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June 12, 1998

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Hope, creativity, and imagination. These are the traits that enabled and inspired the very first explorers to take to the seas in search of more fertile shores. These are the traits that have allowed us to look at our inextricable tie to our environment and invent new ways to protect our natural wonders from harm. In the 21st Century, these are the traits that will allow us to preserve our living oceans as a sacred legacy for all generations to come.

President Bill Clinton
June 12, 1998

Today, President Clinton and Vice President Gore attend the National Ocean Conference in Monterey, California. In remarks to the Conference, the President will launch a series of major initiatives to explore, protect and restore America's vital ocean resources.

Protecting An Irreplaceable Resource. Oceans sustain nearly half of all life on Earth and provide us with many vital resources, including food, energy, commerce, and medicine. As we move into the 21st Century, we will look increasingly toward the oceans to meet our everyday needs. President Clinton and Vice President are committed to protecting our oceans, and have already launched initiatives from restoring our beaches, bays and coastal areas to leading international negotiations to protect migratory fish stocks in support of their environmental agenda.

A Presidential Plan To Preserve Our Oceans For The 21st Century. Today, the President will announce a series of measures to ensure that the ocean remains a vital and sustainable natural resource in the future:

  • Protecting Our Oceans From Offshore Oil Drilling. The President is issuing a directive extending the moratorium on offshore leasing for an additional ten years, and permanently barring new leasing in national marine sanctuaries.
  • Sustaining Our Marine Resources. The President is announcing measures to reduce overfishing and protect fish habitats: 1) Banning the sale and import of undersized Atlantic swordfish, and ensuring protection of essential fish habitats; A cooperative effort with private industry to develop new technologies that net only targeted species of fish; 2) Signing an Executive Order to protect and restore coral reefs; 3) Calling on Congress to pass his Clean Water Action Plan, which targets reductions in land-based pollution that threatens marine life.
  • Deepening Our Understanding Of The Seas. The U.S. military will release previously classified data to help researchers track marine mammals, predict deadly storms, detect illegal fishing, and gain new insight into the complexities of global climate change. By 2002, the government will complete an advanced ocean monitoring system that will provide data for climate change research.
  • Ports for the 21st Century. The President is proposing a new Harbor Services Fund to ensure that our ports and harbors remain competitive as international trade expands in the 21st Century.
  • Joining the Law Of The Sea Convention. The President is calling on the U.S. Senate to ratify the Law of the Sea Convention, which extends the rule of law to the world's oceans.

Building on A Solid Record Of Success. Today's announcements will provide new scientific insight into the oceans, promote the sustainable use of fisheries and other marine resources, open new opportunities for jobs and economic growth, preserve national security and freedom of the seas, and help preserve our oceans for all time.

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