest of the world, and (2) to meet the needs of commercial and recreational fishing. To implement the policy set forth above, the Secretary of State, after consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, shall:

(1) work with other countries and international organizations to eliminate fishing practices that (a) jeopardize fish stocks or the habitats that support them, or (b) provide a commercial advantage to those who engage in such practices that is unfair in comparison with their competitors;

(2) work within Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs), and through other cooperative arrangements, to establish rules based on sound science to enhance sustainable fishing practices and to phase out destructive fishing practices;

(3) work with other countries to establish new RFMOs, or other cooperative institutional arrangements, to protect ecosystems in high seas areas where no competent RFMO or other arrangement exists, including calling on all nations to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems by prohibiting their vessels from engaging in destructive fishing practices in areas of the high seas where there are no applicable conservation or management measures or in areas with no applicable international fishery management organization or agreement, until such time as conser vation and management measures consistent with the goals of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Public Law 94-265, as amended), the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, and other relevant instruments are adopted and implemented to regulate such vessels and fisheries;

(4) work with other countries to develop and promulgate criteria to guide the determination of which marine ecosystems are or are not at risk of damage or loss because of destructive fishing practices; and

(5) work with other countries to combat through enhanced monitoring and surveillance, including through the use of Vessel Monitoring Systems and other technologies, fishing that is unlawful, unregulated, and unreported.

Further, to implement the policy set forth above, the Secretary of State, after consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, shall carry out diplomatic activities for the purposes of (a) ending destructive fishing practices, and (b) promoting rules based on sound science to support sustainable fisheries and to end destructive fishing practices.

As used in this memorandum, the term "destructive fishing practices" are practices that destroy the long-term natural productivity of fish stocks or habitats such as seamounts, corals, and sponge fields for short term gain.

This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations. It is intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch and is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, entities, officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.


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