UNCLOS greatly improves international protections for marine biodiversity
The treaty champions the rights of the American people in the conservation of their offshore living marine resources, particularly fish. Ninety percent of the living marine resources are harvested within 200 miles of the coast. The convention confirms the validity of the United States Exclusive Economic Zone, proclaimed by President Reagan in 1983. The treaty's provisions relating to the conservation and management of living marine resources are consistent with U.S. law, policy, and practice. Its provisions on the conservation of high seas fishery resources are more critical today than they were a few years ago because of the dramatic overfishing that has occurred worldwide just in the past decade. The dispute settlement provisions of the convention as they relate to high seas fisheries will help us ensure that overfishing does not occur on the high seas adjacent to our 200-mile zone in a manner detrimental to the interests of our fishing industry.
The convention champions the rights of the American people to protect the marine mammals that inhabit the vast ocean space. Americans care about whales and giant sea turtles and other important sea creatures. Poll after poll confirms this interest, and the treaty sets up the mechanisms whereby the United States can work to respond to these uniquely international issues.
U.S. ratification of UNCLOS will have a positive effect on the environment as the conservation of ocean wildlife, the protection of delicate marine ecosystems, and the control of marine pollution are by their very nature multilateral issues. U.S. ratification will demonstrate U.S. commitment to address these problems in a cooperative manner at a time when some view U.S. policy as generally antithetical to multilateral arrangements. The environmental community strongly favors UNCLOS and U.S. ratification would send a message of support