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Diplomacy in Action

105. Submission, United States, to the UN Secretary General, regarding implementation of Resolution 46/215 (driftnet fishing) (June 1995)


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SUBJECT: LARGE-SCALE HIGH SEAS DRIFTNET FISHING -- 1995 U.S. REPORT TO THE UNITED NATIONS
REF: (A) 94 STATE 188463

1.ACTION REQUEST FOR USUN - SEE PARA 5.

2. AS POSTS WILL RECALL, THE U.S. WAS A PRINCIPAL COSPONSOR OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION REGARDING LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING ON THE HIGH SEAS -- 44/225 (1989), 45/197 (1990), AND 46/215 (19911, AND DECISIONS 47/443 (19921, 48/445 (1993), AND 49/436 (1994).

3. AMONG OTHER THINGS, RESOLUTION 46/215 CALLS FOR ALL MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO IMPLEMENT THE RESOLUTIONS BY, INTER ALIA, ENSURING THAT A GLOBAL MORATORIUM ON ALL LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING ON THE HIGH SEAS BE FULLY IMPLEMENTED BY DECEMBER 31, 1992. THE RESOLUTION ALSO REQUESTED THAT ALL MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS, NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS, AND WELL ESTABLISHED SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTIONS WITH EXPERTISE IN RELATION TO LIVING MARINE RESOURCES SUBMIT TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL INFORMATION CONCERNING ACTIVITIES OR CONDUCT INCONSISTENT WITH THE TERMS OF THE RESOLUTIONS. THE SUBSEQUENT GENERAL ASSEMBLY DECISIONS REITERATED THE RESOLUTIONS.

4.AMONG OTHER THINGS, DECISION 49/436 CALLED UPON INFORMATION RELEVANT TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF RESOLUTION 46/215 TO BE PROVIDED TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL, AND REQUESTED THE SECRETARY-GENERAL TO REPORT TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT ITS 50TH SESSION.

5. WE HAVE PREPARED A REPORT ENTITLED "LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING AND ITS IMPACT ON THE LIVING MARINE RESOURCES OF THE WORLD'S OCEANS AND SEAS" FOR SUBMISSION TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR INCORPORATION INTO HIS REPORT TO THE 50TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION.

ACTION REQUEST FOR USUN: DEPARTMENT WILL PROVIDE MISSION WITH AN ORIGINAL OF THE U.S. REPORT (ATTN USUN - ECOSOC - BISA WILLAINS). UPON RECEIPT, MISSION SHOULD SUBMIT IF TO THE SECTRETARY-GENERAL'S OFFICE UNDER COVER OF A LETTER SUGNED BY THE PERMREP'S DESIGNEE (DRAFT TEXT FOLLOWS: QUOTE IN VIEW OF THE IMPORTANCE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ATTACHES TO THE ISSUE OF LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING AND ITS IMPACT ON THE LIVING MARINE RESOURCES OF THE WORLD'S OCEANS AND SEAS, AND RECALLING GENERAL ASSEMBLY DECISION 49/436 (1994) AND RESOLUTION 46/215 (1991), I AM PLEASED TO SUBMIT TO YOU THE ENCLOSED REPORT OF THE UNITED STATES REGARDING IMPLEMENTATION OF RESOLUTION 46/215. UNQUOTE). MISSION SHOULD ALSO SEND A COPY OF THE COVER LETTER AND REPORT TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION FOR OCEANS AFFAIRS AND THE LAW OF THE SEA, UN OFFICE OF LEGAL AFFAIRS.

7. TEXT OF U.S. SUBMISSION TO THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL ON LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING AND ITS IMPACT ON THE LIVING MARINE RESOURCES OF THE WORLD'S OCEANS AND SEAS FOLLOWS:


BEGIN TEXT:
LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING
AND ITS IMPACT ON THE LIVING MARINE RESOURCES
OF THE WORLD'S OCEANS AND SEAS

SUBMISSION OF THE UNITED STATES
TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
JUNE 1995

THE UNITED STATES WELCOMES THE OPPORTUNITY TO SUBMIT TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ITS VIEWS CONCERNING


LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING AND ITS IMPACT ON THE LIVING MARINE RESOURCES OF THE WORLD'S OCEANS AND SEAS. IN PARTICULAR, THE UNITED STATES IS PLEASED TO COMMENT ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A GLOBAL MORATORIUM ON ALL LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING ON THE HIGH SEAS OF THE WORLD'S OCEANS AND SEAS, INCLUDING ENCLOSED SEAS AND SEMI-ENCLOSED SEAS. THE UNITED STATES WOULD BE GRATEFUL THAT THESE VIEWS BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT IN THE PREPARATION OF THE REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL TO THE FIFTIETH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF ITS RESOLUTION 46/215 OF 20 DECEMBER .1991.

AS A PRINCIPAL CO-SPONSOR OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 46/215, AS WELL AS RESOLUTIONS 44/225 (19891 AND 45/197 (19901, AND SUPPORTER OF DECISIONS 47/443 (19921, 48/445 119931, AND 49/436 (19941, THE UNITED STATES TAKES A PARTICULAR INTEREST IN THE EFFECTIVE AND FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF A GLOBAL MORATORIUM ON ALL

LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING ON THE HIGH SEAS IN LIGHT OF THE ADVERSE IMPACTS SUCH FISHING HAS UPON THE WORLD'S LIVING MARINE RESOURCES.

THE UNITED STATES FIRMLY BELIEVES THAT THE BEST AVAILABLE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE DEMONSTRATES THE WASTEFULNESS AND POTENTIAL ECOSYSTEM-SCALE NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING ON THE HIGH SEAS. THE UNITED STATES BELIEVES IT WAS APPROPRIATE THAT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, IN RECOGNITION OF THE UNACCEPTABLE IMPACTS OF LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING ON THE HIGH SEAS, AND BY ITS RESOLUTION 46/215) CALLED UPON ALL MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO ENSURE THAT A GLOBAL MORATORIUM ON ALL LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING ON THE HIGH SEAS BE FULLY IMPLEMENTED BY 31 DECEMBER 1992.

THE UNITED STATES ATTACHES GREAT IMPORTANCE TO COMPLIANCE WITH RESOLUTION 46/215, AND HAS TAKEN MEASURES INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY TO PREVENT LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING ON THE HIGH SEAS, AND HAS CALLED UPON ALL MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO IMPLEMENT AND COMPLY WITH THE RESOLUTION. THE UNITED STATES HAS URGED ALL MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS, NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS, AND SCIENTIFIC
INSTITUTIONS WITH EXPERTISE IN RELATION TO LIVING MARINE RESOURCES TO REPORT TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ANY ACTIVITY OR CONDUCT INCONSISTENT WITH THE TERMS OF RESOLUTION 46/215.

SINCE 19901 IT HAS BEEN UNLAWFUL FOR ANY UNITED STATES NATIONAL OR FISHING VESSEL TO ENGAGE IN
LARGE-SCALE DRIFTNET FISHING IN ANY AREA UNDER THE FISHERIES JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES OR BEYOND THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OF ANY NATION.

THE "DRIFTNET ACT AMENDMENTS OF 1990," AND MORE RECENTLY THE "HIGH SEAS DRIFTNET FISHERIES ENFORCEMENT ACT," ENACTED IN NOVEMBER 1992, MADE IT THE STATED POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES TO, AMONG OTHER THINGS, IMPLEMENT RESOLUTION 46/215, AND SECURE A PERMANENT BAN ON THE USE OF DESTRUCTIVE FISHING PRACTICES, IN PARTICULAR LARGE-SCALE DRIFTNETS, BY PERSONS OR VESSELS FISHING BEYOND THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OF ANY NATION. ADDITIONALLY, THE ACT PROVIDES FOR THE DENIAL OF PORT PRIVILEGES FOR ANY LARGE-SCALE DRIFTNET FISHING VESSEL AND SANCTIONS FOR ANY NATION WHOSE NATIONALS OR VESSELS CONDUCT LARGE-SCALE DRIFTNET FISHING BEYOND THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OF ANY NATION, INCLUDING A PROHIBITION ON THE IMPORTATION INTO THE UNITED STATES OF FISH AND FISH PRODUCTS AND SPORT FISHING EQUIPMENT.

ON MARCH 8, 1993, THE UNITED STATES ANNOUNCED PLANS TO PROMOTE OBSERVANCE OF THE GLOBAL MORATORIUM ON LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING ON THE HIGH SEAS, INCLUDING STEPS THE UNITED STATES INTENDS TO TAKE IN THE EVENT U.S. ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES HAVE REASONABLE GROUNDS TO BELIEVE THAT ANY FOREIGN FLAG VESSEL ENCOUNTERED ON THE HIGH SEAS IS CONDUCTING, OR HAS CONDUCTED, LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING OPERATIONS INCONSISTENT WITH RESOLUTION 46/215. ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS WILL FOLLOW ESTABLISHED PROCEDURES FOR DETERMINING FLAG-STATE IDENTITY OR REGISTRATION, AND WILL TAKE LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE FLAG-STATE AND CONSISTENT WITH THE 1982 UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA. UNDER CUSTOMARY INTERNATIONAL LAW AND UNITED STATES LAW, A VESSEL CONSIDERED STATELESS AND FOUND TO BE CONDUCTING LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING OPERATIONS ON THE HIGH SEAS WOULD BE SUBJECT TO PENALTY IN THE UNITED STATES.

SINCE SUBMISSION OF ITS REPORT TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL IN JULY 1994, THE UNITED STATES HAS TAKEN A NUMBER OF STEPS TO IMPLEMENT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY'S RESOLUTIONS AND DECISIONS ON LARGE-SCALE PELAGIC DRIFTNET FISHING ON THE HIGH SEAS.

TO MONITOR COMPLIANCE WITH THE DRIFTNET MORATORIUM IN 1994, THE U.S. COAST GUARD AND THE U.S. NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE CONTINUED TQ CARRY OUT ENFORCEMENT AND SURVEILLANCE ACTIVITIES IN THE NORTH PACIFIC IN AREAS OF FORMER LARGE-SCALE DRIFTNET FISHING. U.S. COAST GUARD CUTTERS LOGGED 146 VESSEL DAYS AT SEA AND COAST GUARD AIRCRAFT FLEW 223 HOURS IN THE 1994 DRIFTNET MONITORING PROGRAM. NO LARGE-SCALE HIGH SEAS DRIFTNET ACTIVITY WAS SIGHTED BY U.S. ENFORCEMENT PATROLS IN 1994.

ALL U.S. COAST GUARD OPERATIONS WERE COORDINATED WITH ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS OF JAPAN, CANADA, AND RUSSIA. IN ADDITION, DIRECT LINES OF COMMUNICATION HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED BETWEEN THE COAST GUARD AND THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION BORDER GUARD TO FACILITATE SHARING OF INFORMATION.

IN DECEMBER, 19941 THE UNITED STATES AND THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA EXTENDED FOR TWO YEARS A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING DESIGNED TO ENSURE EFFECTIVE COOPERATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF RESOLUTION 46/215. UNDER THE TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT, ORIGINALLY SIGNED ON DECEMBER 3, 1993, ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS OF EITHER COUNTRY MAY BOARD AND INSPECT VESSELS FLYING THE U.S. OR PRC FLAG IN THE NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN FOUND USING OR EQUIPPED TO USE LARGE-SCALE HIGH SEAS PELAGIC DRIFTNETS INCONSISTENT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF RESOLUTION 46/215.

THE AGREEMENT ALSO PROVIDES FOR ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS OF EITHER COUNTRY TO RIDE ON BOARD HIGH SEAS DRIFTNET FISHERY ENFORCEMENT VESSELS OF THE OTHER COUNTRY. THE U.S. COAST GUARD WILL CARRY PRC SHIPRIDERS ON TWO HIGH SEAS FISHERY ENFORCEMENT PATROLS THIS YEAR IN AREAS OF FORMER LARGE-SCALE HIGH SEAS DRIFTNET FISHING ACTIVITY. DURING ONE OF THESE PATROLS, THE U.S. COAST GUARD AND THE RUSSIAN FEDERAL BORDER SERVICE WILL CONDUCT A COORDINATED HIGH SEAS DRIFTNET FISHING SURVEILLANCE


THE U.S. COAST GUARD'S HIGH-SEAS ENFORCEMENT PLAN FOR 1995 WILL INCLUDE OVER 110 DAYS OF CUTTER PATROLS, AND AN ESTIMATED 215 HOURS OF AIRBORNE SURVEILLANCE FROM U.S. COAST GUARD AIR PATROLS BASED IN ALASKA AND HAWAII. THESE FLIGHTS WILL BE COORDINATED WITH SIMILAR
ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS BY CANADA TO PROVIDE MAXIMUM PATROL-AREA COVERAGE.

IN TWO EUROPEAN FISHERIES, QUESTIONS HAVE BEEN RAISED REGARDING THE USE OF LARGE-SCALE DRIFTNETS ON THE HIGH SEAS, ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS CHARGED LAST YEAR THAT FISHERMEN OF SEVERAL EUROPEAN UNION (EU) MEMBER NATIONS CONTINUED TO CONDUCT LARGE-SCALE, HIGH SEAS DRIFTNET FISHING.

THE COUNTRIES CONCERNED HAVE BEEN CONDUCTING DILIGENT ENFORCEMENT IN THE FISHERY, AND THE UNITED STATES EXPECTS THAT THESE EFFORTS, IN ADDITION TO THE FRAMEWORK ESTABLISHED BY INTERNATIONAL LAW, EU REGULATIONS, AND EU MEMBER STATE REGULATIONS, ARE SUFFICIENT TO ENSURE FULL COMPLIANCE WITH RESOLUTION 46/215.

UNDER A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENTS OF TRANSPORTATION, COMMERCE, AND DEFENSE, SIGNED OCTOBER 11, 1993) THE UNITED STATES IS UTILIZING THE SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR LOCATING AND IDENTIFYING VESSELS VIOLATING RESOLUTION 46/215. FORMAL PROCEDURES FOR COMMUNICATING VESSEL LOCATIONS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD, AS WELL AS CONCERNED GOVERNMENTS, HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED.

THE UNITED STATES CONTINUES TO ATTACH EXTREME IMPORTANCE TO COMPLIANCE WITH RESOLUTION 46/215 AND ENCOURAGES ALL MEMBERS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO

TAKE MEASURES TO PROHIBIT THEIR NATIONALS AND VESSELS FROM UNDERTAKING ANY ACTIVITY CONTRARY TO THE TERMS OF RESOLUTION 46/215, AND TO IMPOSE APPROPRIATE PENALTIES AGAINST ANY THAT MAY UNDERTAKE SUCH ACTIVITIES.


CHRISTOPHER



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