Agreement with Canada on Pacific Hake/WhitingSenate Consideration of Treaty Document 108-24
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[Senate Treaty Document 108-24] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] 108th Congress Treaty Doc. SENATE 2d Session 108-24 _______________________________________________________________________ AGREEMENT WITH CANADA ON PACIFIC HAKE/WHITING __________ MESSAGE from THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES transmitting AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA ON PACIFIC HAKE/WHITING (THE ``AGREEMENT''), DONE AT SEATTLE, NOVEMBER 21, 2003 June 16, 2004.--The treaty was read the first time, and together with the accompanying papers, referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations and ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL ---------- The White House, June 16, 2004. To the Senate of the United States: With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada on Pacific Hake/Whiting (the ``Agreement''), done at Seattle, November 21, 2003. I am also enclosing, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Secretary of State on the Agreement. The Agreement establishes, for the first time, agreed percentage shares of the transboundary stock of Pacific hake, also known as Pacific whiting. It also creates a process through which U.S. and Canadian scientists and fisheries managers will recommend the total catch of Pacific hake each year, to be divided by a set percentage formula. Stakeholders from both countries will have significant input into this process. The Agreement not only allows the Parties to redress the overfishing that had led to a recent decline in stock levels, but also provides long-term stability for U.S. fishers and processors and a structure for future scientific collaboration. The recommended legislation necessary to implement the Agreement will be submitted separately to the Congress. I recommend that the Senate give favorable consideration to this Agreement and give its advice and consent to ratification at an early date. George W. Bush. LETTER OF SUBMITTAL ---------- Department of State, Washington, April 19, 2004. The President, The White House. The President: I have the honor to submit to you, with a view to its transmission to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification, the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada on Pacific Hake/Whiting done at Seattle November 21, 2003 (the ``Agreement''). The Agreement establishes, for the first time, agreed percentage shares of the transboundary stock of Pacific whiting, also known as Pacific hake. It also creates a process through which U.S. and Canadian scientists and fisheries managers will determine the total catch of hake each year, to be divided by the percentage formula. Stakeholders from both countries will have significant input into this process. Since the late 1970s, scientists from the United States and Canada have generally reached informal agreement on an annual overall total allowable catch (TAC) for the transboundary stock of Pacific hake. The two countries have conducted joint stock assessments every three years, and have agreed informally on certain stock management measures, but not the most important one: how to divide the TAC between U.S. and Canadian fisheries. The United States has generally claimed 80% of the allowable catch, while Canada has taken 30%. This situation, coupled with other factors, led to a decline in the stock. In 2002, for the first time, the Department of Commerce declared the stock to be ``overfished.'' U.S. and Canadian officials have been attempting since the early 1990s to reach agreement on a percentage share. Following resumed talks in 2002, both sides agreed in principle in April 2003 to the text of a new long-term management and sharing arrangement. The new agreement formalizes past scientific and stock assessment collaboration through the creation of two new science bodies: a Joint Technical Committee, charged with producing an annual stock assessment, and a Scientific Review Group to provide peer review of the technical committee's work. These groups will include scientists appointed by each Party, as well as independent members referred by a panel of private sector advisors. A third body, the Joint Management Committee, will consider the scientific advice and recommend to the Parties each year an overall total allowable catch. Most importantly, the agreement establishes a default harvest policy and assigns 73.88% of the TAC to the United States and 26.12% to Canada for an initial period of nine years, and thereafter unless the Parties agree to change it. The U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. fishing industry strongly support the Agreement. The Agreement not only allows the Parties to redress the overfishing that had led to the recent decline in stock levels, but also provides for long- term stability to U.S. fishers and processors and a structure for future scientific collaboration. The recommended legislation necessary to implement the Agreement will be submitted separately to the Congress. I therefore recommend that you submit the Agreement to the Senate for its advice and consent to ratification at the earliest possible date. Respectfully submitted. Colin L. Powell. Enclosure: As stated.