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1. The present Convention shall be ratified in accordance with the constitutional procedures of each country and the instruments of ratification shall be exchanged at Washington as soon as possible.
2. The present Convention shall enter into force on the date of exchange of ratifications. It shall remain in force for a period of four years and thereafter until one year from the day on which either of the High Contracting Parties shall give notice to the other High Contracting Party of its intention of terminating the Convention.
3. In the event of termination of the Convention, property supplied to the Commission by the High Contracting Parties shall be returned to that High Contracting Party which originally provided it. Property otherwise acquired by the Commission, with the exception of the archives, shall be returned to the High Contracting Parties taking into account the proportion in which they shall have contributed to the expenses of the Commission.
4.—At the termination of this Convention the High Contracting Parties shall divide the archives of the Commission as follows: The United States of America shall receive the part in English and the United Mexican States, the part in Spanish. Either of the two countries shall be able to obtain certified copies of any document from the archives of the Commission which is in the possession of the other. These archives may be consulted at any time for this purpose by authorized representatives of the government not having in its possession the archives which it wishes to consult. This paragraph shall be subject to the provisions of Paragraph 17 of Article I of this Convention.
In witness whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Convention and have affixed their seals.
Done in duplicate, in the English and Spanish Languages, at Mexico City this twenty-fifth day of January, one thousand nine hundred and forty-nine.
[Senate, Executive N, 81st Cong., 1st sess.]
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TRANSMITTING A CERTIFIED COPY OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE NORTHWEST ATLANTIC FISHERIES, FORMULATED AT THE INTERNATIONAL NORTHWEST ATLANTIC FISHERIES CONFERENCE AND SIGNED AT WASHINGTON UNDER DATE OF FEBRUARY 8, 1949, BY THE PLENIPOTENTIARY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND BY THE PLENIPOTENTIARIES OF CERTAIN OTHER GOVERNMENTS
To the Senate of the United States:
THE WHITE HOUSE, May 9, 1949.
With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith a certified copy of the international convention for the Northwest Atlantic fisheries, formulated at the International Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Conference and signed at Washington under date of February 8, 1949, by the plenipotentiaries of the United States of America and by the plenipotentiaries of certain other governments.
I transmit also, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Secretary of State regarding this convention, and a certified copy of the final act of the Conference. The final act does not require ratification.
HARRY S. TRUMAN. (Enclosures: (1) International convention for the Northwest Atlantic fisheries (certified copy), (2) report of the Secretary of State, (3) final act of the Conference (certified copy).)
The White House:
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
The undersigned, the Secretary of State, has the honor to lay before the President for transmission to the Senate to receive the advice and consent of that body to ratification, if his judgment approve thereof, a certified copy of an international convention for the Northwest Atlantic fisheries, opened for signature at Washington, February 8, 1949, and signed under that date for the United States of America, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Newfoundland,
Norway, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The provisions of the convention were formulated by the International Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Conference held at Washington from January 26 to February 8, 1949. The final act of that Conference does not require ratification but a certified copy thereof is transmitted herewith for your information.
The value of the fisheries of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean has been recognized since early in the history of the North American Continent. For centuries the nationals of North American and western and southern European countries have fished portions of this important area. Until recently, however, consideration was not given to the desirability of formal international cooperation in the conservation and development of the fishery resources in question.
The increasing recognition of the seriousness of the existing and potential depletion of commercially important species of fish in the North Atlantic resulted in an international conference in London in 1937, in which the United States did not participate. It was, at that time, considered feasible to treat the entire North Atlantic as a single conservation unit. The international convention for the regulation of meshes of fishing nets and the size limits of fish, which was concluded at this conference, was accordingly designed to apply to the entire North Atlantic.
The 1937 convention did not enter into force and the British Government therefore convened other international conferences in London in October 1943 and April 1946 to reconsider this general problem. The United States was represented at these international conferences by observer delegations and, after discussions with the other States contiguous to the Northwest Atlantic, suggested that there were actually two areas in the North Atlantic which were readily separable because of the nationals concerned and the stocks of fish and problems involved. It was therefore proposed that consideration be given to the desirability of separate treatment for the Northeast Atlantic and the Northwest Atlantic. The agreement of the 1946 Conference to this concept is evidenced by the fact that the convention which resulted from the work of that Conference set the western boundary of the convention area at 42° west longitude. It will be noted that the present convention accordingly sets the eastern boundary of the area to which it applies at 42° west longitude.
The need for formal international cooperation in the investigation and conservation of fishery resources in the Northwest Atlantic has become increasingly apparent. This seems particularly evident with respect to the very valuable bottom-living species which constitute the mainstay of the New England fishing industry. At the present time the stocks of these species on the New England banks are at a relatively low level of abundance. The number of marketable-sized haddock is now at an all-time low. In an effort to satisfy the large demand, the industry has been compelled to resort to fishing for immature and baby fish, with the result that it is seriously decreasing the potential production of this fishery. Fishing for rosefish has been very heavy in recent years and the abundance of this fish has been gradually reduced to the point where United States vessels have found it necessary to travel much farther from port in order to find commercial quantities. The catches of cod from the New England banks are likewise reduced and an increase in the number of lengthy and expensive trips to the Nova Scotian banks has become necessary. Catches of halibut have gradually dwindled through the years until today they constitute an insignificant quantity.
The United States otter trawl fleet operating in these fisheries is at present larger than at any other time in history and indications are that it will become even larger. In addition, the fleets of many foreign countries are rapidly expanding operations in an attempt to satisfy the great world food demand. The North
Sea and other important European fishing areas have apparently become depleted to such an extent that they produce only a fraction of former poundages. It is possible that the depletion of European banks will result in a shift in the operations of many European vessels to the Northwest Atlantic. With the expected heavy exploitation of the fisheries of the Northwest Atlantic, the question of maintaining the highest possible sustained yield becomes increasingly urgent. The present scarcity of fish on the New England banks, and the probable increase in fishing pressure by our own and by foreign vessels in the Northwest Atlantic, indicates the great value of providing means for determining the necessary facts relative to the abundance of stocks of fish and the measures which are necessary in order to maintain and increase the productivity of those stocks.
In view of these facts and the international character of the problems involved, and since effective machinery for the investigation and, where necessary, con
servation and development of international fisheries in this area could only be provided through formal international cooperation to this end, the United States of America issued invitations for the afore-mentioned Conference.
The convention formulated by the Conference is designed primarily to provide for international cooperation in the coordination, collation, and dissemination of information concerning the fisheries off the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, but also provides a procedure for cooperative action by the contracting governments regarding measures deemed necessary to maintain a maximum sustained yield from the fisheries.
The exclusion of territorial waters from the convention area raised the question of the definition of territorial waters and resulted in the inclusion in paragraph 2 of article I of the convention of a provision which reads: "Nothing in this Convention shall be deemed to affect adversely (prejudice) the claims of any Contracting Government in regard to the limits of territorial waters or to the jurisdiction of a coastal State over fisheries."
Much discussion at the Conference centered around this provision as it affected the general question of territorial waters. The Conference finally approved the provision but the French and Spanish delegations signed the convention subject to a reservation with respect to paragraph 2 of article I. No objection to these reservations was made by any of the other signatory governments. The Conference, with the exception of the French and Spanish delegations, considered that paragraph 2 of article I merely indicated that the convention did not in any way affect the question of territorial or other jurisdiction, while the French and Spanish delegations considered that if any mention was made of territorial waters the convention should contain a clear definition of the limits of jurisdiction, and that those limits could not be modified without the consent of all contracting governments.
The convention establishes an International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries, in which each contracting government will have one vote and to which it may appoint not more than three Commissioners, who may be assisted by experts and advisers. The convention divides the Northwest Atlantic into five subareas, separated more or less geographically and biologically, the boundaries of which are defined in the annex to the convention. Subarea 1 is in the vicinity of western Greenland; subarea 2 embraces waters off the eastern coast of Baffin Island and Labrador; subarea 3 is the area adjacent to Newfoundland and the Grand Banks; subarea 4 is the banks off Nova Scotia: and subarea 5 is Georges Bank and the adjacent high seas. In order to carry out the objectives of the convention these subareas will each have a special panel of Commissioners drawn from the members of the over-all Commission. The Commission may alter the subarea boundaries upon the unanimous recommendation of each panel concerned.
For 2 years after the convention has entered into force, panel representation for each subarea shall be as specified in the annex to the convention. After the convention has been in force for 2 years, panel representation will be reviewed annually by the Commission, which will have the power, subject to consultation with the panel concerned, to determine representation on the basis of current substantial exploitation of fishes of the cod group, of flat fish, and of rosefish in the subarea concerned, except that each contracting government with coast-line adjacent to the subarea will have the right of representation on the panel for the subarea.
The Commission as a whole will coordinate the work of the panels and give preliminary consideration to their recommendations. It is also responsible in the field of scientific investigation for obtaining, collating, and disseminating the information necessary for maintaining those stocks of fish which support international fisheries in the convention area. For this purpose it is to collaborate with or act through existing agencies and, when necessary, it may act independently. In the final act the Conference states that it is not contemplated that independent investigations conducted by Commission personnel or equipment would include field operations.
It will be noted that the convention does not empower either the Commission or the special panels to take direct regulatory action. Recommendations for conservation measures will originate with the panels, and the Commission may, on the basis of those recommendations, make proposals for consideration by the contracting governments for joint action. The Commission itself may initiate proposals affecting the convention area as a whole after consultation with all the panels. Each proposal will become effective for all contracting governments 4 months after notifications of acceptances thereof have been received by the
depository government from all the contracting governments participating in the panel or panels for the subarea or subareas to which the proposal applies. A withdrawal procedure is provided with regard to individual proposals which have been brought into force. As in the case of investigations, such proposals for joint regulatory action would be limited to "the stocks of those species of fish which support international fisheries in the convention area." The word "fish" was used in order to exclude mollusks or crustacea, which were not considered to be of international interest since they are primarily taken within territorial waters. Advisory Committees are provided for in article V of the convention. At the discretion of the government concerned it is provided that such Committees may be established and would include fishermen and vessel owners and others well informed concerning the problems of the fisheries of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. A representative or representatives of an Advisory Committee may attend as observers all nonexecutive meetings of the Commission or of any panel in which their government participates, with the assent of the contracting government concerned.
With respect to the relationship between this Commission and other public international organizations, with related objectives, such as the Food and Agricultural Organization and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, the convention provides that steps be taken to ensure effective collaboration and coordination of work, and that consideration be given by the Commission within 2 years after entry into force of the convention as to whether or not it should recommend to the contracting governments that the Commission be brought within the framework of a specialized agency of the United Nations.
The convention will enter into force upon the deposit of instruments of ratification by four signatory governments, and with respect to the remaining signatory governments in the order in which they deposit their instruments of ratification. Provision is made in the convention for adherence by nonsignatory governments. The convention will continue in force for a period of 10 years, and thereafter except with respect to contracting governments which withdraw by notification as provided in article XVI.
At a subsequent date the Congress will be requested to consider implementing legislation necessary for the United States to fulfill its obligations under the convention.
(Enclosures: (a) International convention for the Northwest Atlantic fisheries, Washington, February 8, 1949 (certified copy), (2) final act of the Conference (certified copy).)
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE NORTHWEST ATLANTIC FISHERIES
The Governments whose duly authorized representatives have subscribed hereto, sharing a substantial interest in the conservation of the fishery resources of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, have resolved to conclude a convention for the investigation, protection and conservation of the fisheries of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, in order to make possible the maintenance of a maximum sustained catch from those fisheries and to that end have, through their duly authorized representatives, agreed as follows:
1. The area to which this Convention applies, hereinafter referred to as "the Convention area", shall be all waters, except territorial waters, bounded by a ine beginning at a point on the coast of Rhode Island in 71°40' west longitude; thence due south to 39°00' north latitude; thence due east to 42°00' west longitude; thence due north to 59°00' north latitude; thence due west to 44°00' west longitude; thence due north to the coast of Greenland; thence along the west coast of Greenland to 78°10' north latitude; thence southward to a point in 75°00' north latitude and 73°30' west longitude; thence along a rhumb line to a point in 69°00' north latitude and 59°00' west longtitude; thence due south to 61°00' north latitude; thence due west to 64°30' west longitude; thence due south to the coast of Labrador; thence in a southerly direction along the coast of Labrador to the southern terminus of its boundary with Quebec; thence in a westerly direction along the coast of Quebec, and in an easterly and southerly direction along the coasts of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton Island to Cabot Strait; thence along the coasts of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island to the point of beginning.
2. Nothin in this Convention_shall be deemed to affect adversely (prejudice) the claims of any Contracting Government in regard to the limits of territorial waters or to the jurisdiction of a coastal state over fisheries.
3. The Convention area shall be divided into five sub-areas, the boundaries of which shall be those defined in the Annex to this Convention, subject to such alterations as may be made in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 2 of Article VI.
1. The Contracting Governments shall establish and maintain a Commission for the purposes of this Convention. The Commission shall be known as the International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries, hereinafter referred to as "the Commission".
2. Each of the Contracting Governments may appoint not more than three Commissioners and one or more experts or advisers to assist its Commissioner or Commissioners.
3. The Commission shall elect from its members a Chairman and a Vice Chairman, each of whom shall serve for a term of two years and shall be eligible for re-election but not to a succeeding term. The Chairman and Vice Chairman must be Commissioners from different Contracting Governments.
4. The seat of the Commission shall be in North America at a place to be chosen by the Commission.
5. The Commission shall hold a regular annual meeting at its seat or at such place in North America as may be agreed upon by the Commission.
6. Any other meeting of the Commission may be called by the Chairman at such time and place as he may determine, upon the request of the Commissioner of a Contracting Government and subject to the concurrence of the Commissioners of two other Contracting Governments, including the Commissioner of a Government in North America.
7. Each Contracting Government shall have one vote which may be cast by any Commissioner from that Government. Decisions of the Commission shall be taken by a two-thirds majority of the votes of all the Contracting Governments. 8. The Commission shall adopt, and amend as occasion may require, financial regulations and rules and by-laws for the conduct of its meetings and for the exercise of its functions and duties.
1. The Commission shall appoint an Executive Secretary according to such procedure and on such terms as it may determine.
2. The staff of the Commission shall be appointed by the Executive Secretary in accordance with such rules and procedures as may be determined and authorized by the Commission.
3. The Executive Secretary shall, subject to the general supervision of the Commission, have full power and authority over the staff and shall perform such other functions as the Commission shall prescribe.
1. The Contracting Governments shall establish and maintain a Panel for each of the sub-areas provided for by Article I, in order to carry out the objectives of this Convention. Each Contracting Government participating in any Panel shall be represented on such Panel by its Commissioner or Commissioners, who may be assisted by experts or advisers. Each Panel shall elect from its members a Chairman who shall serve for a period of two years and shall be eligible for re-election but not to a succeeding term.
2. After this Convention has been in force for two years, but not before that time, Pane representation shall be reviewed annually by the Commission, which shall have the power, subject to consultation with the Panel concerned, to determine representation on each Panel on the basis of current substantial exploitation in the sub-area concerned of fishes of the cod group (Gadiformes), of flat-fishes (Pleuronectiformes), and of rosefish (genus Sebastes), except that each Contracting Government with coastline adjacent to a sub-area shall have the right of representation on the Panel for the sub-area.
3. Each Panel may adopt, and amend as occasion may require, rules of procedure and by-laws for the conduct of its meetings and for the exercise of its functions and duties.