What is the Pacific Salmon Commission?

  • A treaty-based international organization
  • A decision-making body for cooperative management of Pacific salmon
    • Actual Commission is four delegates and four alternates from each country
    • Many subsidiary bodies (Panels/Committees) with approximately 200 participants
  • One of many regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs) around the world
  • The Commission gives both countries a forum through which to resolve their difficult salmon management problems.
  • Stands in testimony of 100 years of cooperation between USA and Canada on Pacific salmon management

What the Pacific Salmon Commission is NOT

  • Not a government agency, non-profit organization, or corporation
  • Not the headquarters staff in Vancouver
    • The staff in Vancouver are the PSC Secretariat; the Commission authorizes creation or deletion of staff positions
    • Secretariat supports and enables the Commission to do its work
    • Staff and other operational costs are financed mostly with annual dues paid by each national government (currently $1.9 million per country)
  • Not able to act without consensus between countries
  • Not just a Fraser River-focused body

How it Works

The Treaty specifies administrative rules such as the location and frequency of meetings; establishes fisheries management guidelines and policies, outlines research recommendations, and establishes specific tasks and responsibilities for the Technical Committees and Panels.

Each country retains jurisdictional management authority of their fisheries but manages them in a manner that is consistent with the Treaty.

The fundamental role of the Pacific Salmon Commission is two-fold:

  1. To prevent overfishing and provide for optimum production; and
  2. To provide for each Party to receive benefits equivalent to the production of salmon originating in its waters.

Each country has only a single vote in the Commission.  Therefore each national section must express its position in a single vote and all bilateral agreements require agreement between the two national sections.

Essentially, the Commission works like this:

Step 1: Each country provides technical information to the Commission on the conduct of its fisheries, pre-season expectations and enhancement activities, which is:
Step 2: analyzed by bilateral technical committees, which then report to:
Step 3: Panels, which use these reports to develop their fishery recommendations. From here the various area plans are:
Step 4: Sent to the Commissioners for consideration. At this stage, the Commissioners meet to review and conclude negotiations on the plans, which are then:
Step 5: transmitted to the Governments of Canada and the United States for final approval and regulatory implementation.