International Organizations in Which the United States Participates

By Laurence F. Schmeckebier | Go to book overview
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What is said to be the first effective international undertaking for the conservation of a high sea fishery was provided in the convention between the United States and Great Britain, signed March 2, 1923 (43 Stat. L. 1841), for the preservation of the halibut fishery in the Pacific Ocean adjacent to the United States and Canada.

At the present time the annual catch of halibut in the northern Pacific amounts to about 50,000,000 pounds, or 60 per cent of the world catch. The northern Pacific yield has an annual value of about $7,000,000. The fishery is in the high seas adjacent to 1,800 miles of the coast of the continental United States, Canada, and Alaska.2

For some years the yield of the fishery had been decreasing, and in 1916 a bill (S.4586) passed the Senate providing for a definite closed season contingent upon concurrent action by the Canadian government. Joint action by the two governments was necessary, as the fishing grounds were outside the territorial limits of both powers, and control over the fishery could be made effective only by restricting the use of vessels owned by nationals of the two powers. This bill was favorably reported to the House on January 29, 1917,3 but never came to a vote.

An earlier International Fisheries Commission dealing with United States-Canadian border fishery problems was created by the convention of April 11, 1908 ( Malloy, Treaties, U.S., 1776-1909, Vol. 1, p. 827; 35 Stat. L. 2000). The regulations agreed upon are given in 61 Cong. 2 sess., H. doc. 638. That Commission did not deal with the halibut fishery.
"Report of the International Fisheries Commission Appointed under Northern Pacific Halibut Treaty," Appendix I to Report of United States Commissioner of Fisheries for the Fiscal Year 1930, p. 1.
64 Cong., H. rep. 1370,


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