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US action on International Fishing Disputes
While the United Nations has passed several resolutions and treaties regarding fisheries, the United States has typically refused to ratify such measurers.UNCLOS III, the most comprehensive attempt at a unified body of maritime law, has yet to be given the consent of the Senate.The sticking provisions of this treaty primarily deal with provisions for deep-sea mineral rights.Many US companies have already begun exploration in deep-sea minerals and the UN convention calls for deep-sea minerals to be the "common heritage of mankind".This, along with provisions for the required transfer of marine technology, have prompted Senator Helms (Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee) to oppose this treaty and effectively kill it.
While the US may reject certain provisions of UNCLOS III, they did rush to utilize the provisions of the 200 mile EEZ before the treaty was officially adopted.In 1976 Congress adopted a bill known as the Magnuson Act.This piece of legislation made full use of the concept of exclusive economic zones extending 200 miles to sea.The intent of the law was to bring fisheries within that area back into the exclusive domain of US fishermen.This piece of legislation has been the hinge-pin in most US fisheries regulations since 76', and was most recently renewed in 1996.
If the United States is often the driving force behind the proposal of many treaties such as UNCLOS III, why does the US fail to ratify them?In short, there is not a single area to lay blame.Procedural rules, American ideology, and the relatively increasing autonomy of US legislators all contribute to making passage of comprehensive treaties extremely difficult.
There is a significant procedural and political disconnect between the executive branch which negotiates treaties, and the Senate which ratifies them.The executive branch, here primar