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Convention Between Canada and the United States of America for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the Northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea

E103707 - CTS 1953 No.14

The Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America, desiring to provide more effectively for the preservation of the halibut fishery of the Northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, have resolved to conclude a Convention replacing the Convention signed at Ottawa, January 29, 1937 and have named as their plenipotentiaries:

The Government of Canada:

The Honourable James Sinclair, Minister of Fisheries.
The Honourable Hughes Lapointe, Minister of Veterans Affairs.

The Government of the United States of America:

The Honourable Don C. Bliss, Chargé d’affaires ad interim
The Honourable William C. Herrington, Special Assistant for Fisheries and Wildlife to the Under-Secretary of State.

who, after having communicated to each other their respective full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed upon the following articles:


Article I

  1. The nationals and inhabitants and fishing vessels and boats of Canada and of the United States of America, respectively, are hereby prohibited from fishing for halibut (Hippoglossus) in Convention waters as therein defined, except as provided by the International Pacific Halibut Commission in regulations designed to develop the stocks of halibut in the Convention waters to those levels which will permit the maximum sustained yield and to maintain the stocks at those levels pursuant to Article III of this Convention.
  2. “Convention waters” means the territorial waters and the high seas off the western coasts of Canada and of the United States of America, including the southern as well as the western coasts of Alaska.
  3. It is understood that nothing contained in this Convention shall prohibit the nationals or inhabitants or the fishing vessels or boats of Canada or of the United States of America from fishing in the Convention waters for other species of fish during any season when fishing for halibut in the Convention waters is prohibited by this Convention or any regulations adopted pursuant to this Convention. It is further understood that nothing contained in this Convention shall prohibit the International Pacific Halibut Commission from conducting or authorizing fishing operations for investigation purposes at any time.

Article II

  1. Every national or inhabitant, vessel or boat of Canada or of the United States of America engaged in fishing on the high seas in violation of this Convention or of any regulation adopted pursuant thereto may be seized by duly authorized officers of either Contracting Party and detained by the officers making such seizure and delivered as soon as practicable to an authorized official of the country to which such person vessel or boat belongs, at the nearest point to the place of seizure or elsewhere as may be agreed upon. The authorities of the country to which such person, vessel or boat belongs alone shall have jurisdiction to conduct prosecutions for the violation of the provisions of this Convention or any regulations which may be adopted in pursuance thereof and to impose penalties for such violation, and the witnesses and proof necessary for such prosecutions, so far as any witnesses or proofs are under the control of the other Contracting Party, shall be furnished with all reasonable promptitude to the authorities having jurisdiction to conduct the prosecutions.
  2. Each Contracting Party shall be responsible for the proper observance of this Convention and of any regulations adopted under the provisions thereof in the portion of its waters covered thereby.

Article III

  1. The Contracting Parties agree to Continue under this Convention the Commission known as the International Fisheries Commission established by the Convention for the preservation of the halibut fishery, signed at Washington March 2, 1923, continued by the Convention signed at Ottawa, May 9, 1930 and further continued by the Convention, signed at Ottawa, January 29, 1937, except that after the date of entry into force of this Convention it shall consist of six members, three appointed by each Contracting Party, and shall be known as the International Pacific Halibut Commission. This Commission shall make such investigations as are necessary into the life history of the halibut in the Convention waters and shall publish a report of its activities and investigations from time to time. Each Contracting Party shall have power to fill, and shall fill from time to time, vacancies which may occur in its representation on the Commission. Each Contracting Party shall pay the salaries and expenses of its own members. Joint expenses incurred by the Commission shall be paid by the two Contracting Parties in equal moieties. All decisions of the Commission shall be made by a concurring vote of at least two of the Commissioners of each Contracting Party.
  2. The Contracting Parties agree that for the purpose of developing the stocks of halibut of the Northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea to levels which will permit the maximum sustained yield from that fishery and for maintaining the stocks at those levels, the International Pacific Halibut Commission, with the approval of the Governor General in Council of Canada and of the President of the United States of America may, after investigation has indicated such action to be necessary, in respect of the nationals and inhabitants and fishing vessels and boats of Canada and of the United States of America, and in respect of halibut:
    1. divide the Convention waters into areas;
    2. establish one or more open or closed seasons, as to each area;
    3. limit the size of the fish and the quantity of the catch to be taken from each area within any season during which fishing is allowed;
    4. during both open and closed seasons, permit, limit, regulate or prohibit, the incidental catch of halibut that may be taken, retained, possessed, or landed from each area or portion of an area, by vessels fishing for other species of fish;
    5. prohibit departure of vessels from any port or place, or from any receiving vessel or station, to any area for halibut fishing, after any date when in the judgment of the International Pacific Halibut Commission the vessels which have departed for that area prior to that date or which are known to be fishing in that area shall suffice to catch the limit which shall have been set for that area under section (c) of this paragraph;
    6. fix the size and character of halibut fishing appliances to be used in any area;
    7. make such regulations for the licensing and departure of vessels and for the collection of statistics of the catch of halibut as it shall find necessary to determine the condition and trend of the halibut fishery and to carry out the other provisions of this Convention;
    8. close to all taking of halibut such portion or portions of an area or areas as the International Pacific Halibut Commission finds to be populated by small, immature halibut and designates as nursery grounds.

Article IV

The Contracting Parties agree to enact and enforce such legislation as may be necessary to make effective the provisions of this Convention and any regulation adopted thereunder with appropriate penalties for violations thereof.


Article V

  1. This Convention shall be ratified and the instruments of ratification exchanged at Washington as soon as possible.
  2. This Convention shall enter into force on the date of exchange of ratifications and shall remain in force for a period of five years and thereafter until two years from the date on which either Contracting Party shall have given notice to the other of its desire to terminate it.
  3. This Convention shall from the date of the exchange of ratifications, replace and terminate the Convention for the preservation of the halibut fishery signed at Ottawa, January 29, 1937.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the respective plenipotentiaries have signed and sealed this Convention.

DONE at Ottawa in duplicate in the English language, this second day of March 1953.


James Sinclair
Hugues Lapointe

FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA


Don C. Bliss
William C. Herrington

FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA