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Statement on Signing the South Pacific Tuna Act of 1988

June 07, 1988

I am pleased to sign into law S. 1989, the South Pacific Tuna Act of 1988. This bill implements the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Treaty by making U.S. domestic legislation consistent with our treaty obligations. The treaty is historic in both its complexity and scope and culminates over 2 years of difficult negotiations. Its successful implementation will set a tone of cooperation rather than confrontation in our fisheries relations with 15 island nations of the South Pacific.

Under the terms of the treaty, U.S. tuna fishermen may purchase regional licenses to fish in some 10 million square miles of tuna-rich waters in the South Pacific Ocean, including waters under the jurisdiction of the Pacific Island signatories. It will set to rest the fisheries-related problems we have experienced stemming from our differing juridical positions concerning highly migratory species of tuna. In addition, the license fees and the economic assistance agreement associated with the treaty will further the economic development and strengthen the democratic traditions of the Pacific Island states participating in the treaty.

The peoples of the United States and the South Pacific have a long history of contact and cooperation. Beginning in the early 19th century when American seamen first ventured into the region, through the dark days of World War II when we fought side by side in defense of our homes and freedom, to today when we sit together at the negotiating table to work out mutually beneficial solutions to complex problems, our peoples have together faced and overcome adversity and challenge. I am proud of that history and of the fact that through the peoples of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands the United States has contributed to the rich cultural and spiritual traditions of the Pacific Islands. I am pleased that my signature on this legislation will reinforce the bonds of friendship and affection that unite our peoples.


The White House,

June 7, 1988.

Note: S. 1989, approved June 7, was assigned Public Law No. 100-330.

Ronald Reagan, Statement on Signing the South Pacific Tuna Act of 1988 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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