Exchange With Reporters at San Diego Harbor, California.
QUESTION. Mr. President, what was your decision on the tuna issue?
THE PRESIDENT. I indicated very strongly that the administration does not
agree with Judge Richey's decision, and if it requires that there should be new legislation, the administration would support something like the legislation recommended by Congressman Leggett of California. The tuna industry will be ended, will be destroyed, if the full impact of Judge Richey's decision is carried out.
And I've been very impressed with the innovative and the constructive new nets that have been just shown to me. It is my understanding that the loss of porpoises because of the new net is very substantially less than when the larger nets that you saw a few minutes ago were used. I'm told there is even a smaller net that is probably going to be in use.
So, the industry, the tuna industry, is seeking to correct the situation itself, and I applaud them, and I think we ought to work with them so that we can save the tuna industry. And, from what I am told, these new nets will also save the porpoises. So, it is a plus for both sides, if the action is taken both within the industry and by the Congress.
Q. What will you do specifically?
THE PRESIDENT. We will have spokesmen from my administration cooperate with the Congress to try and pass the legislation that will take care of the judicial decision.
Q. Mr. President, these are tuna fishermen who have had their vessels shot at in the past. They have tried very vigorously to maintain the conservation regimen. Do you feel a sense of sympathy or compassion for what these men and what this industry in this town has been through, and can you comment about that?
THE PRESIDENT. I certainly have had long sympathy for and admiration for the tuna industry and all the people involved in it.
Thank you all very, very much.
Note: The President spoke at 6:36 p.m. on board the Theresa Janene, a tuna boat anchored in San Diego Harbor. Prior to the exchange, he greeted the crew and toured the boat.
Gerald R. Ford, Exchange With Reporters at San Diego Harbor, California. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/258664