S. HRG. 103-767
\V CONVENTION ON THE CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT
OF POLLOCK RESOURCES IN THE CENTRAL BERING SEA
(TREATY DOC. 103-27) AND TWO TREATIES WITH THE
UNITED KINGDOM ESTABLISHING CARIBBEAN MARITIME
BOUNDARIES (TREATY DOC . 103-23)
Y 4. F 76/2: S. HRG. 103-767
Convention on the Conservation and... RING
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS
SEPTEMBER 28, 1994
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
83--U8CC WASHINGTON : 1994
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office. Washington, DC 20402
i J S. HRG. 103-767
' CONVENTION ON THE CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT
OF POLLOCK RESOURCES IN THE CENTRAL BERING SEA
(TREATY DOC. 103-27) AND TWO TREATIES WITH THE
UNITED KINGDOM ESTABLISHING CARIBBEAN MARITIME
BOUNDARIES (TREATY DOC . 103-23)
4, F 76/2: S. HRG. 103-767
ivention on the Conservation and... RING
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS
SEPTEMBER 28, 1994
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations
JAN | 7 •
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
83-418 CC WASHINGTON : 1994
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents. Congressional Sales Office. Washington. DC 20402
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
CLAIBORNE PELL, Rhode Island, Chairman
JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Jr., Delaware
PAUL S. SARBANES, Maryland
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts
PAUL SIMON, Illinois
DANIEL P. MOYNIHAN, New York
CHARLES S. ROBB, Virginia
HARRIS WOFFORD, Pennsylvania
RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin
JESSE HELMS, North Carolina
RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana
NANCY L. KASSEBAUM, Kansas
LARRY PRESSLER, South Dakota
FRANK H. MURKOWSKI, Alaska
HANK BROWN, Colorado
JAMES M. JEFFORDS, Vermont
PAUL COVERDELL, Georgia
JUDD GREGG, New Hampshire
HARLAN MATHEWS, Tennessee
GERYLD B. CHRISTIANSON, Staff Director
JAMES W. NANCE, Minority Staff Director
September 28, 1994
Colson, David, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans, Department of State ... 2
Prepared statements 4-10
Stevens, Ted, U.S. Senator from Arkansas, prepared statement 21
CONVENTION ON THE CONSERVATION AND
MANAGEMENT OF POLLOCK RESOURCES IN
THE CENTRAL BERING SEA (TREATY DOC.
103-27) AND TWO TREATIES WITH THE
UNITED KINGDOM ESTABLISHING CARIB-
BEAN MARITIME BOUNDARIES (TREATY
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 1994
Committee on Foreign Relations,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:30 a.m., in room
SD-419, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Claiborne Pell
(chairman of the committee) presiding.
Present: Senators Pell and Murkowski.
The Chairman. The Committee on Foreign Relations will come
I wish to welcome our witnesses and the public to today's hearing
of the committee. We have two treaty documents, but actually
three treaties, on the agenda. The first item is the Convention on
the Conservation and Management of Pollock Resources in the
Central Bering Sea, commonly referred to as the Donut Hole Con-
The second item consists of two boundary treaties, the first es-
tablishing the maritime boundary between the U.S. Virgin Islands
and Anguilla, and the second establishing the maritime boundary
between Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Britisn
The Donut Hole Convention addresses an issue of major impor-
tance to fishermen in the northwestern United States and in Alas-
ka: overfishing for pollock in the Central Bering Sea. I support
prompt Senate action on this Convention.
I would also note that the Convention is based on the 1982 U.S.
Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Law of the Sea Convention
recognizes the rights of all states' nationals to fish on the high
seas, but couples this right with the responsibility to conserve high
seas fishery resources.
As Ambassador Colson notes in his written statement, the Donut
Hole Convention is precisely the sort of agreement envisaged by
I know the administration is working hard to transmit the Law
of the Sea Convention to the Senate before we adjourn, and I in-
tend to initiate ratification proceedings early next year.
As noted earlier, the second item on the agenda is the two mari-
time boundary treaties. These were added to the agenda for today's
hearing at the administration's request. I regret that Congressman
De Lugo of the Virgin Islands will be unable to attend our hearing
because of scheduling conflicts.
It is my understanding that while he does not object to the two
treaties themselves, there is concern in the U.S. Virgin Islands
about their indirect relationship to the 1979 Reciprocal Fisheries
Agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom.
I understand both Senator Stevens and Murkowski will be some-
what delayed, so I believe we should start with the two boundary
In this regard, I would also note that I have received a letter
from the Governor of the Virgin Islands requesting the committee
defer action on the treaties for the moment. I ask unanimous con-
sent that his letter be inserted in the record. Without objection, we
will do so.
[The letter referred to follows:]
September 27, 1994.
The Hon. Claiborne Pell,
Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations,
SD-466 Dirksen Senate Office Building,
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. Chairman: I write respectfully to request that the Committee on For-
eign Relations defer action, at the present time, on the proposed Caribbean Mari-
time Boundary Agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States that
is presently pending ratification.
To the best of my recollection, the boundary agreement has been negotiated with-
out my being consulted. I have some concerns about it, relating particularly to the
points of demarcation and I would like the opportunity to express them to the com-
Your assistance in this regard is deeply appreciated.
Alexander A. Farrelly,
The Chairman. With that, I look forward to hearing from our
witnesses today. Ambassador Colson, welcome. The floor is yours.
STATEMENT OF HON. DAVID COLSON, DEPUTY ASSISTANT
SECRETARY FOR OCEANS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Ambassador CoLSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I understand you would like me to begin with the two boundary
The Chairman. That is correct.
Ambassador Colson. There is a prepared statement, and I ask
that it be placed in the record and I will briefly summarize my tes-
The Chairman. Without objection, that will be done.
Ambassador Colson. These are two routine maritime boundary
treaties that essentially formalize the status quo which has existed
in the Caribbean since 1977, when both the United States and the
United Kingdom, with respect to the British Virgin Islands and An-
guilla, established our 200-mile jurisdiction. Since that time, both
the United States and the United Kingdom have used equidistant
lines between the various islands in that part of the world to de-
scribe the maritime boundary limits of our national jurisdiction.
The treaties that are now before you simply formalize what has
been the practice of both states for 17 years. The treaties are fully
consistent with U.S. maritime boundary practice and Article 72
and 83 of the Law of the Sea Convention. They promote a favorable
precedent for U.S. interests in other boundary regions.
I know that there are members of this committee who will be
here a little bit later that are particularly interested in seeing the
equidistant precedent established for boundaries between the Unit-
ed States and Canada in Dixon Entrance and the Beaufort Sea.
These equidistant boundaries that we have with other countries
are important precedents for those situations.
There was a full range of consultations with affected interests
which occurred in the 1970's when we established these basic mari-
time boundary positions. And I know that it is of interest to the
committee that ultimately we establish these boundaries by formal
treaty brought before this committee and the Senate. The Depart-
ment is trying to bring about routinely one or two equidistant line
boundary agreements annually in order to formalize them properly
We took the occasion of our very close working relationship with
the United Kingdom on Law of the Sea issues to formalize the text
of these two treaties.
Now, as I said, these are really a reflection of the status quo that
has existed in this region for 17 years.
We are aware that certain local fishing interests in the U.S. Vir-
gin Islands have identified some issues that they would like to see
addressed with British authorities relating primarily to access for
U.S. fishermen into British waters. They believe that holding up
ratification of these boundary agreements is the way to create le-
verage for dealing with the United Kingdom on this issue.
And I can say very frankly and in a very straightforward way
that, certainly in our view, nothing could be further from the truth.
We are certainly prepared to help our fishing interests in the U.S.
Virgin Islands. It is our job to promote and advance the interests
that they have. And, indeed, we have already begun a process of
working with the concerned groups in the Virgin Islands area.
But, certainly, the Department and the administration do not
agree that trying to link really unrelated fishing access issues to
U.S. ratification of very straightforward maritime boundary agree-
ments with a close friend and ally such as the United Kingdom is
the way to go about our jobs or the way to deal with a totally unre-
lated fishery issue.
Mr. Chairman, what we have here is a situation of apples and
oranges; the issues are unrelated. And trying to create linkages
where there are none invariably poisons the atmosphere.
Indeed, I would submit that creating a linkage here will hurt our
chances of securing favorable fishery results, while ratification of
the boundary agreement will enhance the opportunity to accom-
plish our fishery objectives.
Our close relationship with the United Kingdom on the full range
of ocean issues, including the Law of the Sea, calls for us to ratify
these boundary agreements expeditiously and on their merits. We
will continue to work as well on the fishing issues of concern in the
U.S. Virgin Islands; and we will do that effort, as well, on the mer-
its of those fishery issues. But linking these two issues to create
some perceived political leverage is not really the way that we
think we should go about this task.
With those comments, Mr. Chairman, I would be happy to an-
swer any questions on the boundary treaties.
[The prepared treaties statement of Ambassador Colson follows:]
Prepared Statement of Ambassador David A. Colson
TREATIES BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE UNITED KINGDOM ON
THE DELIMITATION OF MARITIME BOUNDARIES IN THE CARIBBEAN
Dear Mr. Chairman: I welcome the opportunity to testify today in support of two
treaties that establish two maritime boundaries between the United States and the
United Kingdom in the Caribbean. One treaty establishes a boundary between Puer-
to Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. The second trea-
ty establishes a boundary between the U.S. Virgin Islands and Anguilla.
These treaties are necessary to delimit the U.S. sovereignty and maritime juris-
diction in these areas and to resolve potential overlapping claims of jurisdiction aris-
ing from the establishment of 200 nautical mile maritime zones by the United
States and by the United Kingdom. In 1976 the United States enacted the Fishery
Conservation and Management Act of 1976 which established a 200 nautical mile
fishery conservation zone off the coasts of the United States. By Presidential Procla-
mation in 1983 this zone became an exclusive economic zone.
Maritime boundary situations arise with neighboring states of the United States
where the coasts of the two countries are less than 400 nautical miles apart. The
Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 created 28 maritime boundaries
for the United States. Recognizing that it would not be possible to conclude bound-
ary agreements with our neighbors before establishing the fishery conservation zone
on March 1, 1977, the United States published provisional limits of that zone on
March 7, 1977, "pending the establishment of permanent maritime boundaries by
Subsequently, the United States has pursued negotiations with several neighbor-
ing states. To date, the U.S. Senate has given its advice and consent to ratification
of four maritime boundary treaties, three of which have entered into force: Ven-
ezuela, Cook Islands, and New Zealand (for Tokelau). The United States awaits ac-
tion by the Russian Parliament before that maritime boundary treaty can enter into
I would like to turn to the two treaties presently before the Senate, which involve
our Caribbean territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and the U.K.
territories of British Virgin Islands and Anguilla. I would like to give you a brief
chronology of the events leading to the signing of the treaties, and to explain the
provisions of the agreements.
In anticipation of legislative action to extend United States maritime jurisdiction
to 200 nautical miles, the State Department in 1975 established an interagency
group to develop a U.S. maritime boundary policy. This group included representa-
tives of the Departments of State, Interior, Commerce, Defense, Energy, and Trans-
portation (Coast Guard). The task of this group was to identify in each boundary
situation the maritime boundary that would maximize United States resource and
security interests consistent with international law and friendly relations with our
For the two boundaries created by the present treaties, lines drawn equally dis-
tant from the respective coasts were considered to meet United States objectives.
In January 1977, a team of U.S. officials traveled to San Juan and Charlotte Ama
lie to brief government officials on the pending Magnuson Fishery Conservation and
Management Act which would become effective March 1, 1977. The fishery limits
for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, based on equidistant lines, were ex-
plained and there was approval by all concerned.
About a week after the U.S. 200-mile zone became effective the United Kingdom
extended the fishery zone of the British Virgin Islands to 200 miles. This limit was
also based on an equidistant line. Agreement that the maritime boundary was to
be an equidistant line came in 1979 when the United States and the United King-
dom concluded a fisheries treaty pertaining to reciprocal fishing at existing patterns
and levels between the U.S. Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands. In the pre-
amble to this treaty both governments recalled their common approach to the limits
of jurisdiction is the equidistant line.
I should state that regional officials, including government officials from Puerto
Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and members of the Regional Fishery Council
were consulted in preparation for the 1979 fishery talks with the U.K. Several offi-
cials served on the U.S. delegation for the negotiations. The Senate gave its advice
and consent to ratification of this treaty on December 16, 1981, and it entered into
force on March 10, 1983 (TIAS 10545, 34 UST 3147), following U.K. ratification on
January 26, 1983.
In late 1991, the Acting Secretary of State authorized the conclusion of maritime
boundary treaties with the United Kingdom incorporating equidistant lines. It was
anticipated that no formal negotiating sessions would be necessary and that the
needed technical work could be accomplished through correspondence. Between mid-
1992 and mid- 1993 technical experts from both sides worked on aspects of develop-
ing precise and accurate equidistant lines.
By late summer 1993 the equidistant lines had been calculated and agreed upon.
During the summer of 1993 treaty texts were written and exchanged. By early Sep-
tember 1993 draft treaties were completed. On our part, we submitted the drafts
to government representatives of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. No objec-
tions to the treaties were raised.
On November 5, 1993, the two maritime boundary treaties were signed in London.
Let me now turn to the provisions of the treaties. The provisions of the two trea-
ties are essentially the same, save for Article II which defines the boundaries.
Article I of each treaty confirms that the sole purpose of the treaty is to establish
a maritime boundary between our respective Caribbean territories.
Article II of each treaty defines the boundary.
Article III of each treaty provides that each Party shall not claim or exercise for
any purpose sovereignty, sovereign rights, or jurisdiction with respect to the waters
or seabed or subsoil on the side of the boundary adjacent to the other Party.
Article TV of each treaty provides that the maritime boundary shall not affect or
prejudice either Party's position with respect to the rules of international law relat-
ing to the law of the sea. Such a provision has been considered desirable by the
United States because maritime boundary treaties take the form of a "quitclaim,"
as provided for in Article III. The agreement does not, however, commit either Party
to accept any maritime claims made by the other Party on the other side of the
boundary. The provision in Article IV makes clear that each Party does not give up
the right to oppose, as inconsistent with the law of the seal claims made by the
other Party on its side of the boundary. A version of Article IV appears in other
U.S. maritime boundary treaties to which the Senate has given its advice and con-
sent to ratification, including the 1978 treaty with Venezuela, involving Puerto Rico
and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
And, Article V in each treaty states that the treaty will enter into force on the
date of exchange of instruments of ratification.
Puerto Rico /U.S. Virgin Islands — British Virgin Islands
One of the preambular paragraphs takes note of the 1979 Reciprocal Fisheries
Agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom. The establishment
of this maritime boundary does not affect the provisions of this 1979 Agreement.
Article U of the boundary treaty relating to Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands and
the British Virgin Islands refers to an Annex which list 50 boundary turning or ter-
minal points which are to be connected by geodetic lines (the shortest lines between
sets of two points). The article also states that the geodetic and computational bases
used in determining the boundary are the North American Datum 1983 ("NAD 83").
Citation is given to a map which is annexed to the treaty for illustrative purposes
The total length of the boundary is 288 nautical miles. In the north the boundary
begins at a point which is 200 nautical miles from the coasts of both Puerto Rico
and the British Virgin Islands. Proceeding south, the first 134 miles of the equi-
distant line are calculated from Puerto Rico's coast. At point 6 of the boundary,
about 75 miles from the respective coasts, the boundary is equidistant from Puerto
Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands. From this point to the
southern terminus (the tripoint with Anguilla) the influencing base points that de-
termine The course of the boundary are situated on the U.S. Virgin Islands and the
British Virgin Islands.
Most of the boundary turning points are situated in the area where the U.S. Vir-
gin Islands and the British Virgin Islands are quite close. The two territories are,
at one point, about 0.5 nautical miles apart; thus the boundary comes within ap-
proximately 0.25 nautical miles of each coast. At the tripoint with Anguilla the
boundary is about 40 nautical miles from the respective coasts.
Both sides agreed to simplify an original equidistant line comprising 125 turning
and terminal points to 50 points. With the goal of creating a simplified equidistant
line in which neither side "gained" or "loss" area, geodetic computations and
digitizing were used to calculate areas displaced in this process. The procedure of
discarding 75 turning points resulted in essentially no net area gain or loss by ei-
U.S. Virgin Islands — Anguilla Boundary
Article II of this treaty defines the maritime boundary, which comprises one seg-
ment 1.34 nautical miles in length. The boundary is approximately 40 nautical miles
from the respective coasts. The northern terminus is the tripoint with the British
Virgin Islands boundary; the southern terminus is a tripoint equally distant from
St. Croix (U.S.), Anguilla (U.K.) and Saba Island (Netherlands). The Netherlands
Government provided the geographic coordinates for the relevant Saba Island base
point. Article II refers to the use of the North American Datum 1983 and to the
fact that an illustrative map is attached to the treaty.
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to presenting these two
important maritime boundary treaties to you and the Committee. We urge early
Senate advise and consent to ratification of these treaties. I would be happy to an-
swer any questions you may have. Thank you.
The Chairman. You have before you a letter that we just re-
ceived today, which we have already put in the record. It would
seem to me that as a matter of courtesy to the Government that
we should roll this over. What is your view?
Ambassador Colson. Mr. Chairman, this letter seems to relate
solely to the boundary agreement itself. And the Governor indicates
that he has some concern about points of demarcation. I do not
know what he has in mind. But that boundary, the limit that the
United States uses in that region, and the boundary that the Unit-
ed Kingdom uses in that region, have been essentially the same
since 1977. And there has never been any concerns raised by any-
one about the limits of our jurisdiction or the limits of British juris-
diction in that area.
So, again, this has been something that has been rather quiet for
a long time. We did consult with the local interests intensively in
the 1977 period, when we established these limits. They were pub-
lished in the Federal Register. We consulted with the people in the
region, in both Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands, about what
we intended to do to establish the limits of U.S. jurisdiction. And
that was 17 years ago.
When we got ready to formalize this situation in a treaty with
the United Kingdom, we did consult with the offices here in this
town that represent the Virgin Islands here in Washington, DC.
We indicated that we were going forward now to simply formalize
what had been the status quo for 17 years. And there was no indi-
cation of any difficulty about this either in terms of fishing issues
or in terms of some concern about, as the Governor's letter says,
points of demarcation.
The line that is in these treaties is an equidistant line. It is a
line that is halfway between U.S. islands and British islands, all
the way down the line. This is our standard practice that we use
in other parts of the world, except for three exceptions that have
been longstanding U.S. positions for our maritime boundaries. And
it is a precedent that we would want to continue with. It has been
assessed that this way is in the total U.S. interest, in all of our
boundary situations, except for those places where there are very,
very large special circumstances.
So, I do not know that there is any reason to depart from an
equidistant line in this region. That has been our practice in this
region for 17 years. I think the British Government would have
substantial difficulty if we were to go to them now and raise some
questions about this. And I do not think it would be consistent with
our overall interests in boundary situations were we to do that.
The Chairman. Though I appreciate your thoughts, it seems to
me that the administration has the responsibility to coordinate its
position on this. And if one arm of the administration, the Gov-
ernor, says one thing and another arm says another thing, which
is what you are saying. And I am very sympathetic to your view
that as a responsible committee we ought to see that the adminis-
tration is speaking through one mouth.
Ambassador Colson. I am not sure, sir, if the Governor of the
Virgin Islands is really part of the administration. I may stand to
be corrected there, but I believe he is an elected official in the Vir-
gin Islands. But we can certainly look into that.
The Chairman. Is he elected or appointed?
Ambassador Colson. I really do not know.
The Chairman. I do not either.
Ambassador Colson. We can look into that question.
The Chairman. I am interested, because over the new year I ex-
pect to spend some days in the British Virgin Islands sailing.
Ambassador Colson. I may recount for you, Mr. Chairman, a bit
of a story here. I too have sailed in the British Virgin Islands from
time to time. And one of the benefits, occasionally of having an old
bureaucrat doing some of this work is to recall that when we estab-
lished our jurisdiction in 1977 and the British Government gave us
the coordinates of the equidistant line that they thought was ap-
propriate, and we exchanged the coordinates of the equidistant line
which we thought appropriate, we found out that there was an is-
land in the middle of the channel between the U.S. Virgin Islands
and the British Virgin Islands that was actually claimed by both
governments. It is a small island called Flanagan Island that if you
are sailing down there, you will find on your charts.
In resolving this issue over the course of the last 17 years, the
British Government agreed to our position that the United States
really owns this small uninhabited island of several acres that sits
in the middle of the channel, and this boundary agreement again
confirms that the island is on the U.S. side of this boundary line.
I hope that when you are sailing down there you will look at that
island on the charts and that you will note that one part of the
process of getting this agreement negotiated was to confirm U.S.
jurisdiction over the small Flanagan Island in the middle of the
The Chairman. I look forward to personally checking that out
when the time comes.
It says here in the letter from the Governor that the boundary
agreement has been negotiated without his being consulted, to the
best of his recollection. Is that a correct statement?
Ambassador Colson. I think it is a correct statement to say that
in the most recent initiative that the representatives in the Virgin
Islands were not consulted directly. We worked with his represent-
ative here in Washington, and expected that representative to be
dealing with the authorities in the island territory. But we did seek
to consult with him. We used the channel that we often use in
Washington, which is to consult with the people here in town, and
expect them to carry the message forward to the local authorities.
I will emphasize again, though, that when this jurisdiction was
established and when we were establishing our position in 1977,
there was extensive consultation with the authorities in the Virgin
The CHAIRMAN. I thank you very much, indeed. I think at this
point that we might move on to the Donut Hole Convention and
ask you for your testimony while we put this on the side for the
time being. After you have spoken, I trust Senator Murkowski and
Senator Stevens will be here. They have an interest in this. But,
for the moment, please carry on.
Ambassador Colson. Thank you. Again, I do have a prepared
statement for the record, and ask that it be placed in the record.
I am very pleased to be able to testify on behalf of the adminis-
tration on this Convention — what we know as the Donut Hole Con-
vention. The Donut Hole is the area of the Central Bering Sea be-
yond 200 nautical miles from the United States and Russian
coasts. It is thus high seas as we use that phrase in the Law of
There is a stock of fish called pollock. This stock is known as the
Aleutian Basin pollock stock, that ranges into this high seas donut
hole area from the U.S. zone primarily, but also from the Russian
zone to some extent. In international practice, where we have a
stock of fish going from a coastal state's 200-mile zone and ranging
into the high seas area, we know of this issue as a straddling stock
The Donut Hole Convention before the committee addresses the
problem of the conservation, management and utilization of this
straddling stock resource — this pollock stock resource. It is a very
special agreement from a number of perspectives.
First, it came about due in very large measure to the close co-
ordination and cooperation with the U.S. advisers and Members of
Congress and staff throughout the negotiating process. And as the
negotiator, I certainly want to express my thanks for the strong
support and participation by the North Pacific and Bering Sea ad-
visors that we had throughout this process.
Second, the Convention also came about due to a very intense ne-
gotiating effort involving 10 major multilateral conferences in 3
years with the other five countries concerned — Russia, Japan,
Korea, China, and Poland. This required an extraordinary spirit of
goodwill and commitment on the part of those governments. And
in this regard, our bilateral cooperation with Russia, as the coastal
states of the Bering Sea, was a key element in our success.
The result which is achieved is a new state-of-the-art fishing con-
vention that fully satisfies U.S. interests. I believe this Convention
will set the standard for fishing agreements of the future.
My prepared statement and the documents submitting the Con-
vention to the Senate set forth in detail the various provisions of
the Convention. But there are several points I would like to empha-
First, there will be no fishing for this stock of pollock unless a
threshold biomass of 1.67 million metric tons is reached. If there
is no consensus, this critical biomass decision ultimately will be
made by reference to the decisions we make in our own zone re-
garding that portion of the stock found in the Bogoslof Island area.
A second key point is that if a fishery is allowed in the Donut
Hole, U.S. fishermen will participate in that fishery through either
a national quota we will negotiate or by way of the establishment
of a fishing season in which all countries participate.
Third, stringent enforcement provisions are present in this agree-
ment. These will ensure that any fishing that does occur does so
consistent with the rules. These provisions relate to the use of real-
time satellite position fixing transmitters — the first international
agreement to require that — 100 percent observer coverage, board-
ing and inspection on the high seas, and notification requirements
that relate to entry into the fishing area.
These provisions give us assurance that not only is the potential
Donut Hole fishery that may occur being conducted properly, but
also that no cheating will be going on in relation to illegal fishing
in the U.S. zone.
As noted in the prepared statement, the Donut Hole Convention
rests firmly on the international law basis created by the 1982 Law
of the Sea Convention. The general principles of the Convention
were accepted by all countries involved in the negotiations. Article
63 of that Convention requires coastal states and states fishing on
the high seas for a straddling stock to seek agreement on conserva-
tion measures for straddling stocks. And Article 116 of the Conven-
tion makes the freedom to fish on the high seas subject to certain
rights and duties and interests of coastal States.
The Donut Hole Convention gives content to these general prin-
ciples in light of the circumstances of the Central Bering Sea. The
Donut Hole Convention is fully consistent with the Law of the Sea
Further, if the United States becomes party to the Law of the
Sea Convention, the United States will be able to use its dispute
settlement provisions to ensure that other states comply with their
obligations on the high seas, including in the Donut Hole. These
obligations include not to fish for salmon on the high seas, as Arti-
cle 66 of the Law of the Sea Convention requires, and to comply
with other agreements, such as this Donut Hole Convention.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, I can report that all the countries sig-
natory to this Convention are moving rapidly in their respective
ratification processes. I hope that the United States will be the
first to ratify. We anticipate that by early 1995, assuming approval
by the Senate, the Convention will be in force.
The signatory states met in Moscow just a few days ago at the
end of the week of September 15, to plan for the entry into force
of the Convention. All countries involved agreed to a plan of work
which we had proposed, which will lead up to the first annual con-
ference that will be held after entry into force. We plan to host that
meeting, and we are planning to host it in November of 1995.
Unfortunately, as we approach the coming year, we do not see
the anticipated improvement in the Aleutian Basin stocks' condi-
tion. The most recent information reveals a continuing decline in
this important resource. Based on that fact, all the signatory coun-
tries agreed in Moscow to continue the voluntary suspension of
fishing in the Donut Hole well into 1995, at least up to the first
annual conference under this Convention, when a new decision can
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would be happy to answer any ques-
tions that you might have.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Colson follows:]
Prepared Statement of Ambassador David A. Colson
THE CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF POLLOCK RESOURCES IN
THE CENTRAL BERING SEA
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee: I am pleased to be here today to
provide the comments of the administration on the Convention on the Conservation
and Management of Pollock Resources in the Central Bering Sea, with Annex, and
to recommend that the Senate provide its early advice and consent to ratification
of the Convention. The Convention was signed in Washington on June 16, 1994, by
representatives of the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, the Rus-
sian Federation, and the United States of America. Japan and the Republic of Po-
land signed the Convention in Washington on August 4, 1994, and August 25, 1994,
The Convention represents a mile-stone in the efforts of the United States to pro-
mote the long-term sustainable use of the Aleutian Basin pollock stock in the
central Bering Sea. It is a state-of-the-art fisheries agreement that will properly
limit pollock fishing in the high seas area of the central Bering Sea known as the
"Donut Hole" in accordance with conservation needs.
The Convention contains strong provisions to ensure that it will be effectively en-
forced. U.S. enforcement officials will have the right to board vessels of other States
Parties to the Convention to ensure that they are fishing in accordance with the
Convention. It will require all vessels fishing for pollock in the Donut Hole to use
real-time satellite position-fixing transmitters, to carry scientific observers, and to
consent to boarding and inspection by authorized officials of any other Party to the
The Convention will enter into force thirty days following the deposit of instru-
ments of ratification, acceptance, or approval of the Convention by at least four of
the signatory States, including the United States and Russia.
The Convention, like virtually all recent fishery agreements, is based on the 1982
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which the adminis-
tration will be transmitting to the Senate in the very near future.
As you know, Mr. Chairman, UNCLOS recognizes the sovereign rights and exclu-
sive jurisdiction of coastal States to conserve and manage living marine resources
in exclusive economic zones (EEZs) extending 200-nautical miles from their shores.
While UNCLOS also acknowledges the right of all States for their nationals to fish
on the high seas, it makes this right subject to the duty to conserve high seas fish-
ery resources and to the rights, duties, and interests of coastal States.
These provisions of UNCLOS have created enormous benefits for the United
States, which has one of the largest and richest EEZs in the world. The portion of
our EEZ off Alaska alone contains some of these fertile fishing grounds.
Mr. Chairman, some stocks of fish do not remain exclusively within the EEZ of
a single coastal State. With respect to fish stocks that occur both within the EEZ
and in the adjacent high seas area — also known as "straddling stocks" — UNCLOS
requires the coastal State and the States fishing on the high seas to seek to agree
on conservation measures for stocks in the adjacent area.
Examples of straddling fish stocks include cod in the northwest Atlantic, jack
mackerel in the southeast Pacific off the coasts of Chile and Peru, squid in the south
Atlantic off Argentina, orange roughy off New Zealand, and pollock in the Sea of
Okhotsk. The primary straddling stock of concern to the United States is Alaskan
pollock — the Aleutian Basin pollock stock, in particular — in the central Bering Sea
of the North Pacific Ocean. It is very valuable resource. In 1991, the Aleutian Basin
pollock roe fishery in the U.S. zone alone was valued at $145 million (first wholesale
The central Bering Sea "Donut Hole" Pollock Fishery Convention before you today
is precisely the sort of agreement envisioned by UNCLOS. In this case, two coastal
States (the United States and the Russian Federation) negotiated intensively with
four high seas fishing States (Japan, Korea, China, and Poland) and produced a
treaty that will ensure effective conservation and management of a valuable strad-
dling stock in the high seas area adjacent to the EEZs of the coastal States.
During the past three years, the Department of State, assisted by the Department
of Commerce, the U.S. Coast Guard, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council,
the States of Alaska and Washington, advisors, and congressional representatives,
has undertaken negotiations to reach a multilateral agreement to conserve, ration-
ally manage, and sustainably utilize this tremendous resource.
A history of the negotiations follows.
In June of 1990, during the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Summit, Presidents Bush and Gorba-
chev issued a joint statement calling for urgent conservation measures to be taken
with regard to the unregulated multinational pollock fishery in the central Bering
Sea. The Presidents noted that, in accordance with international law, all concerned
States, including the United States and the Soviet Union, as the coastal States of
the central Bering Sea, and distant water States fishing in the central Bering Sea,
should cooperate to ensure the conservation of the living marine resources of this
area. The United States and the Soviet Union noted their desire to develop coopera-
tively an international conservation and management regime for the central Bering
In December 1990, the United States, in coordination with the Soviet Union, in-
vited China, Japan, Korea, and Poland — the States fishing in the central Bering Sea
area — to a conference to consider arrangements for the conservation of the living
marine resources of the area. At that time, the United States and the Soviet Union
suggested, pending adoption of internationally agreed measures, that all States
limit their fisheries in the central Bering Sea on a voluntary basis to pollock catches
achieved during the 1985 fishing season, which totaled approximately 364,000 met-
ric tons, in order to conserve the pollock resource. We also solicited suggestions on
measures that States would take in the interim to monitor and enforce such levels
The fishing States accepted our invitation, and in February 1991 the First Con-
ference on the Conservation and Management of the Living Marine Resources of the
Central Bering Sea was held in Washington.
The Conference agreed on interim measures to freeze fishing efforts in the area,
discourage other countries from seeking to fish there, and discourage reflagging of
vessels already operating in the area. It was also agreed to accelerate scientific re-
search, standardize catch reporting, and not to retain anadromous species or herring
taken as bycatch. With regard to the U.S and Soviet proposal that the take of pol-
lock from the Donut Hole De limited to 1985 levels, the distant-water fishing coun-
tries refused, responding, in effect, that such a proposal was unrealistic from an eco-
nomic standpoint. The countries agreed to meet in July 1991 to continue discus-
The Second Conference, held July 31 to August 2, 1991, in Tokyo, received sci-
entific data that indicated that the Aleutian Basin pollock resource in the central
Bering Sea had declined to such a point that it could not support catch at even the
1985 level. The United States and the Soviet Union proposed that all countries
agree to a moratorium on fishing in the area during 1992. The United States noted
that the U.S. pollock fishery off Bogoslof Island in the Aleutian Chain, which had
been under careful conservation and management controls, would likely have to be
curtailed or even closed. Despite the scientific data presented at the Second Con-
ference, the distant-water fishing States opposed the moratorium and asserted in-
stead that other regulatory measures should be sought. However, no further agree-
ment was achieved on either interim or long-term conservation measures, nor in re-
gard to the use of scientific observers, inspectors, and real-time satellite transmitter
tracking devices. The U.S. tabled a proposal to establish an international convention
for the area which would address the conservation and management needs of the
fishery resources on a long-term basis. The proposal fairly represented the interests
of both the coastal States and the fishing States, but was rejected by the fishing
countries as being one-sided. The delegates agreed to meet again in November 1991
to continue discussions on both long-term conservation and management measures
as well as urgent interim measures in the area to begin January 1, 1992.
The United States hosted the Third Conference in Washington, November 18-20,
1991. The delegates noted substantial catch declines from a peak of 1.4 million met-
ric tons in 1989 to approximately 260,000 metric tons at the end of the third quarter
of 1991. However, despite this and additional evidence that a collapse of the Aleu-
tian Basin pollock stock was imminent, the fishing countries continued to oppose the
proposal for a moratorium on fishing in the area in 1992. All countries did agree
that catch levels and fishing effort should be reduced substantially in 1992. The dis-
tant water fishing nations also agreed to some interim measures, including the de-
ployment and exchange of scientific observers and the use of automatic satellite lo-
cation transmitters on fishing vessels. However, the United States registered grave
disappointment at the slow rate of progress on the issue and expressed serious con-
cern that socio-economic considerations of some participants were continuing to be
gut before those of the conservation of the resource. We also noted that the IJnited
tates would be prohibiting any fishery on the Aleutian Basin pollock stock in the
Bogoslof Island area within the U.S. 200 mile zone, and, in light of this action,
would expect all other countries fishing in the central Bering Sea to take commen-
surate conservation measures. The Soviet delegation noted that the Soviet Union
was substantially reducing its fishing effort in its zone for the purpose of conserving
the pollock stock. With regard to the U.S. proposal to establish an international con-
vention for the area which would address the conservation and management needs
of the fishery resources on a long-term basis, the delegates considered additional
proposals presented by Poland and Japan, and agreed to participate in a drafting
group to develop a composite negotiating text for future consideration. The United
States offered to host the drafting group, and the delegations agreed to meet again
at a Fourth Conference in the United States in 1992.
The Fourth Conference met April 13-15, 1992, in Washington. By this time all
countries had become convinced that there was a real conservation problem. The
delegations expressed concern about the continued decline of the pollock resource in
the central Bering Sea and noted substantial catch declines to a total catch of
293,000 metric tons in 1991. They confirmed the earlier understanding that catch
levels and fishing effort should be substantially reduced in 1992, but nothing further
could be agreed. The United States described the drastic conservation measures
which had Deen taken in the U.S. zone because of the depressed status of the pol-
lock stock, including a prohibition on directed fishing for the stock in the Bogoslof
Island area in the U.S. EEZ and steps aimed at prohibiting U.S. fishing vessels from
operating in the central Bering Sea. The United States stated that it expected the
directed fishery on Aleutian Basin pollock in the U.S. zone would remain closed in
1993. Russia noted that it had substantially reduced fishing effort in its zone and
would consider taking conservation actions, similar to those taken by the United
States, both within and beyond its zone, provided that other countries ceased fishing
in the Donut Hole area. Japan noted that it would closely monitor its fishery
through daily vessel reports, and would consider further conservation measures, in-
cluding additional reductions in its catch and effort level in the area in 1993. China,
Japan, Korea, and Poland expressed continued opposition to any proposed morato-
rium or suspension of fishing.
Japan noted that it was taking voluntary action to decrease its fleet size by nearly
50 percent during 1992, and stated that the overall catch quota for Japanese vessels
would not exceed 120,000 metric tons in 1992. Korea-stated that it would decrease
its fleet from 41 to 31 vessels in 1992, and indicated that it was considering the
establishment of a catch limit for pollock in 1992 that would not exceed the 1991
catch level. China and Poland stated that they would further voluntarily reduce
their number of fishing days by 20 percent compared to 1991 and would be prepared
for further reductions. China noted that its reduction in catch should correspond to
its reduction in fishing effort. Poland noted only that the 1992 pollock catch by Pol-
ish vessels would not exceed the 1991 level.
The United States and Russia expressed dismay at the incremental steps taken
by the distant water fishing countries and that the proposed fishing effort reduction
of 20 percent was not substantial. The coastal States reiterated their call for a fish-
ing moratorium in the central Bering Sea due to the extremely depressed condition
of the pollock resource; however, the fishing countries continued to resist this pro-
posal. The United States announced its intention not to issue permits to any country
seeking to use U.S. waters in support of their pollock fishing activities in the central
The delegations reviewed a composite negotiating text outlining a long-term con-
servation regime for the area and established a working group to continue efforts
to produce a final negotiating text. It was recognized that further efforts in this re-
gard would be required. The delegations agreed to meet again at a Fifth Conference
to be hosted by Russia in August 1992.
On June 17, 1992, at the U.S.-Russia Summit in Washington, Presidents Bush
and Yeltsin issued a joint statement noting with concern that, despite the con-
ferences held to date to develop an international regime for the conservation and
management of the living marine resources of the central Bering Sea, the pollock
resource in that region had suffered a precipitous decline, which could upset the bal-
ance of the Bering Sea ecosystem as a whole. They called for strong and urgent con-
servation measures, including a voluntary suspension on fishing in the central Ber-
ing Sea by all States, consistent with steps already taken by the United States and
Russia to conserve the resource.
The Fifth Conference was held in Moscow, August 12-14, 1992. A major break-
through was realized when all sides agreed to a voluntary suspension of fishing in
the area during 1993 and 1994 in light of the drastic decline of the pollock resource
in the Donut Hole. The reported total catch of pollock in the area during the first
six months of 1992 was less than 11,000 metric tons. It was noted that fishing ef-
forts in the area had been significantly reduced. The United States and Russia
agreed to take the same measures for the stock of pollock in their respective zones
as were being taken in the Donut Hole. A resource monitoring program was also
agreed upon to include scientific surveys by research vessels, trial fishing by a lim-
ited number of fishing vessels, and other scientific activities. The delegations agreed
to continue working on a long-term conservation regime for the area, and to meet
again at a Sixth Conference to be hosted by the United States in early 1993.
The Sixth Conference was held January 13-15, 1993, in Washington. A frame-
work for the decision-making provisions of the draft Agreement was agreed upon
which represented a significant step toward concluding a long-term conservation
and management agreement for the area. The decision-making procedures acknowl-
edged the precedence of the management action employed by the United States and
Russia as the coastal States of the central Bering Sea in their respective zones for
the Aleutian Basin pollock stock, in the event international consensus can not other-
wise be reached.
No significant new information on the status of the pollock resource in the central
Bering Sea was presented. The delegations reviewed steps taken to implement the
temporary suspension of fishing for pollock in the central Bering Sea on a voluntary
basis during 1993 and 1994, as well as the same measures in the U.S. and Russian
zones. All countries confirmed having taken domestic steps to implement the sus-
pension on a voluntary basis. The Conference also convened a working group to
elaborate on procedures for implementing the resource monitoring program agreed
to at the Fifth Conference. In light of the importance of the issue, the delegations
agreed to meet again at a Seventh Conference to be hosted by Japan in June 1993.
On April 4, 1993, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin, in the Joint Statement issued
at the Vancouver Summit, announced their intention to expand and improve their
joint work in the area of environmental protection. They agreed that the United
States and Russia would further develop bilateral cooperation in fisheries in the
Bering Sea, the North Pacific Ocean, and the Sea of Okhotsk, including for the pur-
pose of preservation and reproduction of living marine resources and of monitoring
the ecosystem in the North Pacific Ocean.
The Seventh Conference on the Conservation and Management of the Living Ma-
rine Resources of the Central Bering Sea was held June 28 through July 1, 1993,
in Tokyo. The conference made minimal progress toward concluding the draft agree-
ment for the conservation and management of the pollock resource in the central
Bering Sea. Discussion continued among the countries on the decisions-making as-
pects of the agreement, particularly those relating to the determination of the allow-
able harvest level of pollock in the central Bering Sea. It was decided that, for pur-
Eoses of the agreement, the pollock biomass of fishery management Area 518 in the
United States would represent 60 percent of the Aleutian Basin pollock biomass.
Additionally, there was agreement that the threshold level of Aleutian Basin pollock
biomass would be 1.67 million metric tons; there would be no fishing on the stock
if the biomass is below this amount. Furthermore, the countries agreed that when
the percentage of pollock biomass in Area 518 as a percentage of the Aleutian Basin
pollock biomass changes, the threshold level will be amended accordingly. No
progress was achieved on other decision-making aspects of the draft agreement. The
countries reviewed steps taken to implement the interim measures for the conserva-
tion and management of the living marine resources of the central Bering Sea, in-
cluding the temporary suspension of fishing for Aleutian Basin pollock on a vol-
untary basis in the central Bering Sea during 1993 and 1994. The delegations ex-
changed preliminary information obtained through a research and monitoring pro-
gram being conducted during the period of the fishing suspension.
Results of research cruises conducted up to the date of the Seventh Conference
indicated that the status of the pollock resource in the Aleutian Basin still did not
firovide grounds for optimism. Available information from the research cruises and
rom trial fishing operations indicated no significant change in the status of the
Aleutian Basin pollock stock and that it continued at a low level of abundance. The
countries intended to continue cooperative scientific research.
The United States expressed disappointment that greater progress was not made
on the draft agreement. We noted that fundamental work was required in a number
of areas; that comparing the prospects for resumed fishing in the future with the
overfishing situation which existed in the late 1980's, as some countries had sought
to do, was inappropriate; that the interests of the United States and Russia, as the
coastal States in whose zones nearly 95 percent of the Bering Sea lies, must be
taken into account; and that this agreement should be state-of-the-art and must en-
sure sustainability of resources over time.
The countries, reaffirming the necessity of concluding negotiations on a long-term
conservation and management agreement, met for an Eighth Conference hosted by
the Republic of Korea on October 6-8, 1993, in Seoul. The countries reviewed steps
to implement the voluntary moratorium and other interim measures adopted at the
Fifth Conference that were aimed at conserving and managing the living marine re-
sources in the central Bering Sea. The delegations also shared information on the
status of the pollock resources and concluded that the very low abundance of stocks
had not changed significantly. The countries indicated their intention to coordinate
further research and surveys in 1994 on the Aleutian Basin pollock resource, and
to discourage fishing for pollock in the region by vessels of other nations.
Additionally, the delegates continued discussions on a long-term arrangement for
the conservation and management of pollock resources in the central Bering Sea.
They also considered, but did not agree on, various proposed methods to establish
allowable harvest levels of pollock under the draft agreement after stocks had been
The representatives discussed provisions for compliance, including the use of real-
time satellite position-fixing devices, transmission of fishing vessel and catch data,
placement of on-board observers, and enforcement mechanisms, including boarding
and inspection, measures to respond to alleged violations, and prosecution and pen-
alties. The delegates also considered proposals on other aspects of the draft Agree-
Recognizing the gravity of the decline of the pollock resources in the central Ber-
ing Sea and the urgent necessity for responsive measures, the delegations stated
their desire and intent to conclude negotiations on a draft text by the end of 1993.
Toward this end, they agreed to meet at a Ninth Conference hosted by the United
States at the earliest possible time.
At the Ninth Conference, held in Washington, D.C. from November 29 to Decem-
ber 3, 1993, the countries continued their discussions on a draft Agreement, achiev-
ing understandings on the major outstanding issues, including the method to be
used for establishing allowable harvest levels, and matters involving compliance.
Representatives noted that their respective governments would carefully review the
text, especially the provisions on compliance.
In view of their continuing concern for the conservation and management of pol-
lock resources in the central Bering Sea, the countries decided to complete the draft
Agreement as soon as possible and to meet at a Tenth and final conference hosted
by the United States.
The countries concluded negotiations on the draft text, and the agreement was
initialed at the Tenth Conference, held February 7-11, 1994 in Washington. The
"Convention on the Conservation and Management of Pollock Resources in the
Central Bering Sea" contains provisions that require vessels fishing for pollock in
the region to use real-time satellite position-fixing transmitters, to carry observers,
and to consent to boarding and inspection by authorized officials of any other party
for compliance with the Convention. The United States serves as depositary for the
Convention, which will enter into force thirty days following the deposit of instru-
ments of ratification, acceptance, or approval of the Convention by at least four sig-
natory States, including the United States and Russia.
The Convention was opened for signature in Washington on June 16, 1994, and
has been signed by each of the countries that participated in the negotiation of the
agreement. Additionally, each country is currently undertaking its respective domes-
tic procedures to ratify the Convention.
Mr. Chairman, I would be remiss if I did not note the benefit received throughout
the negotiations from the support provided by the National Marine Fisheries Serv-
ice, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Coast
Guard. Equally important in our three year effort toward the successful conclusion
of the Convention was the close cooperation, counsel, and advice provided by rep-
resentatives of the States of Alaska and Washington, as well as from members of
the U.S. Bering Sea and North Pacific Advisors Body, all of whom support the Con-
vention's early ratification and entry into force. I also wish to acknowledge the sup-
port and advice provided by Congressional staff during the negotiations.
Mr. Chairman, I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have regard-
ing the negotiations or the Convention itself. I trust that the Committee will view
the Convention favorably and will act on it at an early date. Thank you.
The Chairman. I noted with interest in your comments about the
Donut Hole Convention and its relationship to the Law of the Sea
Convention. I was wondering what basis there would be in inter-
national law for agreements to control fishing on the high seas in
the absence of the Law of the Sea Convention/
Ambassador Colson. Mr. Chairman, in this negotiation, which
was a very difficult negotiation with the six countries concerned,
from the outset we were able to agree on the basic principles of the
Convention. If we did not have those basic principles, we would
have been starting way behind the curve. But those basic prin-
ciples, and agreement internationally on those basic principles,
kept us from a very chaotic situation.
While we assert the right to a 200-mile zone and while Russia
asserts a right to a 200-mile zone, the principles of the Convention
confirm that we are entitled in international law to have a 200-
mile jurisdiction of our own. As well, we assert a coastal state in-
terest in the pollock resource outside of our 200-mile zone, that we
have rights and interests in that resource, but the Convention con-
firms that we do. And it requires other states that may be fishing
that resource to cooperate with us and to work out arrangements
that take account of our coastal state interest.
If we did not have those basic principles, we would simply be
starting from ground zero in a negotiation, where everyone would
be on an equal footing, and it would be a very difficult situation
to sort out. But in this situation we have these basic principles of
Certainly these were, from time to time, subject to different in-
terpretations by different countries, but those bedrock principles
were the foundation upon which this agreement was built. And
they were key, I believe, to moving countries like Japan in particu-
lar, which of course is a very legalistic country, moving them to a
position where they were prepared to accept terms and conditions
in this kind of convention which they might not have been willing
to do if there was not a Law of the Sea foundation for the interests
that the United States was asserting.
The Chairman. So this would be one more reason why we ought
to go ahead with the Law of the Sea?
Ambassador Colson. Very much so. And I would also note again
the importance that the dispute settlement provisions of the Con-
vention, with respect to fisheries, could have in helping enforce
compliance with this Donut Hole Convention. We will have, assum-
ing that we ratify the Law of the Sea Convention, additional tools
that will supplement our diplomacy to help ensure compliance with
general principles of international law, as well as the specific obli-
gations of this Convention in the Donut Hole if states refuse to go
along with those rules.
The Chairman. Thank you.
In the letter from the Secretary of State submitting the Conven-
tion it states that the Department of State stands ready to work
with the Congress toward the enactment of any implementing leg-
islation. My question to you is: Is implementing legislation nec-
essary for us to carry out the obligations of the Convention, and
what statutory authorities are needed?
Ambassador Colson. Yes, Mr. Chairman, that is an important
issue. The administration has not proposed implementing legisla-
tion for this Convention because it is unnecessary if we move for-
ward and ratify the flagging convention and pass the implementing
legislation which has been submitted to the Congress relating to
the flagging convention.
If we pass that convention and that set of rules that are con-
tained in the flagging convention implementing legislation, we will
have all the necessary legal authorities for the United States to
technically implement the Donut Hole Convention on our side. So,
we have seen it as an unnecessary step to establish second addi-
tional implementing legislation separately for the Donut Hole.
Certainly if we were to, for some reason, not be able to ratify the
flagging convention or fail to pass the necessary implementing leg-
islation, there would be a need to pass implementing legislation for
this Donut Hole agreement. Also I would note that often our fish-
eries implementing legislation creates some set of advisors or some
advisory process that we utilize for the purpose of getting public
input into positions that the United States might take.
We do not really see a need for that in the Donut Hole situation
because Pub. L. 100-629, which sets up the North Pacific and Ber-
ing Sea Fisheries Advisory Body, which we used in the negotiation
of this Convention as our set of advisors, would seem to us to be
sufficient for this purpose. And it would be our intent to continue
to utilize that group as the advisors for the Donut Hole Conven-
The Chairman. Notwithstanding its mandatory features in this
Convention, the success of the conservation management regime
contemplated by the Convention depends upon the voluntary co-
operation of the parties. What gives you the confidence to feel that
that voluntary cooperation will be present?
Ambassador Colson. Well, first, I would say that throughout the
course of this negotiation it has always been tough in dealing with
our colleagues from Japan and China and Poland and Korea, but
I think they have been cooperative. And they certainly have been
cooperative in the last 2V2 years when they voluntarily agreed not
to fish in the Donut Hole. And I think they want to see the stock
rebuild and they want to see a potential possibility of a fishery in
the Donut Hole in the future on a healthy stock offish.
I am confident that the agreement that we have reached gives
us the tools to ensure full compliance with the obligations that the
United States and these other five states are taking on.
We have about as much assurance as we are ever going to get
about how that fishery is going to be conducted in that region. The
requirement of satellite transponders will give us immediate access
to the information of where vessels are at any particular time. We
will be able to ensure that vessels are not cheating in our zone.
We will have the right to place U.S. observers on any foreign
fishing vessel that we want to put U.S. observers on. We will have
the right to board and inspect any fishing vessel for any purpose
in the Donut Hole area. And certainly we have that right in our
zone. And if we find violations, it is clear that if they are serious
violations, we will be able to continue the boarding process and
hold on to that vessel until we have full assurance that appropriate
penalties will be levied by the flag state.
The Chairman. The Convention calls on the parties to agree by
consensus on national harvest levels for pollock. And I think we
would call this the individual national quotas. If the consensus on
the individual national quotas cannot be reached, then the Conven-
tion provides that fishing shall take place in the Convention area
pursuant to part two of the annex. Could you describe part two and
its purpose for the committee and how it would ensure that the
sum of each party's pollock catch in the Convention area does not
exceed the agreed upon annual harvest?
I realize this is a rather technical question, but we would appre-
ciate the answer.
Ambassador Colson. Mr. Chairman, we do not have all of the
answers to all of the technical details in that respect, but I can say
this. During the course of the negotiation, it appeared to be very
difficult to divide up a total allowable catch in some way amongst
the six countries concerned, where we all thought that we were
being fairly treated.
It was agreed that if that was not possible — and I would submit
it is most likely that that will not be possible — then the way that
we would conduct the fishery in the Donut Hole would be to estab-
lish a fishing season during which the fishery would be opened.
There would oe very clear catch reporting requirements. We would
have observers on board to monitor the catch. And we would only
keep that fishery opened until such time as the total allowable
catch had been caught.
We would have real-time information about the amount of fish
that was being taken in the Donut Hole based upon weekly catch
reporting data and based upon the observer information that we
would receive. We would close the fishery. If some vessel stayed in
the fishery after it was closed, that would be a serious violation
under which we could exercise our enforcement rights under this
The Chairman. I thank you very much indeed.
We have been joined by Senator Murkowski, who I think has
some comments and questions on this matter.
Senator Murkowski. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I particularly am appreciative of you for having rescheduled this
hearing on the Donut Hole. And I apologize for being late. As you
know, over at the Library of Congress, is the opening of the Rus-
sian-Alaska Exhibit, which is an extraordinary collection of arti-
facts from the Russian Orthodox Church and the early history of
Russia's founding of the Western United States as it is known
President Gorbachev conceded that Columbus founded America,
but he said that the Russians founded Western America, or Alaska.
And in the presentation, he had a check prepared to buy back Alas-
ka, $7,200,000, or thereabouts, with interest. And Senator Stevens
is calculating the interest and will be here at some point. I do not
know whether there was any acceptance of that, but we will see
what the interest tallies up to.
But, in any event, let me just make a few comments, because I
think that this is a noteworthy day, and a number of people de-
serve credit, including those in the State Department who have
worked the Donut Hole issue. And for those of you who do not
know, that is the area that is 200 miles out from Alaska, 200 miles
out from Russia, and it is called the Donut Hole because it is out-
side the jurisdiction of the 200-mile limits.
We have seen a situation where unlimited fisheries took place in
an area where the most productive fishery in the North Pacific or,
for that matter, anywhere in the world existed. And without appro-
priate regulations, as you know, Mr. Chairman, the fishery stood
to go into substantial decline. So we have had a lot of people in-
There was an interesting group, Mr. Chairman, that I think de-
serves credit, including some civilian advisors from Alaska — and
also a fisherman by the name of Sam Gjelle and a gentleman by
the name of Ted Evans. Gjelle chartered a small aircraft, flew out
there, and took pictures of what was going on at a time when we
suspected — but had no proof — of illegal fishing out there. These
gentlemen made a videotape of as many as seven vessels using the
donut area to stage raids into the U.S. zone.
The Chairman. I must interrupt. There is a vote going on. Do
you want me to go over and come back?
Senator Murkowski. If you would like to go over and then we
will trade off, that would be fine. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In any event, I think Gjelle and Evans and their videotape de-
serve recognition, because they brought to light, in an expedited
manner, a situation that we were concerned about but on which we
had not gotten the evidence. And I think it really showed the seri-
ousness of what was happening in and out of the exclusive eco-
The concern, of course, was for the pollock stocks that spawn
largely in U.S. waters. The reported catches from the Donut area,
we were told, equalled the catches from the U.S. zone, and unre-
ported harvests were known to take a far greater volume.
We know that vessels from Japan, China, Korea, and Poland
really found a gold mine in that unregulated fishery. As a con-
sequence, it was necessary that something be done.
We soon saw, as we suspected, that even the Bering Sea could
not sustain that limitless harvest, and, as we saw, the catches from
the unregulated harvests in the Central Bering Sea really were a
back door to this country's very richest and most abundant fish-
eries resources — and that was of course the pollock EEZ.
Today, we are moving to close that door. And that is the signifi-
cance of what we have before us. Because since the mid-1980's, I,
along with Senator Stevens, have sponsored numerous resolutions.
We have held meetings with administration officials. We have had
lots of meetings with foreign government representatives, both here
and abroad, to increase the awareness of the Donut Hole.
And, in 1992, we passed legislation making it illegal for U.S. ves-
sels to fish in the Donut Hole, and, together with the fishing na-
tions, reached an agreement for a temporary suspension of all fish-
ing through the end of this year. And now we are in a position
where we are ready to adopt a permanent measure.
The treaty we are addressing today, I think, is an excellent one.
When the pollock biomass becomes sufficient to allow fishing to
occur, there is a procedure under the treaty to provide that all par-
ties ensure that its vessels are specifically licensed to fish in the
area, that they carry position transmitters that they and are re-
quired to carry fishery observers on a full-time basis. So, we have
the appropriate regulatory oversights established.
The treaty also provides very strong provisions on boarding and
inspection. One of the problems we nave always had is enforce-
ment. We now will have the needed enforcement authority. All fish-
ing vessels will be subject to boarding and inspection by vessels of
another party if there is reason to suspect that there are violations.
If violations are found, the vessel's flag state has the responsibility.
However, if the flag state cannot take over in a serious case, the
boarding party can maintain control until appropriate arrange-
ments are made.
I am particularly pleased with these enforcement measures, be-
cause, together with provisions calling for observers and real-time
position transmitters, they are things that I have strongly encour-
aged and which will make it possible to ensure that no fishing ves-
sel is able to use fishing in the Donut Hole to repeat the kind of
raids we have seen in the past number of years.
Finally, let me note in my opening remarks that although no
country will be compelled to join the treaty in order to fish, inter-
national law allows the use of a variety of mechanisms to encour-
age it to do so, including trade sanctions. And, once the Convention
on the Law of the Sea goes into effect, that agreement's dispute
mechanism, I understand, may also be used to encourage coopera-
So, in all, I think the treaty sets a new standard of international
I am certainly happy to give it my full support and encourage all
members of the committee to do the same.
And, again, I want to thank Chairman Pell for his kindness in
being responsive to the concern that the Alaska delegation has had
for a long time and, which I know that he shares.
That is all I have for my opening statement. We are here to hear
some more from our witness, the Hon. Ambassador Colson.
I apologize for interrupting you, but that is the procedure around
here — apologizing and interrupting. So, please, proceed. It is nice
to see you again.
Ambassador Colson. Well, Senator, it is good to see you again,
too. I had concluded my informal remarks, but I would like to un-
derscore a few points.
Senator Murkowski. I might add that the second bell has rung,
so I have 7 minutes to go over for a vote. I do not know whether
the chairman is going to get back here, but I am good for at least
3V2 to 4 minutes.
Ambassador Colson. I want to underscore the importance that
I attach to the cooperation that we received from the North Pacific
and Bering Sea advisors. They played a very, very key role in this
process. And as you know, in any negotiation it is a dynamic proc-
ess. It moves from where you start, and you end up often in a
slightly different place.
One of the things that was really very encouraging in this proc-
ess was to watch our advisors and their positions and their interest
in creating an international solution to this problem, rather than
a unilateral solution, evolve, and their comfort level — that we got
a good deal in this process. And I think we did.
If we look back where we started the negotiations and some of
the things we were prepared to offer, we ended up in a much better
position. We ended up with this position that there will not be any
fishing there until the biomass reaches a particular level. And we
are in control of that.
Senator Murkowski. Whose science determines the biomass? Is
that our science?
Ambassador Colson. In all of these conventions you usually
need — at one level you are going to try to work it out internation-
ally. There will be an effort to decide by consensus. But the key
point on this Convention is that there is a fail-safe mechanism. If
we cannot decide the biomass by consensus, it will be decided
based upon what we decide for the Bogoslof part of the stock in our
zone. And it is a very key point that our decision will be the driver
Senator Murkowski. OK, it will be our science.
Ambassador Colson. And while we will certainly coordinate and
cooperate with the other countries involved, we are not going to get
into one of these situations where one of the fishing countries has
a scientific view and we have a scientific view and we cannot make
them meet, and so we have a chaotic situation.
Senator Murkowski. So, you do not see another situation like
the U.S. -Canada salmon treaty?
Ambassador Colson. No, I certainly hope not.
Senator Murkowski. I hope not also.
Ambassador Colson. Here we have some very clear rules. We
have very clear enforcement authority. We have a strong conserva-
tion ethic built into it. We will have a very limited fishery. I do not
expect we will ever see the kind of fishery that we had in 1987,
1988, and 1989, even when the stock rebuilds. I think that was a
historic anomaly. We knocked the stock apart. It is going to take
some time for them to recover.
Senator Murkowski. "Some time" is how long?
Ambassador Colson. Well, we know that in 1995 there is not
going to be any fishing on this stock. The scientific indications con-
tinue to go down. We had thought that for 1995 we might begin
to see a leveling off or maybe a rebounding. But I think that most
scientists would say it will be at least a couple of years before we
see this turn around.
Senator Murkowski. Before you see a halt in the decline?
Ambassador Colson. Right. And then it is going to take some
time to rebuild.
Now, as you know, you get anomalies, where you have very
strong year classes from time to time, which, for some reason that
you cannot really explain, show up in the fishery. And there is a
lot of suspicion that what we had was an anomaly, where we had
a very strong year class that was present in the Donut Hole for
that late period in the 1980's. And also there is a lot of suspicion —
and we will never know the truth of this — that a lot of those fish
that were said to be caught in the Donut Hole were really taken
in our zone.
What we have now is a situation that if we get to a point that
we all are comfortable that a fishery could be conducted in the
Donut Hole, that fishery is going to be very carefully controlled. As
you said, we are going to know if we have any cheating going on
in our zone. We will have those transponders on. We will have ob-
servers on. That is not going to occur again.
And if there is a fishery, it is going to be a very limited fishery
and a very carefully controlled fishery.
Senator Murkowski. I am sorry, Ambassador, I have to leave. I
am going to recess, because I am quite sure that Senator Stevens
is going to come over here.
I want to personally commend you for your knowledge and exper-
tise and contribution to bringing this about. I do not feel it would
have happened without your commitment and your convincing ar-
guments, which were made on sound science and not emotion.
Ambassador Colson. Thank you.
Senator Murkowski. I hope you also will be able to continue
your service as an expert on the Canadian salmon issue. Unfortu-
nately, it is still very much hanging in the balance.
So, I will simply recess the hearing. I understand Senator Pell
is on his way back. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
[A brief recess was taken.]
The Chairman. The committee will come back to order.
Senator Murkowski informed me that he has had the opportunity
of asking some questions. Senator Stevens cannot be with us be-
cause of conflicting commitments. So, without objection, I would
ask that his statement be inserted in the record as if read.
[The prepared statement of Senator Stevens follows:]
Prepared Statement of Senator Ted Stevens
CENTRAL BERING SEA "DOUGHNUT HOLE" AGREEMENT
I appreciate the opportunity to present this statement. My thanks to Chairman
Pell and Senator Helms for allowing me this privilege.
What we call the "Donut Convention" is officially called the "Convention on the
Conservation and Management of Pollock Resources in the Central Bering Sea."
We began work on this agreement well over five years ago.
As you may remember, in 1987, U.S. fishermen operating off Alaska presented
video evidence to the Coast Guard and to Congress of foreign vessels using the
Donut Hole as a staging area for illegal fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic
On March 21, 1988, the Senate passed my resolution (S. Res. 396) calling on the
Secretary of State to initiate negotiations for a moratorium on fishing in the Central
Bering Sea Donut area.
This resolution called on the Secretary to ensure that the moratorium would stay
in effect until after the U.S. and Russia could reach agreement with the other inter-
ested nations on measures to conserve and manage the fishery resources in the
The U.S. and Russia convened a series of meetings on fishing in the Donut start-
ing in 1991.
Between 1989 and 1992, we saw the dramatic decline that was occurring in the
Aleutian Basin pollock stock, culminating in the closure of fisheries for this stock
inside the U.S. EEZ in 1992.
We increased our pressure to conserve the Donut Hole resources in 1992 by pass-
ing the "Central Bering Sea Fisheries Enforcement Act" (title III of Pub.L. 102-582),
This Act prohibited U.S. nationals and vessels from fishing in the Donut except
when allowed under an international fishery agreement to which both the U.S. and
Russia are parties.
The Donut Enforcement Act also prohibited the entry into U.S. ports of fishing
vessels from foreign nations fishing in the Donut outside of an international agree-
ment to which both the U.S. and Russia are parties.
Following the passage of this Act, the U.S\, Russia, China, Japan, Korea and Po-
land agreed in 1992 to a two-year voluntary moratorium on fishing in the Donut
The U.S. continued to meet with these nations to work on a permanent regime
for the conservation and management of fishery resources in the Donut Hole.
Last November, just before the ninth round of Donut meetings, the Appropria-
tions Committee included report language at my request in the Foreign Operations
appropriations bill (Pub .L. 103-87).
This language recommended that the cooperation of the nations participating in
the Donut negotiations be considered in deciding how much foreign aid the U.S.
The goal again was to increase pressure on the other nations to successfully con-
clude these Donut negotiations.
Near the end of the session last year, we also passed a "Sense of the Congress"
resolution as part of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1993 (Pub. L. 103-206),
calling on the United States to use all available means to reach an agreement in
the Donut Hole.
These additional measures led to the completion in February 1994, at the tenth
round of Donut meetings, of the Convention you are considering today.
The United States, Russia, China and Korea each initialed this agreement at a
ceremony on June 16, 1994, and Japan and Poland agreed to the Convention on Au-
gust 4, 1994 and August 25, 1994, respectively.
The President signed the Convention for the U.S. on August 9, 1994.
The Agreement will allow the U.S. and Russia to set harvest levels for the Donut,
and will allow the U.S. and other parties to board vessels suspected of violating the
The Convention also includes important notification procedures for fishing vessels
entering the Dough nut Hole and for transshipping fish, and also includes fishery
observer requirements for member nations.
I come before you today to urge the Committee on Foreign Relations to send this
measure to the Senate floor so that we can complete the advice and consent process
before the adjournment of the 103rd Congress.
The Donut Convention is vitally important to the conservation of pollock both in
the high seas area of the Bering Sea, and inside the Exclusive Economic Zones of
both the United States and Russia.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, I note that the Commerce Committee reported out last
week the High Seas Fisheries Licensing Act that Senator Kerry and I introduced.
This act would implement and the Donut Convention. I hope to work with you and
this committee to pass this legislation this year.
The Chairman. I would add that in connection with the bound-
ary convention that I do believe that the Governor for the Virgin
Islands should be informed. And we are in communication with
him, hoping that the points that concern him can be resolved. If
they are not resolved for the moment, as a responsible chairman,
I feel that I should have the prerogative of holding off if he is not
Ambassador Colson. I understand that point, Mr. Chairman. We
will be working with your staff this afternoon to see if there is
something that we can do to explain the situation to the Governor.
As I said, the line is, for all practical purposes, the same line.
It was the line that we have used since 1977. That line had 150-
some turning points, so it was a very complicated line that was
simply derived by computer. There was some straightening, if you
will, so that the line became a simpler line.
The United States was not disadvantaged in any way. I am told
by our technicians we actually picked up a few acres in that proc-
ess. So, as far as the amounts of acreage at stake, I think there
is nothing to be concerned about. And we certainly did not give up
any ground that was known to be of interest. But we will work
with your staff this afternoon and see if we can do something to
satisfy the Governor.
The Chairman. Good. I thank you very much, indeed.
I very much want this to go through, because you know how
much I believe in the Law of the Sea, and I recognize the connec-
Thank you for being with us.
The hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:30 a.m., the hearing was adjourned, to recon-
vene subject to the call of the Chair.]
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