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west longitude; to 25°59'48.28" north latitude, 93°26'42.19" west longitude.
In the Eastern Gulf of Mexico:
(a) A geodesic line from 25°42'13.05" north latitude; 91°05'24.89" west longitude; to 25°46'52.00" north latitude; 90°29'41.00" west longitude.
(b) A geodesic line from 25°46'52.00" north latitude; 90°29'41.00" west longitude; to 25°41'56.52" north latitude, 88°23'05.54" west longitude.
The above coordinates have been determined using baselines referred to the North American Datum of 1927.
It would be understood between the two Governments that on the north side of such lines Mexico would not, and on the south side of such lines the United States would not, for any purpose, claim or exercise sovereign rights or jurisdiction over the waters or seabed and subsoil. It would be further understood that such lines would not affect or prejudice in any manner the positions of either government with respect to the extent of internal waters, of the Territorial Sea, of the High Seas or of sovereign rights or jurisdiction for any other purpose.
In Treasure Salvors v. Abandoned Sailing Vessel, 408 F. Supp. 907 (1976), the finders of an unidentified, wrecked and abandoned vessel on the Continental Shelf outside the territorial waters of the United States brought action for possession and confirmation of title against all persons. The United States answered and counterclaimed, seeking title to the vessel under the Antiquities Act, 16 U.S.C. 432, 433, and the Abandoned Property Act, 40 U.S.C. 310.
The District Court for the Southern District of Florida, on February 3, 1976, granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs. It held that Congress had not exercised its sovereign prerogative to the extent necessary to justify a claim to an abandoned vessel located on the outer continental shelf.
The United States claimed title to the vessel, which was believed to have sunk about the year 1622, on the grounds that objects of antiquity recovered by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are taken in the name of the sovereign and are the property of the people of the country as a whole. The argument was based on the concept of sovereign prerogative, a common law notion derived from the right of the King of England to objects recovered from the sea by his subjects. To this the Court replied:
The Antiquities Act applies to any object of antiquity "situate on lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States." The Abandoned Property Act embraces property "within the jurisdiction of the United States." This Court finds that the property of the wreck involved in this case is neither within the jurisdiction of the United States nor owned or controlled by our government.
The Court rejected the Government's assertion that 43 U.S.C. 1332 et seq. (the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act) brought the abandoned vessel within its jurisdiction and thus within the purview of the Antiquities Act and the Abandoned Property Act. It noted that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act "merely asserts jurisdiction over the minerals in and under the Continental Shelf." It added that the Government's jurisdictional assertion was further discounted by article 2 of the Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf (TIAS 5578; 15 UST 471; entered into force for the United States June 10, 1964), which states that a coastal state exercises sovereign rights over the Continental Shelf "for the purpose of exploring it and exploiting its natural resources." The Court stated that even if the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953 had brought the abandoned property within U.S. jurisdiction, that Act would be superseded in respect of any incompatible terminology by the Convention. In this light, said the Court, "the United States has no basis for asserting its sovereign rights in sunken treasure (which, of course, is not a natural resource) found on the outer continental shelf."
The United States extended its fishery conservation jurisdiction to 200 miles off its coasts, effective March 1, 1977, by enactment of the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (P.L. 94-265; 90 Stat. 331; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), approved April 13, 1976. The purposes of the Act are stated in section 2(b) as follows:
(1) to take immediate action to conserve and manage the fishery resources found off the coasts of the United States, and the anadromous species and Continental Shelf fishery resources of the United States, by establishing (A) a fishery conservation zone within which the United States will assume exclusive fishery management authority over all fish, except highly migratory species, and (B) exclusive fishery management authority beyond such zone over such anadromous species and Continental Shelf fishery resources;
(2) to support and encourage the implementation and enforcement of international fishery agreements for the conservation and management of highly migratory species, and to encourage the
negotiation and implementation of additional such agreements as necessary;
(3) to promote domestic commercial and recreational fishing under sound conservation and management principles;
(4) to provide for the preparation and implementation, in accordance with national standards, of fishery management plans which will achieve and maintain, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from each fishery;
(5) to establish Regional Fishery Management Councils to prepare, monitor, and revise such plans under circumstances (A) which will enable the States, the fishing industry, consumer and environmental organizations, and other interested persons to participate in, and advise on, the establishment and administration of such plans and (B) which take into account the social and economic needs of the States; and
(6) to encourage the development of fisheries which are currently underutilized or not utilized by United States fishermen, including bottom fish off Alaska.
A statement of congressional policy in section 2(c) specifies maintenance of existing U.S. territorial or other ocean jurisdiction for all other purposes without change; noninterference with recognized legitimate uses of the high seas, except as necessary for fishery conservation and management; permission for foreign fishing consistent with the Act; and support for continued active U.S. efforts to obtain an internationally acceptable treaty at the U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea.
Title I of the Act reads as follows:
SEC. 101. FISHERY CONSERVATION ZONE
There is established a zone contiguous to the territorial sea of the United States to be known as the fishery conservation zone. The inner boundary of the fishery conservation zone is a line coterminous with the seaward boundary of each of the coastal States, and the outer boundary of such zone is a line drawn in such a manner that each point on it is 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the territorial sea is measured.
SEC.102. EXCLUSIVE FISHERY MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY.
The United States shall exercise exclusive fishery management authority, in the manner provided for in this Act, over the following:
(1) All fish within the fishery conservation zone.
(2) All anadromous species throughout the migratory range of each such species beyond the fishery conservation zone; except that such management authority shall not extend to such species during the time they are found within any foreign nation's territorial sea or fishery conservation zone (or the equivalent), to the extent that such sea or zone is recognized by the United States.
(3) All Continental Shelf fishery resources beyond the fishery conservation zone.
SEC. 103. HIGHLY MIGRATORY SPECIES.
The exclusive fishery management authority of the United
States shall not include, nor shall it be construed to extend to, highly migratory species of fish.
SEC. 104. EFFECTIVE DATE.
This title shall take effect March 1, 1977.
Title II prohibits foreign fishing within the 200-mile zone, except as provided in the Act and under a valid permit. It gives priority in the zone to U.S. vessels and permits foreign fishing only for that portion of the optimum yield which will not be harvested by U.S. vessels. Title II also calls for renegotiation of existing fishery agreements which are in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the Act. It declares the sense of Congress that the United States shall withdraw from any such treaty, in accordance with its provisions, which is not so renegotiated within a reasonable time. It also declares the sense of Congress that
the United States Government shall not recognize the claim of any foreign nation to a fishery conservation zone (or the equivalent) beyond such nation's territorial sea, to the extent that such sea is recognized by the United States, if such nation
(1) fails to consider and take into account traditional fishing activity of fishing vessels of the United States;
(2) fails to recognize and accept that highly migratory species are to be managed by applicable international fishery agreements, whether or not such nation is a party to any such agreement; or
(3) imposes on fishing vessels of the United States any conditions or restrictions which are unrelated to fishery conservation and management.
Congressional oversight of international fishing agreements is to be accomplished by a requirement that no such agreement may become effective less than 60 days after its transmittal to Congress, where it is subject to a joint resolution to prohibit its entry into force.
Import prohibitions may be imposed on fish or fish products from a foreign nation if the Secretary of State is unable within a reasonable time to conclude an agreement with that nation for equitable U.S. fishing rights in that nation's exclusive managment zone; or if that nation is refusing U.S. vessels access to highly migratory species in accordance with an international agreement or is not complying with its obligations under such an agreement concerning U.S. fishing in its exclusive zone; or if it seizes any U.S. fishing vessel in violation of an international agreement, without authorization under an agreement with the United States or as a consequence of a claim of jurisdiction not recognized by the United States.
Title III of the Act establishes a national fishery management plan, with eight Regional Fishery Management Councils. Fishery management plans prepared by any Council require approval of the Secretary of Commerce, publication in the Federal Register allowing
45 days for comment by interested persons, public hearings if scheduled by the Secretary, and promulgation of regulations with effect in such manner as not to disrupt the regular fishing season. Regulations are subject to judicial review pursuant to chapter 7 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code.
Upon signing the Fishery Conservation and Management Act into law, President Ford issued a statement expressing his concerns regarding certain legal problems which it raised. An excerpt from his statement follows:
I am concerned about our ability to fulfill the tasks in the time and manner provided in the Act. I am particularly anxious that no action be taken which would compromise our commitment to protect the freedom of navigation and the welfare of our distant water fisheries. Surely we would not wish to see the United States engaged in international disputes because of an absence of needed flexibility.
Additionally, I am concerned about four specific problem areas which are raised by this legislation:
First, absent affirmative action, the subject bill could raise serious impediments for the United States in meeting its obligations under existing treaty and agreement obligations;
Second, the bill contemplates unilateral enforcement of a prohibition on foreign fishing for native anadromous species, such as salmon, seaward of the 200-mile zone. Enforcement of such a provision, absent bilateral or multilateral agreement, would be contrary to the sound precepts of international jurisprudence;
Third, the enforcement provisions of H. R. 200 dealing with the seizure of unauthorized fishing vessels, lack adequate assurances of reciprocity in keeping with the tenets of international law; and
Fourth, the measure purports to encroach upon the exclusive province of the Executive relative to matters under international negotiations.
Although these matters are of major importance, I am hopeful they can be resolved by responsible administrative action and, if necessary, by curative legislation. Accordingly, I am instructing the Secretary of State to lead Administration efforts toward their effective resolution.
For the full text of President Ford's statement, see Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Vol. 12, No. 16, Apr. 19, 1976, p. 644. On Dec. 20, 1976, the National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Dept. of Commerce, made available for public comment draft regulations which could be promulgated to implement Preliminary Management Plans under the Act. The draft regulations were intended to apply only to foreign fishing vessels within the area over which the United States exercises exclusive fishery management authority. Final regulations were to be adopted by early February of 1977. The draft regulations (50 CFR 611.1-611.94) contain general rules and subparts on surpluses and individual geographic areas.