24 Ocean L. Memo 1 (1983)

handle is hein.journals/ocoaslme24 and id is 1 raw text is: 



acean and Coastal  Law Center * School of Law  * University of Oregon  * Eugene  97403


Ocean La Mem-


September  1983


THE TROUBLED PACIFIC SALMON TREATY:
      WHY IT MUST BE RATIFIED


     A  full-fledged salmon war is shap-
 ing up in the Pacific Northwest, one in
 which there can be  no winners.  Unlike
 salmon skirmishes  of the  past between
 commercial fishermen and Indian tribes,
 between ocean trollers  and river gill-
 netters, between recreational  and com-
 mercial fishetmen,  this  simmering and
 potentially volatile conflict is all the
 more  alarming  because  there  are  no
 courts of law  that  have the  power to
 compel the  parties  to  resolve  their
 differences.  The parties are sovereign
 nations, the United States  and Canada,
 and each  stands to  lose  an important
 stake in  a  precious  resource  unless
 something can be done soon.

     After some twenty years of off-and-
on  negotiations--intensive  since  1970
yet  progressing at  a seemingly glacial
pace--negotiators for the governments of
the United States and Canada last Decem-
ber  concluded and signed  a treaty gov-
erning  mutual harvest  of United States
and  Canadian stocks of  Pacific salmon.
The  proposed treaty,  formally entitled
the  Bilateral Pacific  Salmon Intercep-
tion Agreemej  between the United States
and  Canada    requires  ratification by
both  governments to take  permanent ef-
fect.   Because of opposition  from cer-
tain United States fishing interests the
proposed  treaty  is  now  stalled,  and
tempers   are  flaring  on  both  sides.
Rejection  or  delay  of this  agreement
will  have serious  consequences  on the
salmon fishery of both nations, and time
is running out.

WHY    INTERNATIONAL   COPERATION     IS
ESSENTIAL IN SALMON MANAGEMENT

     Pacific salmon  are anadromous, a
term  applied to  fish that  spend their
adult lives  in the ocean  and return to
freshwater to spawn.  Some stocks of



1.  Mimeographed draft available from the
Mill Street, Portland, OR 97201.


    Columbia River chinook  (or king) salmon,
    after hatching hundreds of miles upriver
    from the ocean, may migrate .thousands of
    miles further  to feeding grounds in the
    Gulf  of Alaska before  returning to the
    home stream to spawn.  Such a wide-rang-
    ing migratory instinct frustrates effec-
    tive   management,   responsibility  for
    which  must be  shared not only  among a
    multitude of  state and federal agencies
    and  Indian  tribes,  but  also  between
    nations.    Anadromous  fish respect  no
    man-made  boundaries,  and  they can  be
    effectively  protected from  overfishing
    only where  management jurisdictions are
    integrated,  or at least  coordinated in
    their policies.

         Without   coordinated   management,
    conservation  gains in  one jurisdiction
    may  be easily lost as  the benefits ac-
    crue  not to the health  of the resource
    itself,  but  rather to  user groups  in
    other  management regimes where  regula-
    tion is  less strict.  In  such a situa-
    tion,  any   management  agency  through
    whose  jurisdiction   a  migratory  fish
    passes  has the power to  negate conser-
    vation  gains made at great  cost in any
    of the  others.  Unless  a single coast-
    wide framework  for managing the conser-
    vation and  allocation of Pacific salmon
    exists and  is effectively and equitably
    implemented, the greatest economic bene-
    fits  will accrue  to those  user groups
    that are  least conscientious about con-
    serving  the  resource.    In  addition,
    equitable   apportionment  of   economic
    hardships caused by fishing restrictions
    cannot be made  under fragmented manage-
    ment  regimes.   Such  are the  economic
    realities of a  common property resource
    that is also highly migratory.

         It  has long  been recognized  that
    differential levels  of protection of  a
    fishery and the economic inequities thus


Pacific Fishery Management Council, 526 S.W.


F./M    Distributed by: OSU Extension Service' Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, Corvallis, OR 97331


Issue  24

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