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The chair of the Congressionally-mandated US. Commission on Ocean Policy has urged the Senate to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea this year. Speaking at the Capitol Hill Oceans Week 2004 conference in Washington, D.C. on 10 June, James Watkins told the audience to help “break the hold that a couple of senators have on that bill.”

Ratification of the treaty is among the key recommendations of the commission's interim report, which was issued on 20 April. The commission has referred to the convention as a “constitution” for the oceans.