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Environmental Treaties and Resource Indicators (ENTRI) -- Full Text


For related treaties please consult the following list: Summary of the "Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals" is available from the UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment.

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CONVENTION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF ANTARCTIC 
SEALS

London, 1 June 1972

    The Contracting Parties,

    Recalling the Agreed Measures for the Conservation 
of Antarctic Fauna and Flora adopted under the Antarctic 
Treaty signed at Washington on I December 1959:

    Recognizing the general concern about the 
vulnerability of Antarctic seals to commercial 
exploitation and the consequent need for effective 
conservation measures:

    Recognizing that the stocks of Antarctic seals are 
an important living resource in the marine environment 
which requires an international agreement for its 
effective conservation;

    Recognizing that this resource should not be 
depleted by over-exploitation, and hence that any 
harvesting should be regulated so as not to exceed the 
levels of the optimum sustainable yield;

    Recognizing that in order to improve scientific 
knowledge and so place exploitation on a rational basis, 
every effort should be made both to encourage biological 
and other research on Antarctic seal populations and to 
gain information from such research and from the 
statistics of future sealing operations, so that further 
suitable regulations may be formulated;

    Noting that the Scientific Committee on Antarctic 
Research of the International Council of Scientific 
Unions (SCAR) is willing to carry out the tasks 
requested of it in this Convention.

    Desiring to promote and achieve the objectives of 
protection, scientific study and rational use of 
Antarctic seals, and to maintain a satisfactory balance 
within the ecological system,

    Have agreed as follows:


Article I

SCOPE

1 . This Convention applies to the sea south of 60 deg 
South Latitude, in respect of which the Contracting 
Parties affirm the provisions of Article IV of the 
Antarctic Treaty.

2. This Convention may be applicable to any or all of 
the following species:

Southern elephant seal Mirounga leonina,

Leopard seal Hydrurga leptonyx,

Weddell seal Leptonychotes weddelli,

Crabeater seal Lobodon carcinophagus,

Ross seal Ommatophoca rossi,

Southern fur seals Arctocephalus sp.

3. The Annex to this Convention forms an integral part 
thereof.


Article 2

IMPLEMENTATION

I . The Contracting Parties agree that the species of 
seals enumerated in Article I shall not be killed or 
captured within the Convention area by their nationals 
or vessels under their respective flags except in 
accordance with the provisions of this Convention .

2. Each Contracting Party shall adopt for its nationals 
and for vessels under its flag such laws, regulations 
and other measures, including a permit system as 
appropriate, as may be necessary to implement this 
Convention.


Article 3

ANNEXED MEASURES

I . This Convention includes an Annex specifying 
measures which the Contracting Parties hereby adopt. 
Contracting Parties may from time to time in the future 
adopt other measures with respect to the conservation, 
scientific study and rational and humane use of seal 
resources, prescribing inter alia: 

a) permissible catch;

b) protected and unprotected species;

c) open and closed seasons;

d) open and closed areas, including the designation of 
reserves;

e) the designation of special areas where there shall be 
no disturbance of seals;

f) limits relating to sex, size, or age for each 
species;

g) restrictions relating to time of day and duration, 
limitations of effort and methods of sealing;

h) types and specifications of gear and apparatus and 
appliances which may be used;

i) catch returns and other statistical and biological 
records;

j) procedures for facilitating the review and assessment 
of scientific information:

k) other regulatory measures including an effective 
system of inspection.

2. The measures adopted under paragraph ( 1) of this 
Article shall be based upon the best scientific and 
technical evidence available.

3. The Annex may from time to time be amended in 
accordance with the procedures provided for in Article 
9.


Article 4

SPECIAL PERMITS

1. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Convention, 
any Contracting Party may issue permits to kill or 
capture seals in limited quantities and in conformity 
with the objectives and principles of this Convention 
for the following purposes:

a) to provide indispensable food for men or dogs;

b) to provide for scientific research; or

c) to provide specimens for museums, educational or 
cultural institutions.

2. Each Contracting Party shall, as soon as possible, 
inform the other Contracting Parties and SCAR of the 
purpose and content of all permits issued under 
paragraph (1) of this Article and  subsequently of the 
numbers of seals killed or captured under these permits.


Article 5

EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION AND SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

1. Each Contracting Party shall provide to the other 
Contracting Parties and to SCAR the information 
specified in the Annex within the period indicated 
therein.

2. Each Contracting Party shall also provide to the 
other Contracting Parties and to SCAR before 31 October 
each year information on any steps it has taken in 
accordance with Article 2 of this Convention during the 
preceding period of I July to 30 June.

3. Contracting Parties which have no information report 
under the two preceding paragraphs shall indicate this 
formally before 31 October each year.

4. SCAR is invited:

a) to assess information received pursuant to this 
Article; encourage exchange of scientific data and 
information among the Contracting Parties; recommend 
programmes for scientific research; recommend 
statistical and biological data to be collected by 
sealing expeditions within the Convention area; and 
suggest amendments to the Annex; and

b) to report on the basis of the statistical, biological 
and other evidence available when the harvest of any 
species of seal in the Convention area is having a 
significantly harmful effect on the total stocks of such 
species or on the ecological system in any particular 
locality.

5. SCAR is invited to notify the Depositary which shall 
report to the Contracting Parties when SCAR estimates in 
any sealing season that the permissible catch limits for 
any species are likely to be exceeded and, in that case, 
to provide an estimate of the date upon which the 
permissible catch limits will be reached. Each 
Contracting party shall then take appropriate measures 
to prevent its nationals and vessels under its flag from 
killing or capturing seals of that species after the 
estimated date until the Contracting Parties decide 
otherwise.

6. SCAR may if necessary seek the technical assistance 
of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United 
Nations in making its assessments.

7. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of 
Article 1 the Contracting Parties shall, in accordance 
with their internal law, report to each other and to 
SCAR, for consideration, statistics relating to the 
Antarctic seals listed in paragraph (2) of Article 1 
which have been killed or captured by their nationals 
and vessels under their respective flags in the area of 
floating sea ice north of 60 deg South latitude.


Article 6

CONSULTATIONS BETWEEN CONTRACTING PARTIES

1. At any time after commercial sealing has begun a 
Contracting Party may propose through the Depositary 
that a meeting of Contracting Parties be convened with a 
view to:

a) establishing by a two-thirds majority of the 
Contracting Parties, including the concurring votes of 
all States signatory to this Convention present at the 
meeting, an effective system of control, including 
inspection, over the implementation of the provisions of 
this Convention;

b) establishing a commission to perform such functions 
under this Convention as the Contracting Parties may 
deem necessary; or

c) considering other proposals, including:

 (i) the provision of independent scientific advice;

(ii) the establishment, by a two-thirds majority, of a 
scientific advisory committee which may be assigned some 
or all of the functions requested of SCAR under this 
Convention, if commercial sealing reaches significant 
proportions;

(iii) the carrying out of scientific programmes with the 
participation of the Contracting Parties; and

(iv) the provision of further regulatory measures, 
including moratoria.

2. if one-third of the Contracting Parties indicate 
agreement the Depositary shall convene such a meeting, 
as soon as possible.

3. A meeting shall be held at the request of any 
Contracting Party, if SCAR reports that the harvest of 
any species of Antarctic seal in the area to which this 
Convention applies is having a significantly harmful 
effect on the total stocks or the ecological system in 
any particular locality.


Article 7

REVIEW OF OPERATIONS

    The Contracting Parties shall meet within five years 
after the entry into force of this Convention and at 
least every five years thereafter to review the 
operation of the Convention.


Article 8

AMENDMENTS TO THE CONVENTION

1. This Convention may be amended at any time.The text 
of any amendment proposed by a Contracting Party shall 
be submitted to the Depositary, which shall transmit it 
to all the Contracting Parties.

2. If one-third of the Contracting Parties request a 
meeting to discuss the proposed amendment the Depositary 
shall call such a meeting.

3. An amendment shall enter into force when the 
Depositary has received instruments of ratification or 
acceptance thereof from all the Contracting Parties.



Article 9

AMENDMENTS TO THE ANNEX

1. Any Contracting Party may propose amendments to the 
Annex to this Convention. The text of any such proposed 
amendment shall be submitted to the Depositary which 
shall transmit it to all Contracting Parties.

2. Each such proposed amendment shall become effective 
for all Contracting Parties six months after the date 
appearing on the notification from the Depositary to the 
Contracting Parties, if within 120 days of the 
notification date, no objection has been received and 
two-thirds of the Contracting Parties have notified the 
Depositary in writing of their approval.

3. If an objection is received from any Contracting 
Party within 120 days of the notification date, the 
matter shall be considered by the Contracting Parties at 
their next meeting. If unanimity on the matter is not 
reached at the meeting, the Contracting Parties shall 
notify the Depositary within 120 days from the date of 
the closure, of the meeting of their approval or 
rejection of the original amendment or of any new 
amendment proposed by the meeting. If, by the end of 
this period, two-thirds of the Contracting Parties have 
approved such amendment, it shall become effective six 
months from the date of the closure of the meeting for 
those Contracting Parties which have by then notified 
their approval.

4. Any Contracting Party which has objected to a 
proposed amendment may at any time withdraw that 
objection, and the proposed amendment shall become 
effective with respect to such Party immediately if the 
amendment is already in effect, or at such time as it 
becomes effective under the terms of this Article.

5. The Depositary shall notify each Contracting Party 
immediately upon receipt of each approval or objection, 
of each withdrawal of objection, and of the entry into 
force of any amendment.

6. Any State which becomes a party to this Convention 
after an amendment to the Annex has entered into force 
shall be bound by the Annex as so amended. Any State 
which becomes a Party to this Convention during the 
period when a proposed amendment is pending may approve 
or object to such an amendment within the time limits 
applicable to other Contracting Parties.


Article 10

SIGNATURE

    This Convention shall be open for signature at 
London from 1 June to 31 December 1972 by States 
participating in the Conference on the Conservation of 
Antarctic Seals held at London from 3 to 11 February 
1972.


Article 11

RATIFICATION

    This Convention is subject to ratification or 
acceptance. Instruments of ratification or acceptance 
shall be deposited with the Government of the United 
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, hereby 
designated as the Depositary.


Article 12

ACCESSION

    This Convention shall be open for accession by any 
State which may be invited to accede to this Convention 
with the consent of all the Contracting Parties.


Article 13

ENTRY INTO FORCE

1. This Convention shall enter into force on the 
thirtieth day following the date of deposit of the 
seventh instrument of ratification or acceptance. 

2. Thereafter this Convention shall enter into force for 
each ratifying, accepting or acceding State on the 
thirtieth day after deposit by such State of its 
instrument of ratification, acceptance or accession.


Article 14

WITHDRAWL

    Any Contracting Party may withdraw from this 
Convention on 30 June of any year by giving notice on or 
before 1 January of the same year to the Depositary, 
which upon receipt of such a notice shall at once 
communicate it to the other Contracting Parties. Any 
other Contracting Party may, in like manner, within one 
month of the receipt of a copy of such a notice from the 
Depositary, give notice of withdrawal, so that the 
Convention shall cease to be in force on 30 June of the 
same year with respect to the Contracting Party giving 
such notice.


Article l5

NOTIFICATION BY THE DEPOSITARY

    The Depositary shall notify all signatory and 
aceeding States of the following:

a) signatures of this Convention, the deposit of 
instruments of ratification, acceptance or accession and 
notices of withdrawal;

b) the date of entry into force of this Convention and 
of any amendments to it or its Annex.


Article 16

CERTIFIED COPIES AND REGISTRATION

1 . This Convention, done in the English, French, 
Russian and Spanish languages, each version being 
equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of 
the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain 
and Northern Ireland, which shall transmit duly 
certified copies thereof to all signatory and acceding 
States.

2. This Convention shall be registered by the Depositary 
pursuant to Article 102 of the Charter of the United 
Nations.


    Done at London, this 1st day of June 1972.



Annex

1. Permissible Catch

The Contracting Parties in any one year, which shall run 
from 1 July to 30 June inclusive, restrict the total 
number of seals of each species killed or captured to 
the numbers specified below. These numbers are subject 
to review in the light of scientific assessments:

a) in the case of Crabeater seals Lobodon carcinophagus,  
175,000;

b) in the case of Leopard seals Hydrurga leptonyx.,  
12,000;

c) in the case of Weddell seals Leptonychotes weddelli,  
5,000.

2. Protected Species

a) It is forbidden to kill or capture Ross seals 
Ommatophoca rossi, Southern elephant seals Mirounga 
leonina, or fur seals of the genus Arctocephalus.

b) In order to protect the adult breeding stock when it 
it is most concentrated and vulnerable, it is forbidden 
to kill or capture any Weddell seal Leptonychotes 
weddelli one year old or older between 1 September and 
31 January inclusive.

3. Closed Season and Sealing Season

    The period between 1 March and 31 August inclusive 
is a Closed Season, during which the killing or 
capturing of seals is forbidden. The period 1 September 
to the last day in February constitutes a Sealing 
Season.

4. Sealing Zones

    Each of the sealing zones listed in this paragraph 
shall be closed in numerical sequence to all sealing 
operations for the seal species listed in paragraph 1 of 
this Annex for the period 1 September to the last day of 
February inclusive. Such closures shall begin with the 
same zone as is closed under paragraph 2 of Annex B to 
Annex 1 of the Report of the Fifth Antarctic Treaty 
Consultative Meeting at the moment the Convention enters 
into force. Upon the expiration of each closed period, 
the affected zone shall reopen:

Zone I  between 60 deg and 120 deg West Longitude

Zone 2  between 0 deg and 60 deg West Longitude, 
together with that part of
         the Weddell Sea lying westward of 60 deg West 
Longitude

Zone 3  between 0 deg and 70 deg East Longitude Zone 4 
between 70 deg and
         130 deg East Longitude

Zone 5  between 130 deg East Longitude and 170 deg
         West Longitude

Zone 6 between 120 deg and 170 deg West Longitude.

5. Seal Reserves

It is forbidden to kill or capture seals in the 
following reserves, which are seal breeding areas or the 
site of long-term scientific research:

a) The area around the South Orkney Islands between 60 
deg 20 min and 60 deg 56 min South Latitude and 44 deg 
05 min and 46 deg 25 min West Longitude.

b) The area of the southwestern Ross Sea south of 76 deg 
South Latitude and west of 170 deg East Longitude.

c) The area of Edisto Inlet south and west of a line 
drawn between Cape Hallett at 72 deg 19 min South 
Latitude, 170 deg 18 min East Longitude, and Helm Point, 
at 72 deg 11 min South Latitude, 170 deg 00 min East 
Longitude.

6. Exchange of Information

a) Contracting Parties shall provide before 31 October 
each year to other Contracting Parties and to SCAR a 
summary of statistical information on all seals killed 
or captured by their nationals and vessels under their 
respective flags in the Convention area, in respect of 
the preceding period 1 July to 30 June. This information 
shall include by zones and months:

 (i) The gross and nett tonnage, brake horsepower, 
number of crew, and number of days' operation of vessels 
under the flag of the Contracting Party;

(ii) The number of adult individuals and pups of each 
species taken.

When specially requested, this information shall be 
provided in respect of each ship, together with its 
daily position at noon each operating day and the catch 
on that day.

b) When an industry has started, reports of the number 
of seals of each species killed or captured in each zone 
shall be made to SCAR in the form and at the intervals 
(not shorter than one week) requested by that body.

c) Contracting Parties shall provide to SCAR biological 
information, in particular:

  (i) Sex

 (ii) Reproductive condition

(iii) Age

SCAR may request additional information or material with 
the approval of the Contracting Parties.

d) Contracting Parties shall provide to other 
Contracting Parties and to SCAR at least 30 days in 
advance of departure from their home ports information 
on proposed sealing expeditions.

7. Sealing Methods

a) SCAR is invited to report on methods of sealing and 
to make recommendations with a view to ensuring that the 
killing or capturing of seals is quick, painless and 
efficient. Contracting Parties, as appropriate, shall 
adopt rules for their nationals and vessels under their 
respective flags engaged in the killing and capturing of 
seals, giving due consideration to the views of SCAR.

b) In the light of the available scientific and 
technical data, Contracting Parties agree to take 
appropriate steps to ensure that their nationals and 
vessels under their respective flags refrain from 
killing or capturing seals in the water, except in 
limited quantities to provide for scientific research in 
conformity with the objectives and principles of this 
Convention. Such research shall include studies as to 
the effectiveness of methods of sealing from the 
viewpoint of the management and humane and rational 
utilization of the Antarctic seal resources for 
conservation purposes. The undertaking and the results 
of any such scientific research programme shall be 
communicated to SCAR and the Depositary which shall 
transmit them to the Contracting Parties.



Addendum

    At the signature, the following statement was made 
by the Representative of Chile:

    "The Delegation of Chile states that the reference 
to Article IV of the Antarctic Treaty contained in 
Article 1 of the present Convention signifies that 
nothing specified therein shall confirm, deny or impair 
the rights of the Contracting Parties as regards their 
maritime jurisdictions and their declared juridical 
position on this matter."

    The following statement was made by the 
Representative of the United States of America:

    "The Delegation of the United States of America 
believes that the Convention should contain stronger 
provisions for the observation of operations and 
enforcement of regulations, especially with regard to 
the use of observers of the Contracting Parties with 
each others' sealing expeditions. Opposition to stronger 
provisions has chiefly arisen not from commercial but 
from juridical interests.

    "Nevertheless, the Convention is a new and valuable 
International Agreement, achieved in advance of the 
development of commercial sealing in the Antarctic. that 
contains many provisions important to the conservation 
of seals and their protection against over-exploitation. 
We understand exploratory commercial sealing ventures 
may be imminent.

    "In order not to diminish the progress achieved by 
this Conference in international co-operation effective 
conservation in the Antarctic, the delegation of the 
United States of America has decided to sign the Final 
Act and will submit the Convention for its Government's 
consideration."