[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book II)]
[November 3, 1995]
[Page 1718]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Signing the Fisheries Act of 1995
November 3, 1995

    Today I have signed into law H.R. 716, the ``Fisheries Act of 
1995.'' This comprehensive legislation demonstrates the extent to which 
the United States is involved, and must remain involved, in 
international initiatives with global impact. It implements 
international agreements designed to protect important fish stocks both 
in high seas areas of the world's oceans and off our coasts. Many of 
these measures implement agreements that required major negotiating 
efforts over a number of years.
    This Act implements and would allow the United States to become a 
party to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Agreement 
to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management 
Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas. Our negotiators were the 
principal drafters of the agreement, designed to end the practice of 
``reflagging'' fishing vessels to evade international conservation 
rules. The provisions of H.R. 716 that implement this Agreement also 
provide a basis for the United States to ratify the Convention on 
Conservation and Management of Pollock Resources in the Central Bering 
Sea. This will preserve jobs for American fishermen in Alaska and the 
Pacific Northwest, while protecting fish stocks from over-harvesting. 
The Act also implements a fisheries convention in the Northwest Atlantic 
and allows the Administration to seek fishing quota shares for our 
fishermen in that region.
    The Act reauthorizes the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act, enhancing 
U.S. efforts to ensure that all of the countries fishing for tuna in the 
Atlantic follow internationally agreed upon conservation measures, and 
providing enforcement authority, which can be particularly effective 
when its use is based on international consensus. In addition, H.R. 716 
strengthens the U.S. role in maintaining the global moratorium on large-
scale high seas driftnet fishing, implements an agreement to conserve 
salmon originating from the Yukon River in Canada, and contains other 
provisions to promote sound fisheries management.
    Several provisions in the Act, specifically sections 603-605 and 
302(b), could be taken to direct how the Nation's foreign affairs should 
be conducted. The Constitution, however, vests the President with 
special authority to conduct the Nation's foreign affairs. My 
constitutional authority over foreign affairs necessarily entails 
discretion over these matters. Accordingly, I shall construe these 
provisions to be advisory, and I hereby direct all executive branch 
officials to do likewise.
    A provision in section 802 of the Act allows the Secretary of 
Commerce to issue certain fishing permits if the application has been 
recommended by a regional fishery management council. Because regional 
fishery management councils are entities within the Federal Government 
and comprise officials who are not appointed pursuant to the 
Appointments Clause of the Constitution, they may not exercise 
significant governmental authority. To avoid this constitutional 
problem, I hereby direct the Secretary to treat this provision as 
    I am pleased to approve this comprehensive legislation, which will 
conserve fishery resources and allow for their continued harvesting at 
sustainable levels.

                                                      William J. Clinton

The White House,

November 3, 1995.

Note: H.R. 716, approved November 3, was assigned Public Law No. 104-43. 
This statement was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on 
November 4.