Pacific Salmon Commission recommends new language for Chapter 4 under the Pacific Salmon Treaty

July 2, 2019: The Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) has recommended to the governments of Canada and the United States a new agreement for Chapter 4 (Fraser River Sockeye and Pink Salmon) under the Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST).

Signed by Canada and the United States (U.S.) in 1985, the Pacific Salmon Treaty provides a framework for the two countries to cooperate on the management of Pacific salmon. Pacific salmon are highly-migratory, often spending years at sea and travelling thousands of miles before returning to their natal rivers to spawn. A high degree of cooperation is required to prevent overfishing, provide optimum production and ensure that each country receives benefits that are equivalent to the production of salmon in its waters.

Chapter 4 covers sockeye and pink salmon stocks migrating to and from the Fraser River and was last renewed in 2014. With Chapter 4 set to expire on December 31, 2019, the negotiating team, made up of Canadian and U.S. representatives on the PSC’s Fraser River Panel, met regularly between November 2018 and February 2019 to discuss proposed amendments to the Chapter. In February 2019, an agreement-in-principle was reached during the PSC Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

“I’m pleased we were able to bring forward this recommendation,” said Jennifer Nener, Canadian Fraser River Panel Chair and Director of Salmon Management, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Region. “Given that the Chapter was last renewed in 2014, it was still relatively current, with no major issues that needed to be addressed. That said, we did have challenging timelines and through cooperative efforts with our U.S. colleagues, we were able to update the chapter language within these timelines,” she added.

“In the time frame that we had to finish Chapter 4, the parties worked hard and had good discussions,” said Lorraine Loomis, U.S. Fraser River Panel Vice-Chair. “The new language clarified management issues to better manage the resource for both countries,” she added.

Overall, Canada and the United States continue to support the existing Chapter 4 provisions and the proposed changes to Chapter 4 are minor and aimed at clarifying and updating existing procedures that further support management decisions in the coming years.

The proposed agreement has now been referred to the two governments for their legal review and ratification through formal diplomatic channels. If approved, the new agreement will be effective on January 1, 2020 and remain in force through December 31, 2028, aligning the Chapter expiration with five other fishing Chapters under the PST.

For further information, please contact John Field, Executive Secretary of the Pacific Salmon Commission at or by phone at 604-684-8081 (ext. 622).