Message to the Senate Transmitting the Eastern Pacific Ocean Tuna Fishing Agreement

May 11, 1983

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, the Eastern Pacific Ocean Tuna Fishing Agreement which has been signed by the United States, Costa Rica and Panama. It will enter into force following ratification by five coastal states of the region. Also transmitted for the information of the Senate is the report of the Department of State with respect to the Treaty.

The United States has been involved in a fisheries dispute with several Latin American countries as a result of conflicting laws regarding jurisdiction over highly migratory tuna and has, in the past, prohibited imports of tuna from several countries as a result of seizures of U.S. tuna boats. These countries claim jurisdiction over all fish, including tuna, within 200 nautical miles. The United States does not recognize, or claim, jurisdiction over tuna beyond 12 nautical miles. United States policy, pursuant to the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, has been to negotiate international agreements to ensure the effective conservation and management of tuna and to secure access for U.S. fishermen to the stocks wherever they migrate beyond a narrow belt of coastal waters.

This Agreement, which is interim in nature pending the negotiation of a comprehensive tuna conservation and management regime, provides for the issuance of international licenses for fishing tuna in a broad area of the eastern Pacific Ocean. Provision is also made for conservation under specified circumstances. It thus furthers U.S. fisheries policy goals while reducing tensions that have arisen as a result of conflicting juridical claims.

I recommend that the Senate give early consideration to the Treaty and give its advice and consent to ratification.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

May 11, 1983.