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Mr. Miles is Director of the Institute for Marine Studies, College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington.

The author reviews developments in the fisheries of the North Pacific following the extension of coastal state jurisdiction, the choices made by coastal states as a result of the extension of jurisdiction and the implications of these choices for both coastal states and regional fisheries commissions. He first describes the fisheries situation in this the most important fishing region in the world, the complex and inefficient regulatory controls existing before the extension of jurisdiction and the impact of extended jurisdiction, which resulted in the establishment of a more efficient regulatory system. The fishing nations most affected by the extension of jurisdiction were Japan and the Republic of Korea, which incurred considerable loss of access to stocks they had previously exploited. The article reviews the evolution of coastal state fisheries policy, which, in the case of both USA and USSR was predicated on policy decisions to develop national fisheries at the expense of foreign fishing operations and to conserve the stocks. US policy and the Japan/US fisheries relationship are first analysed, with separate treatment of each of the three main fishing areas of the US zone. The picture presented is one of a decline in total foreign catches coupled with an increase in US joint venture landings and processing allocations. The issues raised by joint ventures in the region were controversial and the US policy not always consistent. These issues and the evolution of US policy are explored and the linkage explained between joint ventures and pressures on the part of the US to gain greater access to Japanese markets. The article then describes the Japan/Soviet fisheries relationship, which was characterized by periods of stability in allocations in the Soviet zone interspersed with a number of drastic reductions in allocations, which had severe repercussions on the Japanese fishing industry.

In the second part of the article, the author assesses the impact of extended coastal state jurisdiction on the evolution of regional fisheries commissions. The extension of jurisdiction made significant differences to only two out of the five commissions active in the region; both the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission (INPFC) and the Japan-Soviet Commission had to be transformed to reflect the vesting in the State of origin of primary management authority for the important salmon fisheries. These changes and the circumstances surrounding them are described in some detail and an assessment made of the likely impact on the Japanese high seas salmon fleet. The article then turns to US/Canada relations over salmon, focussing on the problems of reciprocal interception of US and Canadian salmon and the political and constitutional complexity of the management structure and authority in the US. The history of bilateral negotiations is recounted, and their culmination in the treaty concerning Pacific Salmon of 1985. The article then reviews briefly the situation with respect to halibut and fur seals in the North Pacific region.

In his conclusion, the author notes that the major winners as a result of the extension of coastal state jurisdiction in the region have been the USA and the USSR and predicts some future trends. These are likely to include increased pressure for access to Japanese fishery markets and demands from countries in the Northwest Pacific for joint venture arra of hatchery-reared chum salmon in Japan.

During the period 1975-76, while assisting Jean Carroz and the Department of Fisheries of FAO to plan for adaptations to structure and programme in the new ocean regime, we were unable to foresee in any detail what developments would occur in the North Pacific region.1 It was clear, of course, that the substance of the article on anadromous species in the then Single Negotiating Text of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) would be directly applied by the United States of America, Canada and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to Japanese high seas fishing for salmon in the North Pacific. Beyond that, however, coastal states seemed to have a fair number of options for development, both nationally and with the other existing regional commissions, and it was not clear in what directions they would choose to move. This paper, in homage to the late Jean Carroz, is an attempt belatedly to fill that gap. Consequently, I shall summarize and explain the choices which coastal states did make and assess the implications of these choices both for coastal states and for regional commissions in the North Pacific. I shall also attempt to extrapolate some of the new trends into the future.

1 MILES, E.L. An assessment of the impact of proposed changes in the Law of the Sea on regional fishery Commissions, on FAO Technical Assistance Programmes in fisheries and on the FAO Committee on Fisheries and Department of Fisheries. FAO document COFI:C/4/76 Inf. 3, February 1976.


The North Pacific as a whole, in terms of tonnage produced, is the single most important fishing region in the world. However, most of the fish are caught in the northwest Pacific (FAO Area 61). In 1984, out of a total world catch of 82.8 million metric tonnes (mmt), 26.4 mmt (31.9 percent) were caught in the North Pacific of which 23.7 mmt were caught in the Northwest Pacific.2 In 1975, just prior to extensions of national jurisdiction in the region, the North Pacific accounted for 27.6 percent of the total world catch; China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea derived 100 percent of their catches there, Japan 91.2 percent of its total catch, the Republic of Korea 89.9 percent and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 33.3 percent.3 The United States at the time caught only 12.5 percent of its total production in the area and for Canada the figure was 13 percent. In the world of fisheries, these are very high stakes.

2 FAO. 1986. Yearbook of Fishery Statistics: Catches and Landings, 1984, Vol. 58, Table A-1. Rome.

3 MILES, E.L. et al. 1982. The management of marine regions: The North Pacific. Berkeley, CA, Univ. California Press. Table 1.1.

From a regulatory point of view, the situation was extremely complex and rather inefficient. A large number of bilateral and trilateral agreements covered a minimal number of stocks and most of the stocks fished were, in fact, unregulated.4 While there had been extensions of coastal state sovereignty, most of them were limited to continental shelf resources, primarily crab. There were three multilateral long-term agreements: the North Pacific Fur Seal Commission (NPFSC), the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission (INPFC) and the Commission for Fisheries Research in the Western Pacific (CFRWP), which had become inactive by 1967.5 In addition, there were six long-term bilateral agreements, including the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission (IPSFC) (United States and Canada), and four sets of intergovernmental and non-governmental agreements between Japan and the USSR, the Republic of Korea and China and China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Finally, there were nine ad hoc short-term bilateral agreements in force in the northeast Pacific.

4 KASAHARA, H. BURKE, W.T. 1973. North Pacific fisheries management. Resources for the future (RFF), Program of International Studies of Fisheries Arrangements, Paper 2. Washington, D.C., pp. 39-50.

5 This summary is based on Miles et al., 1982, Chapter 3.

Compared with this situation, the impact of extended jurisdiction has been both comprehensive and more efficient. All stocks are now regulated, most of the ad hoc, short-term bilateral arrangements have been replaced, the long-term bilateral and multilateral arrangements have been significantly amended, the Japan/USSR bilateral arrangement was substantially changed, and only the Japan/Republic of Korea, Japan/China and China/Democratic People's Republic of Korea bilateral arrangements have remained in place.

The coming of extended jurisdiction was a shock primarily to Japan and the Republic of Korea. Initially, the United States and Canada unilaterally extended jurisdiction over fisheries to 200 miles in 1976, the USSR followed suit in 1977, which forced a reluctant Japanese Government to reply in kind the same year and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea also extended its jurisdiction in 1977. Neither China nor the Republic of Korea, both facing difficult issues of boundary and territorial conflicts with several parties, has yet extended jurisdiction.

This pattern of extensions reflected domestic pressures, which could no longer be constrained, in the United States and Canada to impose effective controls over foreign fishing fleets, provide better conservation and develop their own harvesting and processing capabilities. Since the US zone was of considerable importance to Japan and the Republic of Korea, both countries faced serious problems of dislocation of their fisheries. These were compounded by the establishment of a Soviet zone in the North Pacific. Ironically, the Pacific was not a primary Soviet interest in that decision, which was in fact triggered by developments in the Atlantic. But, once having extended its jurisdiction, the USSR would have to look comprehensively at its objectives and options there as elsewhere, especially now that its fleets were being excluded by extensions of coastal state jurisdiction in other regions. This could only result in greater dislocation for Japan. With the Republic of Korea now completely excluded from the Soviet zone, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea successfully expanded its operations within that zone. As governments sought to accommodate themselves to these changes and to translate authority into policy, they embarked on a constant series of negotiations lasting several years.

The United States implemented a new management system based on regional councils, and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council gave very high priority to phasing out foreign fishermen as fast as possible. The intensity of conflict over issues of conservation of stocks declined in the northeast Pacific as coastal states developed effective control over all foreign fishing in their zones. In its place, conflict increased significantly over three new types of issue: (a) joint ventures involving fishermen and/or processors of the coastal state as explicit or implicit conditions for access to the zone, (b) the regulation of fishery practices and (c) claims for greater access to markets in the foreign fishing country and objections to import quotas and other trade barriers by nationals of the coastal state.6

6 For detailed analysis of these early trends, see Ibid., Chapter 6.

The transitional period in the northwest Pacific was less turbulent. The Republic of Korea sustained a permanent deprivation as a result of its exclusion from the Soviet zone and sought, with some success, to expand its allocations in the northeast Pacific at the expense of both Japan and the USSR. The USSR lost access to the US zone in the northeast Pacific as from 1980 as a result of increasing political difficulties with the United States unrelated to fisheries. The initial Japan/USSR negotiations in the northwest Pacific were difficult, protracted and involved painful losses for Japan but, after 1978, the situation was stable until 1984. The existing Japanese relationships with Republic of Korea and China remained stable and a satisfactory industry relationship was developed with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

What policies, then, have coastal states pursued since the implementation of extended jurisdiction and what has been achieved and/or lost?


It would be wrong to give the impression that the sequences of events and their outcomes are the result of calm, deliberate analysis of trends and the choice of options determined by clear sets of objectives. Reality is far more turbulent and untidy at both national and regional levels. But, even so, the cumulative effects of actions taken within the region are both clear and additive.

In the United States, for instance, policy debates and processes within the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council are not especially orderly and there is, indeed, considerable disagreement among and between the principal players over both objectives and their consequences; but consensus exists on two decision rules which can be stated as "conserve the stocks" and "phase out the foreigners". While the players may disagree about particular measures to be employed at any moment to realize these objectives, the cumulative effects of this operative condition are powerful and consistent. Similarly, once the USSR established an extended fisheries zone in 1977 and faced exclusions of its fleet in other parts of the world, the northwest Pacific was obviously one of its major available options for compensating for losses suffered elsewhere. Consequently, the contribution of the northwest Pacific to the Soviet total catch increased from a little less than 33.3 percent in 1975 to 58.5 percent in 1984.7

7 The 1984 figure is calculated from FAO. Yearbook of Fishery Statistics: Catches and Landings, 1984, Tables A-3 and B-11 to B-94. Note that the 1984 figure is entirely derived from the northwest Pacific (FAO Area 61) since the USSR had lost its directed allocation in the US zone in 1980.

These two conditions define the terms of the great drama that is currently being played out in the fisheries relationships of the region. They determine the steady decline of Japanese catches in the US and Soviet zones and generate recurrent and painful cycles of fleet reduction as a result. This transformation of the Japanese role in fish production in the region is managed in a deliberate fashion by the Japan Fisheries Agency and, to some extent, by the Japanese industry. However, the available options are few. They involve the significant growth of joint ventures in harvesting and processing fish within the US zone, a much smaller involvement of joint ventures within the Soviet zone, the successful identification of offshore fishing areas in the northwest Pacific outside all 200-mile zones, dramatic successes in increasing production of hatchery-reared salmon and managing the decline of the Japanese distant-water fleet and portions of the offshore fleet. This also requires payment of significant amounts of compensation to fishermen by the Japanese Government.

Two offshoots of the conditions described above are also worthy of note. The rapid increase in the US catch of bottom-fish resources historically unutilized or underutilized by the US fleet, combined with the rapid growth of joint ventures, has led to insistent demands for freer access to Japanese markets and a changed relationship between the United States and Japan on fisheries imports and exports. These trade issues are now treated at a very high level within both governments and, given the continuing conflict over generalized trade imbalances, US exports to Japan are likely to grow rapidly as Japanese fishing within the US zone declines.

The second point is again a troubling one for Japan. In 1984, the Japanese total catch passed the 12 mmt mark, incongruously testifying to the continued growth of the Japanese catch even in the face of steady losses of two of its historically major fishing areas. It should, however, be recognized that more than 30 percent of this catch is based on sardines caught in the offshore area. This is a fundamentally unstable situation in view of the volatility of these pelagic stocks. No doubt, if and when these stocks are depleted, some other species will grow to fill the niche, as usually happens. But this will take time and in the interim yet another painful cycle of reductions in the offshore fleet will be required.

In the analysis which follows, the details on which the above characterization is based will be presented. The analysis will focus on the Japanese relationship with the United States and the USSR, since this is the determining factor of the transformation of fisheries relationships in the region under the impact of extended jurisdiction. This does not mean that the policies of China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and Taiwan Province of China are not important; only that they have restricted impacts on the region as a whole, and it is the region which is the focus of this paper.


Let us begin in the northwest Pacific and consider separately the trends within the three primary fishing areas of the US zone, i.e., the Washington/Oregon/California region, the Gulf of Alaska region and the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands region. Table 1 shows the trends for the Washington/Oregon/California region. The foreign catch in this region declined from 129 812 mt in 1977 to 15 081 mt (7.74 percent) in 1984. While the total catch in the period had increased by 50 percent to 194 735 mt, the combined US joint venture landings and joint venture processing allocations had risen from zero in 1977 to 179 654 mt in 1984, or to 92 percent of the total catch. The joint venture catch itself, which began in 1978 with only 894 mt, really showed its potential in 1981 with 45 140 mt and moved rapidly thereafter to 79 654 mt. While this development primarily benefited US harvesters, the processors were indeed ahead of the harvesters in this fishery from the very beginning.

TABLE 1. Total Foreign and Joint Venture Catch (metric tonnes) 1977-84 in the Northeast Pacific: Washington/Oregon/California Region










Total foreign catch

129 812

98 683

117 275

46 928a

71 307

7 253


15 081

Total joint venture landings



9 054

28 470

45 140

69 153

73 246

79 654

Total joint venture processingb


(10 000)

(35 000)

(43 000)

(75 000)

(100 000)

(100 000)

(100 000)

Total catch

129 812

109 577

161 329

118 398

191 447

176 406

173 246

194 735

Source and Notes: BERGER, J.D. et al. Foreign and joint venture catches and allocations in the Pacific northwest and Alaska fishing area under the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 1977-84. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Technical Memorandum, NMFSF/NWC-99, March 1986, Tables 4-11.

a The sharp decrease in the total foreign catch for 1980 is explained by the US withdrawal of the Soviet allocation, as a result of differences over events in Afghanistan.

b The totals for all joint venture processing allocations, and therefore the combined totals, are slightly less than the actual totals because precise calculations have not been made of the very small amounts of "other fish" which accompany the Pacific whiting allocations according to predefined ratios.

A similar pattern is evident in the Gulf of Alaska region, as can be seen from Table 2. The total foreign catch declined, though not as precipitously in an absolute sense, from 199 492 mt in 1977, with a high of 232 542 mt in 1981, to 123 708 mt in 1984. The relative decline of the directed foreign catch, however, was precipitous - from 100 per cent in 1977 to 21 percent in 1984. The combined US joint venture landings and processing allocations rapidly increased from 1982 to account for 79 percent of the total catch in 1984, or 468 686 mt.

For the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands region, the same trend though not as pronounced, is shown in Table 3. The foreign catch decreased to a lesser degree in both absolute and relative terms in the period, from 1 301 614 mt (100 percent) in 1977 to 1 192 714 mt (60 percent) in 1984. The combined US joint venture catch and processor allocation in the same period, however, rose from zero in 1977 to 788 801 mt (40 percent) in 1984. Both of these increased rapidly from 1980 onwards.

The aggregate performance for the entire US zone in the northeast Pacific is shown in Table 4. The total foreign catch declined from 1 630 918 mt in 1977 to 1 331 499 mt in 1984. This is an absolute decline of only 22 percent but a relative decline of 40 percent. Conversely, the combined US joint venture landings and processor allocations rose from zero in 1977 to 1 437 141 mt in 1984, when they accounted for 52 percent of the total catch. Obviously the trend is a rapidly increasing one. This has given rise to an intense debate within the North Pacific Council on the desirability of completely phasing out all foreign participation in fisheries within the US zone, even including both types of joint venture. It is difficult to see that such a policy objective would make sense, either regionally or nationally for the United States, but this remains to be decided.

TABLE 2. Total Foreign and Joint Venture Catch (metric tonnes) 1977-84 in the Northeast Pacific: Gulf of Alaska Region










Total foreign catch

199 492

165 174

163 350

208 044

232 542

153 734

147 469

123 708

Total joint venture landings



1 492

1 911

16 967

74 449

142 985

219 625

Total joint venture processing




12 077

26 592

31 960

141 932

249 061

Total catch

199 492

165 222

164 842

222 032

276 101

260 143

432 386

592 394

Source: BERGER, J.D. et al. Foreign and joint venture catches and allocations in the Pacific northwest and Alaska fishing area under the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 1977-84. NOAA Technical Memorandum, NMFSF/NWC-99, March 1986, Tables 12-11.

TABLE 3. Total Foreign and Joint Venture Catch (metric tonnes) 1977-84 in the Northeast Pacific: Bering Sea/Aleutian Region










Total foreign fishing

1 301 614

1 403 245

1 303 835

1 302 168

1 273 413

1 118 369

1 125 548

1 192 714

Total joint venture landings




32 571

78 534

108 603

211 155

357 541

Total joint processing




58 684

85 717

78 740

181 452

431 260

Total catch

1 301 614

1 403 245

1 303 835

1 393 423

1 437 664

1 375 712

1 518 155

1 981 515

Source: BERGER J.D. et al. Foreign and joint venture catches and allocations in the Pacific northwest and Alaska fishing area under the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 1977-84. NOAA Technical Memorandum, NMFSF/NWC-99, March 1986, Tables 24-31.

What is clear is that joint ventures in harvesting have contributed substantially to the regional economy, not only in providing additional income to the fishermen but, particularly, in opening up opportunities for crab vessels which would have been unemployed after the collapse of the crab fisheries in 1982. Joint ventures in processing have also contributed substantially to the regional economy by providing both income and employment, but they have created yet another internal conflict between the US at-sea processors which utilize foreign factory ships thereby avoiding the costs and delays of shore deliveries, and the traditional shore-based processors which are facing a period of long-term decline caused by shifts in the cost/earnings structure of the industry. As a result, the latter continue to push for governmental protection.

Indeed, the whole issue of joint ventures was always highly controversial in the North Pacific Council and the US policy was not always clear and consistent.8 Objecting to the ruling that fish caught by US harvesters and delivered over the side to foreign processors in the US zone would not count against that country's allocation, the processors sought, and eventually won, an amendment to the Magnuson Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (MFCMA) in 1978 which permitted such allocations only if it was determined that processors either did not have the capacity, or would not utilize such capacity, to process the amount and type of fish requested.

8 For an analysis of the early conflict (1977-1980), see Miles et al., 1982, pp. 202-213.

The policy resulting from this "Processor Preference Amendment" is, therefore, based upon a clear ranking of priorities for allocating the resources within the US zone. Harvesting and processing by the US industry receives first priority. Harvesting by US vessels combined with foreign processors receives second priority. Harvesting and processing by foreign industries receives a definite third priority. But the enunciation of what is a fairly straightforward and not uncommon approach did not end the internal conflict within the North Pacific Council.

The continuing conflict followed two separate lines of development. On the one hand, joint ventures led to the development of two US fleets fishing the same stocks and responding to different market demands. Since the joint venture fisheries were not vertically integrated, the fishermen sought high volumes of catch. The domestic industry fishermen targeting the same stocks, however, were vertically integrated and sought higher yields from the stocks out of a lower biomass, primarily because their market demanded larger fish. This led them to call for the implementation of area separation of fleets and mesh size regulation.9

9 Remarks made by Bart Eaton, fisherman and a director of Trident Seafoods Corporation at a seminar on US/Japan fisheries relations on 3 March 1982, jointly sponsored by the US/Japan Friendship Society of Seattle and the Institute for Marine Studies, University of Washington.

TABLE 4. Total Foreign and Joint Venture Catch (metric tonnes) 1977-84 in the Northeast Pacific: Exclusive Economic Zone, 1977-84 (all areas)










Total foreign fishing

1 630 918

1 667 102

1 584 460

1 557 140

1 557 262

1 447 550

1 273 017

1 331 499

Total joint venture landings



10 546

62 952

140 641

252 205

358 163

656 820

Total joint processing


(10 000)

(35 000)

113 761

187 309

284 642

423 384

780 321

Total catch

1 630 918

1 678 044

1 630 006

1 773 853

1 905 212

1 684 397

2 054 564

2 768 640

Source: Tables 1-3

On the other hand, there emerged a significant conflict between the new at-sea joint venture US processors and the traditional shore-based processors located mainly in Alaska. For obvious reasons, the latter were also supported by organized labour which saw its interest lying in governmental protection to avoid displacement. This conflict heated up markedly in 1986 as foreign fishermen began to take advantage of a loophole in US domestic law which permitted flag transfers of fish-processing vessels to the US flag. Such flag transfers would be highly advantageous to the at-sea processors because their capital costs would be virtually zero. If they are also permitted to utilize foreign crews, both the shore-based processors and organized labour think that this would be the final blow.10

10 The Wall Street Journal, 4 December 1986, p. 6.

One possible compromise would be to maintain the loophole in order to derive the significant levels of efficiency this would make possible, but prohibit utilization of foreign crews. Even so, this would provide only temporary support for shore-based processors whose future, given the structural changes which have occured and are occuring in the fisheries industry, is as bleak as foreign fishing fleets seeking continued directed fishing allocations in the US zone. This is a significant development which was neither sought nor designed by US policy.

From the point of view of foreign fishing companies, especially Japanese, joint ventures are clearly a second best solution. Not only do they reduce the amount of fish available for directed catch, but they also represent increased opportunity costs which lead to price increases for the finished products in Japan. Price increases, in turn, stimulate product substitution. Joint ventures also exacerbate trade conflicts since they increase demands for Japan to lower tariff barriers and increase import quotas. These demands have been more and more successful and have resulted in a major shift in the Japan/United States fisheries trade relationship since 1976.

Between 1967 and 1976 the major source of Japanese imports of fish products was consistently the Republic of Korea with the United States varying interannually from a far second to sixth place. Japan also, during the same period, consistently exported the largest quantity and value to the United States.11 The situation since 1976 is exactly the reverse, as a result of extended jurisdiction combined with the US attack on the general imbalance of US/Japanese trade. Since 1979, Japan has imported far more fish products in quantity and value from the United States than it has exported and the United States is now consistently the leading trading partner of Japan in both imports and exports.12

11 MILES ET AL., 1982 Tables 6.16 and 6.17.

12 GINSBERG, J.G. NASAKA, Y. 1984. Japan's Fisheries, 1983. US Embassy CERP Report, Tokyo. Appendices 8, 9 and 11.

This link between joint ventures and trade is not inevitable. It was deliberately made by the US industry as a means of inducing Japan to support the development of US capabilities as part of the price of continued access to directed allocations in the US zone, and the industry-to-industry relationship was far more important here than the intergovernmental one.

The first industry-to-industry meeting was held in Seattle, Washington, in June 1982, just at the time when (and perhaps because) the traditional US crab fisheries in the northeast Pacific had collapsed. After difficult negotiations, it was possible for the two sides to agree that for the period 1 June 1982 to 31 May 1983 the Japanese industry would make over-the-side purchases of Alaska pollack (Theragra chalcogramma) from US fishermen amounting to 120 000 mt, which would be increased to 200 000 mt during the period 1 June 1983 to 31 May 1984.13

13 Opening remarks of Clement Tillion, Chairman, US/Japan Industry-to-Industry Meeting, 4-6 November 1983, Anchorage, Alaska.

At the second industry-to-industry meeting, held in Anchorage, Alaska, in November 1983, another agreement was reached.14 This called for over-the-side purchases of 330 000 mt of pollack for the calendar year 1984. The US side sought an additional 30 000 mt from areas in which joint ventures with Japan had not previously operated. However, the Japanese side made this contingent upon "...a significant level of fishery allocations to Japan..." and on "...full and timely release of US fishery allocations to Japan..." The US side also raised issues of Japanese trade barriers for fish products, and this led to the following agreement:

"...members of the Japanese delegation agreed to work toward the development of mutually beneficial trade in US processed bottom-fish products. Members of the US delegation agreed to work toward the full and timely release of US fishery allocations to Japan."

14 Memorandum of discussions concerning cooperation between the US and Japanese industries for 1984, n.d., pp. 2-3.

These agreements were a major benefit to US joint venture fishermen and processors since they provided the basis for a permanent involvement of the US industry in the production and marketing of resources previously either unutilized or underutilized by them.15 This is a legitimate and effective use of the authority gained by extensions of coastal state jurisdiction, though it comes with significant costs for Japan and other foreign fishing countries in the US zone. But it should be noted that even this success did not end the conflict over joint ventures and foreign fishing within the US zone. The reasons for this have been succinctly summarized by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and Fisheries Affairs, Ambassador Edward E. Wolfe, Jr.16

Noting that in the ten years since the United States extended its jurisdiction over fisheries, foreign fishing had declined by 67 percent, Ambassador Wolfe went on to say:

"Why, then, with such significant progress, do we continue to find the issue of foreign fishing so contentious? If foreign fishing has declined by two-thirds since 1977, shouldn't domestic controversy over it have declined in direct proportion? Not necessarily. In many respects the opposite is true. At times, domestic controversy over foreign fishing seems inversely proportionate to the amount of fish involved."

"There are reasons for this. With a greater share of our fish being taken by domestic fishermen and harvesters, competition among domestic interests has grown. With competition keen, every advantage counts. If that advantage is supplied by foreign fishermen or processors, controversy over foreign fishing heats up."

15 Information available in January 1987 from the Sixth US/Japan Industry Negotiations, held in December 1986, shows, however, that the exchange of increased joint ventures for stable directed allocations for Japan has broken down. Japan now has the option of joint ventures with a very small and rapidly declining directed allocation. For the year 1987, joint ventures will account for a range of 1.4-1.6 mmt from the US zone off Alaska and the DAP quota is set at 450 000 mt. As a directed allocation, Japan has been allowed only 47 000 mt of cod, 5 000 mt of Greenland turbot plus a small incidental catch. Most significantly, the Japanese allocation for pollack in the eastern Bering Sea has been reduced to zero.

16 Remarks delivered at the Center for Oceans Law and Policy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 25 October 1986.

Ambassador Wolfe also noted that the leverage of allocations had been used to induce desired behaviour in a wide variety of controversies, some of which had been entirely unrelated to fisheries. He pointed out that, as foreign fishing in the US zone declined, the value of allocations for leverage also declined, and he warned that "... we must be careful not to enmesh foreign governments in domestic disputes resulting from domestic competition for domestic shares of the same pie". It remains to be seen whether the US industry will heed this advice.


Let us begin by comparing the Japanese experience with allocations in both the US and Soviet zones between 1977 and 1986. Table 5 contains the data for the US zone while Table 6 contains the data for the Soviet zone.

The US allocations, in spite of the turbulence, were actually quite stable through 1986, varying only within a narrow range. Significant increases in 1980 and 1981 can be explained by the exclusion of the USSR from the US zone but, after 1981, these allocations have gone elsewhere. Undoubtedly, it costs Japan more to maintain these allocations than ever before in fishing fees and joint ventures. While transaction costs have risen dramatically, the actual dislocative effects have not been great until the sharp break at the beginning of 1987.17

17 In 1977, for instance, Japan had to retire only 27 vessels from the US zone. See Miles et al., 1982, Table 6.11.

TABLE 5. Japanese Allocations in the US Zone, 1977-84 (in metric tonnes)


Gulf of Alaska

Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands



105 000

1 063 400

1 168 400


101 785

1 129 025

1 230 810


107 931

1 063 585

1 171 516


159 423

1 218 317

1 377 740


217 439

1 181 443

1 398 882


196 753

1 159 715

1 179 468


142 917

1 023 302

1 166 219


131 649

1 022 891

1 154 540

Source: BERGER, J.D. et al. Foreign and joint venture catches and allocations in the Pacific northwest and Alaska fishing area under the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 1977-84. NOAA Technical Memorandum, NMFSF/NWC-99, March 1986, pp. 23-51.

TABLE 6. Total Catch and Allocations for Japan in the Soviet Zone and for the USSR in the Japanese Zone, 1975-86 (metric tonnes)


Japanese Catch and Allocations in the Soviet Zone

Soviet Catch and Allocations in the Japanese Zone


914 000

300-400 000 (est.)



365 000


700 800

458 850 (est.)


850 000

650 000


750 000

650 000


750 000

650 000


750 000

650 000


750 000

650 000


750 000

650 000


700 000

640 000


600 000

600 000

Sources and Notes: While no extended fishing zones were in existence for either Japan or the USSR in 1975. The figures show the reported and estimated catches for the areas that were later to be covered by extended jurisdiction.

Figures for 1975-78, MILES et al., 1982, Tables 6.8, 6.9, 6.12, 6.13 and pp. 188-189; figures for 1979-83, US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA/NMFS. Foreign Fishery Information Release No. 83-2, 25 January 1983; for 1984, FFI Release No. 85-5, 21 March 1985: and for 1985, FFI Release No. 86-9, 8 May 1986.

The Japanese experience with the USSR, however, is a more curious and more difficult one because it combines stability with several great dislocative breaks. The initial break occurred in 1977 when Japan lost a little more than 200 000 mt of the catch which was traditionally caught in the area which had been covered by Soviet extensions of jurisdiction. While the total amount was not great, the burden fell on the salmon and herring fleets, and 555 salmon vessels and 205 herring vessels had to be retired.18 In all, 1 054 fishing vessels were retired from the North Pacific, thereby presenting the Japanese Government with a massive problem of compensation and relocation of fishing families. Most of these retirements were generated by curtailments of fishing opportunities in the Soviet zone. After this initial hurdle, the relationship was fairly stable until 1985 when the Japanese allocation was reduced by 100 000 mt, but another drastic shock was in the offing; in 1986 the USSR suddenly reduced the Japanese allocation from 600 000 mt to 150 000 mt.

18 Miles et al., 1982, Table 6.10.

By 1985, extended coastal state jurisdiction had resulted in a total reduction of 1 810 fishing licences in Japan with 1 500 of those accounted for by the United States, the USSR and Canada.19 Most of these 1 500 licences had been taken out of the North Pacific fishery. Evidence that further difficulties lay ahead came in July 1984 when the USSR indicated to Japan its intention to terminate the existing bilateral agreement on fishing at the end of 1984.20 This was not actually done until the end of 1985, but the effects were devastating.

19 FUJINAMI, N. 1986. Perspectives of a fishing nation: Japan. In Miles, È.J. ed. The management of world fisheries: Implications of extended coastal state jurisdiction, p. 284. (In press)

20 HABERMAN, C. End of fishing accord with Soviet Union, limits on whaling stun Japanese, International Herald Tribune, 9 July 1984, p. 6.

With the reduction of the quota to 150 000 mt, the number of permissible fishing vessels for Japan in the Soviet zone declined from 5 623 to 1 600, and there were drastic cuts in the pollack and flounder allocations.21 The actual reduction in the number of permitted vessels was less dramatic than it seemed since only 1 815 of the vessels permitted to fish in the Soviet zone in 1985 actually fished there. Even so, it was clear that another round of vessel retirements followed by payment of compensation would be in order. However, while the various fishing associations were seeking more than 129 billion yen in government assistance, a sum of only about 22 billion yen was forthcoming from the national government plus renewal funds of 10 billion yen to be loaned at a 3 percent interest rate.22 In addition some funds (c. 4 billion yen) would also be available from prefectural governments.23

21 Japan-Soviet Fishery Agreement formally signed..., Suisan Keizai, 30 April 1986. Translated by R. Abe, US Embassy, Tokyo.

22 Money to compensate for ship reduction in northern-sea fishery amounts to 19 500 million yen, Suisan Keizai, 13 October 1986. Translated by R. Àbe, US Embassy, Tokyo.

23 26 billion yen in compensation for reduction of northern-seas fishing boats..., Nihon Keizai, 9 October 1986, p. 3. Translated by R. Abe, US Embassy, Tokyo.

It is not clear whether Japan faces a complete phase-out of fishing in the Soviet zone in the short term, or whether the relationship will persist at the current low level in which each partner derives approximately an equal share of the benefits. The initiative, however, is clearly with the USSR.


Five regional commissions in the northwest Pacific have been affected to varying degrees by the extensions of coastal state jurisdiction. Two of these are multilateral: the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission (INPFC) and the North Pacific Fur Seal Commission (NPFSC). The other three are bilateral: the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission (IPSFC) and the Japan-Soviet northwest Pacific Fisheries Commission. While both the INPFC and the Japan-Soviet Commission had fairly broad terms of reference concerning species coverage, their primary focus was the high seas salmon fishery of Japan. Therefore, a species approach has been adopted in this section and the INPFC, the Japan-Soviet Commission and the IPSFC are discussed under one heading.

It should also be noted that, of the five commissions in question, extended jurisdiction made significant differences to only two, i.e., INPFC and the Japan-Soviet Commission, because the distribution of authority prior to 1976 gave equal weight to the state of origin and the state engaging in high seas salmon fisheries. Extended jurisdiction drastically changed this relationship by vesting primary authority in the state of origin. Consequently, both the INPFC and the Japan-Soviet Commission had to be transformed. In the other three cases, the exercise of authority was never a major problem. All three mechanisms were designed to respond to significant problems in the management of shared stocks in relation to which the coming of extended jurisdiction represented a minor change, as in the case of halibut (IPHC) and the coastal and inshore salmon problems faced by the United States and Canada (IPSFC). In relation to fur seals (NPFSC) the coming of extended jurisdiction was almost completely irrelevant. For both the IPHC and the IPSFC, the actual sharing had become a contentious issue over a period of time, but that has never been a problem for the NPFSC.



In view of the authority problem previously referred to in relation to the Japanese high seas salmon fishery, the arrangements existing prior to 1976 had to include decision-making procedures to secure Japanese consent to regulations proposed by the states of origin. The device utilized by the United States and Canada is known as the "abstention principle" as contained in the International Convention for the High Seas Fisheries of the North Pacific Ocean, with Annex and Protocol of 9 May 1952.24

24 Committee on Commerce, US Senate, Treaties and Other International Agreements on Fisheries, Oceanographic Resources, and Wildlife to which the United States is a Party, 93rd Congress, 2nd Session, 31 December 1974, pp. 231-243.

The Convention had created a Commission (INPFC) and provided for Japanese abstention from fishing stocks of halibut, herring and salmon in areas specified in the Annex and in the Protocol. Based on assumptions then current about the extent and location of substantial intermingling of stocks of Asian and North American salmon, the Convention provisionally decided and stipulated in the Protocol that the line of meridian 175°W longitude would be a salmon abstention line since no Japanese high seas fishing for salmon would be permitted east of 175°W. Later, in 1956, the Japan-Soviet Convention for the Northwest Pacific Fisheries, dealing inter alia with Japanese high seas fisheries for salmon of Soviet origin, made the line of 175°W its eastern boundary.

The Japan-Soviet Commission quickly became an arena in which the two parties simply fought out, on the basis of widely diverging estimates, the issues of potential yield and quotas. On the non-research side of things, the INPFC had an equally difficult experience, albeit procedurally more formal. The Convention (Art. III) had assigned several crucial jobs to the Commission, the two most important being that of determining annually whether the stocks specified in the Annex qualified for abstention by Japan, and of determining, through study, whether any additional stocks of fish in the Convention area should be added to the Annex. The criteria proving qualification for abstention were also stipulated and decisions required the consenting votes of all three parties to the Convention. A similar decision rule was specified for changing the provisional line of 175°W whenever the joint research programme yielded results showing that a different line would better divide stocks of Asian salmon from stocks of North American salmon. By 1975, the United States and Canada were convinced that results showed that the line should be moved to 175°E, but Japan refused to agree.

Extended jurisdiction swept away this entire superstructure in less than two years; new arrangements were in place on both sides of the North Pacific by 1978. The key to these changes lies in Article 66 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982, an early version of which had been agreed to by the principals by 1975.25 This solution concedes that "states in whose rivers anadromous stocks originate shall have the primary interest in and responsibility for such stocks". While it is the state of origin which establishes total allowable catches and other regulatory approaches, a duty to consult with states fishing those stocks is imposed but fishing is permitted only landwards of the outer limits of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Finally, enforcement of regulations beyond the EEZ "...shall be by agreement between the state of origin and other states concerned".

25 See Article 54 of the Single Negotiating Text (SNT), Part II, document A/CONF.62/WP.8, Part II, 7 May 1975.

On the basis of this formulation, the United States moved almost immediately to bring the structure and decision process of the INPFC into line with the requirements of the MFCMA and gave notice in February 1977 of its intent to withdraw from the INPFC in one year unless the Convention was renegotiated. These negotiations began in October of 1977 and were completed in April 1978 and the changes they induced are striking.

The most important change is that the previous annex which stipulated the criteria for implementing the abstention principle, and the protocol enshrining the original line of demarcation of 175°W longitude, have been replaced by an annex which sets out the new fishing regime as now extending to 175°E longitude. The Commission itself has a changed focus (Art. III), with the emphasis now being on the exchange of information and a forum for cooperation on stocks of anadromous and non-anadromous species in the Convention area. In addition, the contracting parties pledge themselves (Art. IV) to work toward the creation of an international organization with broader membership dealing with non-anadromous species in the Convention area.

The contracting parties also agree to coordinate their scientific research programmes with respect to anadromous species in the Convention area and to species of marine mammals caught incidentally in those fisheries (Art. X). A new and detailed set of procedures relating to enforcement beyond 200 miles is specified in Article IX. These provisions embody a trend which had its origins in the northwest Atlantic in the mid-1970s, i.e., duly authorized officials of any contracting party may board vessels fishing for anadromous species in the Convention area. Arrests or seizures for cause are permitted but, "Only the authorities of the contracting party to which the above-mentioned person or fishing vessel belongs may try the offense and impose penalties therefor".

With respect to regulation of fishing effort and catch, the approach adopted by the United States and Canada eschews specific annual quotas and relies instead on a system of time and area closures relative to the operations of the Japanese mothership fleet and the land-based gill-net fishery. The incidental catch of marine mammals (particularly Dall's porpoise) is also regulated. It was anticipated that these time and area closures would reduce Japanese interceptions of North American salmon by 75-85 percent.26 However, two issues were left which were to cause great difficulties in 1985-86. These were the extent of Japanese interceptions of North American salmon, particularly western Alaska chinook, in the area left unregulated in the central Bering Sea and the extent of Japanese fishing on the northern chum runs. This issue will be discussed later in the paper.

26 Miles et al., 1982, pp. 170-173, 220-221.

In the northwest Pacific, the initial approach adopted by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was to replace the Convention Concerning Fisheries on the High Seas of the Northwest Pacific Ocean, and the bilateral Commission which it had created, with another long-term bilateral agreement and Commission in 1978, but these new arrangements (the Japan-Soviet Fisheries Cooperation Agreement) reflected fully the realities of extended jurisdiction. The negotiations on the salmon quotas for 1977 and 1978 had been negotiated separately from other quota issues. The 1977 quota had been 62 000 mt but in 1978 the USSR insisted that this quota be reduced to 35 500 mt. This came at a particularly bad time for Japan since it was negotiating the new INPFC arrangements with the United States and Canada and the new restrictions implied fairly catastrophic changes for the Japanese salmon fleet, especially for the portion which fished mainly in the Soviet zone.27 The final quota arrived at was 42 500 mt, where it remained until 1983. In 1984 this was cut to 40 000 mt, a further cut in 1985 reduced it to 37 600 mt, and another drastic cut in 1986 further reduced it to 24 500 mt.28 At that time, the USSR also indicated that Japanese fishing for salmon of Soviet origin may be completely prohibited by 1989.29

27 Ibid., p. 191.

28 NASAKA, Y. Salmonid programs and public policy in Japan. Paper presented to the World Salmonid Conference, Portland, Oregon, 3-4 October 1986, Table 3. See also, Japan-Soviet salmon negotiations settled ..., Suisan Keizai, 27 May 1986, translated by R. Abe, US Embassy, Tokyo; and Number of salmon vessels to be reduced 25 percent..., Suisan Keizai, 11 August 1986, translated by R. Abe, US Embassy, Tokyo.

29 Salmon fishery may be banned within next three years ..., Suisan Keizai, 16 May 1986, translated by R. Abe, US Embassy, Tokyo.

It is interesting that the 1986 reduction in quota came after Japan and the USSR had decided to formalize their "cooperative relationship" in fisheries in May 1985. Most of this agreement, in fact, relates to anadromous species and is based on the formulation of Article 66 in the UN Convention.30 One paragraph of that agreement reads:

"The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will give consideration to Japan's normal fish catch of anadromous fish species, to the forms of its fishing operations and to all sea areas where the catching of such fish has been carried out."

30 See Full text of the Agreement between the Japanese Government and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on Cooperation in the Fishery Field, Nikkan Suisan Keizai, 14 May 1985, p. 2.

Noting that the warning of total phase-out by 1989 came at the end of the 1985 reviews and was not made as a formal proposal, Japan argued that it was contrary to both the Japan-Soviet Fishery Cooperation Agreement and the UN Convention, and therefore indicated its opposition.31 The USSR, in turn, replied that both those agreements prohibited offshore fishing for anadromous species but that there had been instances of Japanese vessels operating outside designated areas and catching excess amounts of fish. The warning was clear that, unless Japan effectively curbed such illegal operations, the complete ban would go into effect.

31 Salmon fishery may be banned within three years..., Suisan Keizai, 16 May 1986.

Again, these difficulties with the USSR occurred when Japan was experiencing even more severe difficulties with the United States in 1985-86 over Japanese interceptions of western Alaska chinook. This conflict rapidly escalated to the point where it threatened to get out of hand and infect other major issues between the two parties.

As seen from the US (primarily Alaskan) side, the basic issue was the unacceptably high Japanese interceptions of western Alaska chinook in the central Bering Sea which threatened the integrity of the compromise underlying the renegotiated INPFC arrangements. From this point of view, the combined time and area closures approach reflected concessions on both sides, in which Japanese effort in the international area outside the US and Canadian zones would be restricted in return for Japanese access within the US zone at times when salmon of North American origin were low in abundance. However, since 1980, the effort of the mothership fleet in the international area (central Bering Sea) had been increasing to the point where it seemed possible that half of the total harvest of western Alaska chinook might be taken on the high seas as immature fish one or two years away from their inshore migration, and weighing less than one third of the weight they would have had had they reached inshore waters. The total catch of the land-based gill-net and mothership fleets in addition to that of the foreign trawl fleets in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands subregions was estimated to be 994 000 fish in 1980.

Seen from the Japanese side, however, the picture was quite different. The mothership fleet argued that the combined effects of restrictions imposed by the United States and the USSR were to squeeze Japanese high seas fisheries into a fishing ground that was only 13 percent of the total area. Even so, they targeted only salmon of Asian origin. Salmon of North American origin were fully protected, as was shown by the rapid increases in the yield of the runs since the INPFC was revised in 1978. Rather than the one million fish interception figure utilized by the US side, Japanese estimates were 400 000 fish for the same year.

"But even if we based our calculations on the American estimate of one million, the 'interception' is less than 0.8 percent of total catches of salmon in Alaska, which reached a record 145 million fish in 1985, and has averaged 128 million fish annually over the latest five years".32 Furthermore, if all interceptions were completely eliminated, the estimated total salmon migration into Alaskan rivers would increase by only 0.3 to 0.4 percent.

32 Statement by Shu Ohtaka, Editor-in-Chief, Suisan Tsushin, n.d.

The issue became a highly visible and emotional one in Alaska and was taken up by very influential members of the US Congress, most notably by Senator Ted Stevens. Sufficient pressure was then put on a reluctant US Government to withhold a major portion of the Japanese groundfish allocation when the United States accused Japan of stonewalling in the negotiations. Not surprisingly, that linkage had explosive effects in Japan where fishermen and their representatives in the Diet interpreted US actions as aiming at the destruction of the Japanese high seas fishery. They, in turn, threatened to withhold import quotas for processed pollack and joint venture fish from US waters until the US released Japan's groundfish allocation.

In the midst of this intense confrontation, the US Department of State was seeking to find a solution which would achieve a 50-60 percent reduction in Japanese interception of North American salmon and still allow the Japanese high seas fleets to catch almost the same amount of salmon of Asian origin as they had been catching (about 30 million fish).33 Eventually, a solution was found as a result of painful concessions made by each side. The essential elements of the compromise will close the central Bering Sea to the mothership fleet by 1994 in return for increased effort within the US zone. Fishing in the eastern half of the Bering Sea will be phased out by 1988 and in the western half by 1994. Total fleet days within the US zone will increase to 140 days after the high seas area is closed.34 For the land-based fishery, the eastern boundary of 175°E has been moved to the west by one degree (174°E) and is subject to review in three to five years in the light of joint research to be undertaken. The agreement was denounced by Alaskan fishermen35 but was submitted to an extraordinary meeting of the INPFC, after consultation with Canada, and approved. The Alaskan objection was that the "solution" ignored the Japanese interceptions in the North Pacific Ocean as distinct from the Bering Sea. As such, it did not provide adequate protection.

33 Ambassador Negroponte's opening statement to Japanese journalists, 17 January 1986.

34 Record of discussions between Japan and the United States regarding salmon interceptions, Tokyo, 6-8 March 1986, Annex I.

35 Anchorage Daily News, 19 March 1986, Section B.

What, then, is the future of the Japanese high seas salmon fleet? No doubt the pressure has been relentless, but this was presaged by the formulation of Article 66 in the UN Convention. By 1994, all high seas fishing for salmon in the Bering Sea will have been phased out, but it will probably continue in the central North Pacific barring some future major confrontation over interceptions. The problem is the same on the western side vis-à-vis the USSR, and it was probably no coincidence that the USSR chose May of 1986 to raise the flag of a complete ban in three years' time on Japanese salmon fishing in the Soviet zone.

But the Japanese high seas salmon fleet, while much reduced, need not disappear. Stable allocations are available within the US zone in return for reduced interceptions on the high seas. This is a self-enforcing arrangement given the complementary interests of the parties. The same would have to be true in the northwest Pacific, especially since the USSR has drastically cut the Japanese overall quota to 150 000 mt (not including salmon). Unless Japan has continued access to salmon quotas within the Soviet zone, there will be no obvious incentive to curtail high seas fishing for salmon of Soviet origin. This is, in toto, a much smaller "pie" than formerly but it is not negligible either in quantity or value. As the Bishop of Tyndale said, in the twelfth century: "It is better to have somewhat than to be done out of altogether".

United States/Canada salmon. The total focus of US/Canada salmon concerns goes far beyond the focus of the IPSFC which is limited, in its terms of reference, to managing the sockeye and pink salmon runs of the Fraser River. If that were the only problem, extended jurisdiction would be entirely irrelevant in this case, and there would be no reason to do anything with the existing arrangement beyond adjusting shares of the catch over a period and compensating Canada for foregoing industrial development of the upper Fraser River.

The real problems here are extremely complex and essentially twofold. The first is the broad problem of reciprocal interceptions of US salmon by Canadian fishermen and vice versa. This is complicated because of the extremely intricate geography of the region and because of the variety of fleets and fisheries which have developed over the years. Balancing trade-offs of catch is in itself an onerous task of great technical complexity. Reciprocal interceptions also retard investments in artificial propagation of salmon (enhancement) since neither government can be sure that its nationals will reap the benefits of investment of public funds.

The second problem is a combination of political complexity, notably on the US side, and the cultural power of salmon as a symbol of historic importance in the northwest Pacific. Extended jurisdiction is of relevance here in terms of the authority to manage. While the MFCMA created a new management structure based on regional councils, it fractionated authority even further by adding yet another bureaucratic level. After 1976, therefore, instead of just three states and the Federal Government which were required to concert policy vis-à-vis Canada, there were now three states, two regional councils and the Federal Government. Nor was this all, since the effect of the Boldt Decision in 1974 made the native Indian Tribes within the United States powerful players in their own right.

The initial need to respond to the implications of extended jurisdiction really emerged in 1964 and 1966 when first Canada and then the United States extended their fisheries jurisdictions to 12 miles.36 This resulted, in 1970, in the first bilateral agreement between the parties concerning the whole range of reciprocal fishing privileges. This agreement was revised in 1973 and then extended annually until 1977. At that time the MFCMA required the negotiation of a new reciprocal fisheries Agreement which was completed on 24 February 1977. However, as the United States embarked on a series of increasingly stringent regulatory measures on all salmon fishing within its zone through the North Pacific and Pacific Fishery Management Councils, adverse impacts on Canadian fishermen increased and the reciprocal Agreement broke down in 1978.

36 This summary is based on: HENRY, K. A history of Canada-United States fishery relations since the turn of the century, unpublished paper, April 1978; and HENRY, K.A. 1981. International salmon interception. Science, politics and fishing: A series of lectures. Corvallis, OR. Sea Grant College Program, Oregon State University, pp. 127-139.

Bilateral discussions on the salmon interception problem had been held every year since 1970, but the formal negotiations for a comprehensive treaty began in 1977. While these were continuing, the situation deteriorated rapidly until access was terminated by Canada on 1 June 1978. The United States replied in kind and the stalemate continued through the 1979 fishing season.37

37 Miles et al., 1982, pp. 174-175.

As the negotiations progressed to the spring of 1979, the approach adopted by the negotiators sought to create a new Pacific Salmon Commission covering all interception issues from northern Alaska to southern Oregon, and detailed provisions on interception limitations were being hammered out.

But in the spring of 1979, Donald L. McKernan, the chief US negotiator, died. Moreover, internal difficulties on both sides jeopardized the acceptability of what had been done so far. As a result, the new US negotiator, Dayton L. Alverson, and his Canadian counterpart, Michael P. Shepard, shifted their strategy to a search for joint gain in which they sought to stabilize interceptions in the short term, cooperate to maximize the production of salmon and equitably share the results.38 Sharing was to be achieved by the application of two principles: first, each country should benefit from its own enhancement and, second, the parties would work to derive a formula that would give each country a share equal to its total national production.

38 Agreed summary record of Canada/United States discussions on a comprehensive agreement on the management and development of Pacific salmon stocks of mutual concern, Lynnwood, WA. 20-25 October 1980.

In addition, rather than continue the attempt to define a very detailed and specific set of arrangements, the negotiators sought to design:

"...a general framework Convention which would include a series of binding principles and a series of specific provisions related to an initial salmon interception limitation scheme, management of stocks bound for transboundary and Fraser rivers, and technical resolution procedures. A Commission (with appropriate subsidiary panels) would be formed immediately on ratification to implement the Convention during the first year in which the Convention comes into force."

"Once the Convention is in place, it would be necessary for the parties to negotiate further detailed implementation provisions regarding specific fisheries and approaches to management, development, research and monitoring".39

39 Ibid., p. 3.

This approach bore fruit but was effectively opposed in 1983-84 by a coalition of fisheries interests in Alaska. The United States, therefore, required renegotiation of the Convention. But this issue, not surprisingly, had by that time gone to the top of the Canadian agenda with the United States and was dealt with by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and President Ronald Reagan. Both chief executives agreed that the problem had to be solved and appointed special negotiators with the power to impose solutions on recalcitrant, domestic coalitions if need be. This last push produced an agreement in January 1985 which was based very largely on the agreement which had been proposed in 1983-84.40 In fact, only some of the annexes were changed.

40 Treaty between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America concerning Pacific Salmon, signed on 16 January 1985. The Treaty was ratified by the US Senate in March 1985.

The Treaty created a Pacific Salmon Commission composed of a decision-making group of eight representatives divided into two national sections, comprising four representatives each from the United States and Canada, and three subsidiary panels based on previously-defined geographic subregions: a Northern Panel, a Southern Panel and a Fraser River Panel. The latter incorporates the old IPSFC. Each national section has one vote and decisions require approval from both sections. Annex IV of the Treaty sets out fishing regimes, with detailed sharing provisions, for the following two to fifteen years.

The fragmented authority problem on the US side has been solved by a very ingenious proposal offered by the representative for the Indian Tribes. The US panel of four commissioners contains one representative each from Alaska, the Federal Government and the Indian Tribes and a combined representative from the states of Washington and Oregon. The federal representative does not vote within the US side and the decision mechanism calls for agreement from the other three. The self-enforcing ingredient here rests on an understanding that without such agreement there will be no allocation. Without an allocation in any year, there can be no fishing.

The other interesting ingredient on the US side is that the State of Alaska wanted a commitment from the Indian Tribes not to sue the State to apply the Boldt Decision. On the other hand, the Indian Tribes wanted a treaty and they wanted the State of Alaska to support it. The solution arrived at was that the Indian Tribes have agreed not to sue as long as the Treaty is in force and as long as the United States meets its treaty obligations. In turn, the State of Alaska has agreed to come under the jurisdiction of the Federal District Court in Seattle.

All the portents are good for this Treaty to provide the basis for an effective solution of the total United States/Canada salmon interception problem. In the first place, the underlying interests of both coastal states are complementary. Both have extensive plans for salmon enhancement which could not be realized without solving the interception problems. Both parties also faced very difficult domestic problems - particularly the United States - which could not be solved without simultaneous or prior settlements of the international problems. Finally, US and Canadian scientific advice was unanimous on what would be required to rebuild the stocks. This facilitated agreement.

It is difficult to see how the State of Alaska benefited from its opposition to the agreement in 1983-84. It gained initially from substantially increased catches in the two-year period during which the agreement was not in force, but this was at the price of lower catches for the next 15 years to facilitate rebuilding. The Treaty can therefore be regarded as the vindication of the approach adopted by the two negotiators, Shepard and Alverson, in 1979.


The Halibut Commission (IPHC), created in 1925, has as its primary objective the development and maintenance of stocks of Pacific halibut to levels permitting the maximum sustained yield to be taken from that fishery (Art. III). But, in doing so, the Commission was not empowered to deal with the economic dimension of management.41 This was to prove a major hindrance along with the Commission's inability to respond to the development of large-scale, distant-water trawl fisheries of Japan and the USSR after 1956. Extended jurisdiction, of course, would provide some relief by imposing effective controls on the foreign fleets. While it did not solve the whole problem, it even created a new one in the rapid growth of domestic trawl fleets in the United States, which were not put under the same stringent controls faced by the foreign fleets.

41 Miles et al., 1982, pp. 64-68, 165-167.

As required by the MFCMA, the United States gave the required two-year notice of its intention to terminate the Convention on 1 April 1977 in order to bring the Convention into line with the new Act. This was not an especially contentious issue between the parties but there were conflicts over respective allocations, and the halibut issue was linked to the larger issue of reciprocal access to each other's zones by vessels participating in the groundfish fisheries of Canada and the United States. A new Agreement came into force on 29 March 1979. Article III of the Protocol amending the original Treaty of 1925 allows the IPHC to continue with its traditional objectives. However, the Convention still does not empower the Commission to consider the economic dimension of management.

This arrangement reflects an important complication. The Halibut Commission is the management authority over the halibut resource but it does not have full authority in regulating the licensing of vessels to implement limited entry schemes. For this to be done in the US zone where most of the fishing occurs it would have to be implemented by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council. Such action, therefore, would require the joint efforts of both the IPHC and the NPFMC. This was actually attempted during the period 1982-84 but it failed as a result of significant opposition within the US fleet and the consequences of failure seriously aggravated the problem. But there is no need to treat this issue in any detail here because it is unrelated to extended jurisdiction.


Extended jurisdiction had no discernible impact upon the renegotiation of the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention in 1980. Some minor difficulties occurred over an attempt generated by environmentalists and the Marine Mammal Commission to incorporate the standard of the US Marine Mammal Protection Act ("optimum sustainable population") to the Fur Seal Convention, but it was successfully resisted by the other contracting parties on the grounds that the standard could not be defined operationally.42 The Convention was extended in 1980 and the original arrangement seems stable, even though there is increased opposition within the United States to the harvesting of fur seals in the Pribilof Islands.

42 Ibid., p. 222.


The major winners as a result of extensions of coastal state jurisdiction in the North Pacific are the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The northwest Pacific has increased the Soviet total catch by 25-28 percent since 1976. The northeast Pacific has become the most important region in the US domestic catch. Canadian fisheries interests in the Pacific are relatively small. The major losers are Japan and the Republic of Korea, but Japan has had great success in increasing production from its offshore fishery which more than compensates in quantity for losses suffered elsewhere.

The situation shows that while there was potential stability in allocations at a far higher level in the United States/Japan relationship through 1986, at a significant cost for Japan in joint ventures, this is no longer the case as of 1987. However, even with joint ventures there will always be continued threats and challenges because only certain groups of US fishermen benefit from them, and the other fishermen have nothing to lose from challenging these arrangements. At the same time, the US Federal Government clearly sees that the overall benefit of the nation will not be served by a complete phase-out of all foreign fishermen from the US zone in the short-to-medium term. Moreover, the United States will have effective leverage over Japan, especially with respect to trade in fisheries products, only if allocations for Japanese-directed fishing in the United States zone remain at a significant level. Without those, the United States will have to search for other levers.

Three trends into the future are clear. First, the problem of import quotas on fishery products into the Japanese market will increase in salience and will continue to be dealt with at a higher level than previously. Indeed, in October 1986, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) held its first meeting on this problem. Japan will be at a greater disadvantage at this level because the European Economic Community countries are also seeking easier access to the Japanese markets.43 Second, Japan will face increased demands from countries in the northwest Pacific, most notably from the USSR, China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, to include joint ventures as part of the price of future access.44 Third, the significance of the Japanese high seas salmon fleet will continue to decline in relation to imports from the United States and the dramatic increase of production of hatchery-reared chum salmon in Japan. In 1976, for instance, Japan imported 4 000 mt of salmon and produced domestically 38 000 mt of chum salmon, while the high seas fleet produced 82 000 mt.45 In 1985, by contrast, Japan imported 116 000 mt (mostly from the United States) and produced domestically 168 000 mt of chum salmon, while the high seas fleet produced 34 000 mt. This is truly a major shift.

43 IQ system on marine products reach crucial point..., Suisan Keizai, 30 September 1986. Translated by R. Abe, US Embassy, Tokyo.

44 Communist nations showing new moves, Suisan Keizai, 22 September 1986; and North Korea studying collection of fishing fee..., Suisan Keizai, 24 September 1986. Translated by R. Abe, US Embassy, Tokyo.

45 Nasaka, Y. (above note 28), Table 1.

With respect to regional commissions, the dominant impression is that coastal states chose to adopt pragmatic approaches to these issues reflecting the ad hoc specific points to be solved in each case. The major change induced by extended coastal state jurisdiction was experienced only on the high seas salmon-fishing issue. The other three cases were affected either only slightly or not at all, but the opportunity was seized nonetheless to update the statutes of the commissions and, sometimes, to adapt their designs to changed conditions.

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