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Summary of the "International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas" is available from the UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment.

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INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF ATLANTIC TUNAS

Rio de Janeiro, 14 May 1966


The Government whose duly authorized representatives have 
subscribed hereto, considering their mutual interest in the 
populations of tuna and tuna-like fishes found in the Atlantic 
Ocean, and desiring to co-operate in maintaining the populations 
of these fishes at levels which will permit the maximum 
sustainable catch for food and other purposes, resolve to conclude 
a Convention for the coservation of the resources of tuna and 
tuna-like fishes of the Atlantic Ocean, and to that end agree as 
follows:


Article I

The area to which this Convention shall apply, hereinafter 
referred to as the "Convention area" shall be all waters of the 
Atlantic Ocean, including the adjacent Seas.


Article II

Nothing in this Convention shall be considered as affecting the 
rights, claims or view of any Contracting Party in regard to the 
limits of territorial waters or the extent of jurisdiction over 
fisheries under international law.


Article III

1. The Contracting Parties hereby agree to establish and maintain 
a Commission to be known as the International Commission for the 
Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, hereinafter referred to as "the 
Commission", which shall carry out the objectives set forth in 
this Convention.

2. Each of the Contracting Parties shall be represented on the 
Commission by not more than three Delegates. Such Delegates may be 
assisted by experts and advisors.

3. Except as may otherwise be provided in this Convention, 
decisions of the Commission shall be taken by a majority of the 
Contracting Parties, each Contracting Party having one vote. Two-
thirds of the Contracting Parties shall constitute a quorum.

4. The Commission shall hold a regular meeting once every two 
years. A special meeting may be called at any time at the request 
of a majority of the Contracting Parties or by decision of the 
Council as constituted in Article V.

5. At its first meeting, and thereafter at each regular meeting, 
the Commission shall elect from among its Members a Chairman, a 
first Vice-Chairman and a second Vice-Chairman who shall not be 
re-elected for more than one term.

6. The meetings of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies shall 
be public unless the Commission otherwise decides.

7. The official languages of the Commission shall be English, 
French and Spanish.

8. The Commission shall have authority to adopt such rules of 
procedure and financial regulations as are necessary to carry out 
its functions.

9. The Commission shall submit a report to the Contracting Parties 
every two years on its work and findings and shall also inform any 
Contracting Party, whenever requested, on any matter relating to 
the objectives of the Convention.


Article IV

1. In order to carry out the objectives of this Convention the 
Commission shall be responsible for the study of the populations 
of tuna and tuna-like fishes (the Scombriformes with the exception 
of the families Trichiuridae and Gempylidae and the genus Scomber) 
and such other species of fishes exploited in tuna fishing in the 
Convention area as are not under investigation by another 
international fishery organization. Such study shall include 
research on the abundance, biometry and ecology of the fishes; the 
oceanography of their environment; and the effects of natural and 
human factors upon their abundance. The Commission, in carrying 
out these responsibilities shall, insofar as feasible, utilise the 
technical and scientific services of, and information from, 
official agencies of the Contracting Parties and their political 
subdivisions and may, when desirable, utilize the available 
services and information of any public or private institution, 
organization or individual, and may undertake within the limits of 
its budget independent research to supplement the research work 
being done by governments, national institutions or other 
international organizations.

2. The carrying out of the provisions in paragraph 1 of this 
Article shall include:

a) collecting and analysing statistical information relating to 
the current conditions and trends of the tuna fishery resources of 
the Convention area;

b) studying and appraising information concerning measures and 
methods to ensure maintenance of the populations of tuna and tuna-
like fishes in the Convention area at levels which will permit the 
maximum sustainable catch and which will ensure the effective 
exploitation of these fishes in a manner consistent with this 
catch;

c) recommending studies and investigations to the Contracting 
Parties;

d) publishing and otherwise disseminating reports of its findings 
and statistical, biological and other scientific information 
relative to the tuna fisheries of the Convention area.


Article V

1. There is established within the Commission a Council which 
shall consist of the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman of the 
Commission together with the representatives of not less than four 
and not more than eight Contracting Parties. The Contracting 
Parties represented on the Council shall be elected at each 
regular meeting of the Commission. However, if at any time the 
number of the Contracting Parties exceeds forty, the Commission 
may elect an additional two Contracting Parties to be represented 
on the Council. The Contracting Parties of which the Chairman and 
Vice-Chairman are nationals shall not be elected to the Council. 
In elections to the Council the Commission shall give due 
consideration to the geographic, tuna fishing and tuna processing 
interests of the Contracting Parties, as well as to the equal 
right of the Contracting Parties to be represented on the Council.

2. The Council shall perform such functions as are assigned to it 
by this Convention or are designated by the Commission, and shall 
meet at least once in the interim between regular meetings of the 
Commission. Between meetings of the Commission the Council shall 
make necessary decisions on the duties to be carried out by the 
staff and shall issue necessary instructions to the Executive 
Secretary. Decisions of the Council shall be made in accordance 
with rules to be established by the Commission.


Article VI

To carry out the objectives of this Convention the Commission may 
establish Panels on the basis of species, group of species, or of 
geographic areas. Each Panel in such case:

a) shall be responsible for keeping under review the species, 
group of species, or geographic area under its purview, and for 
collecting scientific and other information relating thereto;

b) may propose to the Commission, upon the basis of scientific 
investigations, recommendations for joint action by the 
Contracting Parties;

c) may recommend to the Commission studies and investigations 
necessary for obtaining information relating to its species, group 
of species or geographic area, as well as the co-ordination of 
programmes of investigation by the Contracting Parties.


Article VII

The Commission shall appoint an Executive Secretary who shall 
serve at the pleasure of the Commission. The Executive Secretary, 
subject to such rules and procedures as may be determined by the 
Commission, shall have authority with respect to the selection and 
administration of the staff of the Commission. He shall also 
perform, inter alia, the following functions as the Commission may 
prescribe:

a) co-ordinating the programmes of investigation by the 
Contracting Parties;

b) preparing budget estimates for review by the Commission;

c) authorising the disbursement of funds in accordance with the 
Commission's budget; 

d) accounting for the funds of the Commission;

e) arranging for co-operation with the organizations referred to 
in Article XI of this Convention;

f) preparing the collection and analysis of data necessary to 
accomplish the purposes of the Convention particularly those data 
relating to the current and maximum sustainable catch of tuna 
stocks;

g) preparing for approval by the Commission scientific, 
administrative and other reports of the Commission and its 
subsidiary bodies.


Article VIII

1. a) The Commission may, on the basis of scientific evidence, 
make recommendations designed to maintain the populations of tuna 
and tuna-like fishes that may be taken in the Convention area at 
levels which will permit the maximum sustainable catch. These 
recommendations shall be applicable to the Contracting Parties 
under the conditions laid down in paragraphs 2 and 3 of this 
Article.

b) The recommendations referred to above shall be made:

(i) at the initiative of the Commission if an appropriate Panel 
has not been established or with the approval of at least two-
thirds of all the Contracting Parties if an appropriate Panel has 
been established;

(ii) on the proposal of an appropriate Panel if such a Panel has 
been established;

(iii) on the proposal of the appropriate Panels if the 
recommendation in question relates to more than one geographic 
area, species or group of species.

2. Each recommendation made under paragraph 1 of this Article 
shall become effective for all Contracting Parties six months 
after the date of the notification from the Commission 
transmitting the recommendation to the Contracting Parties, except 
as provided in paragraph 3 of this Article.

3. a) If any Contracing Party in the case of a recommendation made 
under paragraph 1 (b) (i) above, or any Contracting Party member 
of a Panel concerned in the case of a recommendation made under 
paragraph 1 (b) (ii) or (iii) above, presents to the Commission an 
objection to such recommendation within the six months period 
provided for in paragraph 2 above, the recommendation shall not 
become effective for an additional sixty days.

b) Thereupon any other Contracting Party may present an objection 
prior to the expiration of the additional sixty days period, or 
within forty-five days of the date of the notification of an 
objection made by another Contracting Party within such additional 
sixty days, whichever date shall be the later.

c) The recommendation shall become effective at the end of the 
extended period or periods for objection, except for those 
Contracting Parties that have presented an objection.

d) However, if a recommendation has met with an objection 
presented by only one or less than one-fourth of the Contracting 
Parties, in accordance with subparagraphs (a) and (b) above, the 
Commission shall immediately notify the Contracting Party or 
Parties having presented such objection that it is to be 
considered as having no effect.

e) In the case referred to in subparagraph (d) above the 
Contracting Party or Parties concerned shall have an additional 
period of sixty days from the date of said notification in which 
to reaffirm their objection. On the expiry of this period the 
recommendation shall become effective, except with respect to any 
Contracting Party having presented an objection and reaffirmed it 
within the delay provided for.

f) If a recommendation has met with objection from more than one-
fourth but less than the majority of the Contracting Parties, in 
accordance with subparagraphs (a) and (b) above, the 
recommendation shall become effective for the Contracting Parties 
that have not presented an objection thereto.

g) If objections have been presented by a majority of the 
Contracting Parties the recommendation shall not become effective.

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

5. The Commission shall notify each Contracting Party immediately 
upon receipt of each objection and of each withdrawal of an 
objection, and of the entry into force of any recommendation.


Article IX

1. The Contracting Parties agree to take all action necessary to 
ensure the enforcement of this Convention. Each Contracting Party 
shall transmit to the Commission, biennially or at such other 
times as may be required by the Commission a statement of the 
action taken by it for these purposes.

2. The Contracting Parties agree:

a) to furnish, on the request of the Commission, any available 
statistical, biological and other scientific information the 
Commission may need for the purposes of this Convention;

b) when their official agencies are unable to obtain and furnish 
the said information, to allow the Commission, through the 
Contracting Parties, to obtain it on a voluntary basis direct from 
companies and individual fishermen.

3. The Contracting Parties undertake to collaborate with each 
other with a view to the adoption of suitable effective measures 
to ensure the application of the provisions of this Convention and 
in particular to set up a system of international enforcement to 
be applied to the Convention area except the territorial sea and 
other waters, if any, in which a State is entitled under 
international law to exercise jurisdiction over fisheries.


Article X

1. The Commission shall adopt a budget for the joint expenses of 
the Commission for the biennium following each regular meeting.

2. Each Contracting Party shall contribute annually to the budget 
of the Commission an amount equal to:

a) U.S. $ 1,000 (one thousand United States dollars) for 
Commission membership.

b) U.S.$ 1,000 (one thousand United States dollars) for each Panel 
membership.

c) If the proposed budget for joint expenses for any biennium 
should exceed the whole amount of contributions to be made by the 
Contracting Parties under (a) and (b) of this paragraph, one-third 
of the amount of such excess shall be contributed by the 
Contracting Parties in proportion to their contributions made 
under (a) and (b) of this paragraph. For the remaining two-thirds 
the Commission shall determine on the basis of the latest 
available information:

(i) the total of the round weight of catch of Atlantic tuna and 
tuna-like fishes and the net weight of canned products of such 
fishes for each Contracting Party;

(ii) the total of (i) for all Contracting Parties. Each 
Contracting Party shall contribute its share of the remaining two-
thirds in the same ratio that its total in (i) bears to the total 
in (ii). That part of the budget referred to in this sub-paragraph 
shall be set by agreement of all the Contracting Parties present 
and voting.

3. The Council shall review the second half of the biennial budget 
at its regular meeting between Commission meetings and, on the 
basis of current and anticipated developments, may authorize 
reapportionment of amounts in the Commission budget for the second 
year within the total budget approved by the Commission.

4. The Executive Secretary of the Commission shall notify each 
Contracting Party of its yearly assessment. The contributions 
shall be payable on January first of the year for which the 
assessment was levied. Contributions not received before January 
first of the succeeding year shall be considered as in arrears.

5. Contributions to the biennial budget shall be payable in such 
currencies as the Commission may decide.

6. At its first meeting the Commission shall approve a budget for 
the balance of the first year the Commission functions and for the 
following biennium. It shall immediately transmit to the 
Contracting Parties copies of these budgets together with notices 
of the respective assessments for the first annual contribution.

7. Thereafter, within a period not less than sixty days before the 
regular meeting of the Commission which precedes the biennium, the 
Executive Secretary shall submit to each Contracting Party a draft 
biennial budget together with a schedule of proposed assessments.

8. The Commission may suspend the voting rights of any Contracting 
Party when its arrears of contributions equal or exceed the amount 
due from it for the two preceding years.

9. The Commission shall establsih a Working Capital Fund to 
finance operations of the Commission prior to receiving annual 
contributions, and for such other purposes as the Commission may 
determine. The Commission shall determine the level of the Fund, 
assess advances necessary for its establsihment, and adopt 
regulations governing the use of the Fund.

10. The Commission shall arrange an annual independent audit of 
the Commission's accounts. The reports of such audits shall be 
reviewed and approved by the Commission, or by the Council in 
years when there is no regular Commission meeting.

11. The Commission may accept contributions, other than provided 
for in paragraph 2 of this Article, for the prosecution of its 
work.


Article XI 

1. The Contracting Parties agree that there should be a working 
relationship between the Commission and the Food and Agriculture 
Organization of the United Nations. To this end the Commision 
shall enter into negotiations with the Food and Agriculture 
Organization of the United Nations with a view to concluding an 
agreement pursuant to Article XIII of the Organization's 
Constitution. Such agreement should provide, inter alia, for the 
Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the 
United Nations to appoint a Representative who would participate 
in all meetings of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies, but 
without the right to vote.

2. The Contracting Parties agree that there should be co-operation 
between the Commission and other international fisheries 
commissions and scientific organizations which might contribute to 
the work of the Commission. The Commission may enter into 
agreements with such commissions and organizations.

3. The Commissions may invite any appropriate international 
organization and any Government which is a Member of the United 
Nations or of any Specialized Agency of the United Nations and 
which is not a member of the Commission, to send observers to 
meetings of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies.


Article XII

1. The Convention shall remain in force for ten years and 
thereafter until a majority of Contracting Parties agree to 
terminate it.

2. At any time after ten years from the date of entry into force 
of this Convention, any Contracting Party may withdraw from the 
Convention on December thirty-first of any year including the 
tenth year by written notification of withdrawal given on or 
before December thirty-first of the preceding year to the 
Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the 
United Nations.

3. Any other Contracting Party may thereupon withdraw from this 
Convention with effect from the same December thirty-first by 
giving written notification of withdrawal to the Director-General 
of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations not 
later than one month from the date of receipt of information from 
the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of 
the United Nations concerning any withdrawal, but not later than 
April first of that year.


Article XIII

1. Any Contracting Party or the Commission may propose amendments 
to this Convention. The Director-General of the Food and 
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations shall transmit a 
certified copy of the text of any proposed amendment to all the 
Contracting Parties. Any amendment not involving new obligations 
shall take effect for all Contracting Parties on the thirtieth day 
after its acceptance by three-fourths of the Contracting Parties. 
Any amendment involving new obligations shall take effect for each 
Contracting Party accepting the amendment on the ninetieth day 
after its acceptance by three-fourths of the Contracting Parties 
and thereafter for each remaining Contracting Party upon 
acceptance by it. Any amendment considered by one or more 
Contracting Parties to involve new obligations shall be deemed to 
involve new obligations and shall take effect accordingly. A 
government which becomes a Contracting Party after an amendment to 
this Convention has been opened for acceptance pursuant to the 
provisions of this Article shall be bound by the Convention as 
amended when the said amendment comes into force.

2. Proposed amendments shall be deposited with the Director-
General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United 
Nations. Notifications of acceptance of amendments shall be 
deposited with the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture 
Organization of the United Nations.


Article XIV

1. This Convention shall be open for signature by any Government 
which is a Member of the United Nations or of any Specialized 
Agency of the United Nations. Any such Government which does not 
sign this Convention may adhere to it at any time.

2. This Convention shall be subject to ratification or approval by 
signatory countries in accordance with their constitutions. 
Instruments of ratification, approval, or adherence shall be 
deposited with the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture 
Organization of the United Nations.

3. This Convention shall enter into force upon the deposit of 
instruments of ratification, approval, or adherence by seven 
Governments and shall enter into force with respect to each
Government which subsequently deposits an instrument of 
ratification, approval or adherence on the date of such deposit.


Article XV

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of 
the United Nations shall inform all Governments referred to in 
paragraph 1 of Article XIV of deposits of instruments of 
ratification approval or adherence, the entry into force of this 
Convention, proposals for amendments, notifications of acceptance 
of amendments, entry into force of amendments, and notifications 
of withdrawal.


Article XVI

The original of this Convention shall be deposited with the 
Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the 
United Nations who shall send certified copies to the Governments 
referred to in paragraph 1 of Article XIV.

In Witness Whereof the representatives duly authorized by their 
respective Governments have signed the present Convention. Done at 
Rio de Janeiro this fourteenth day of May 1966 in a single copy in 
the English, French and Spanish languages, each version being 
equally authoritative.


Annex II

RESOLUTION ON THE COLLECTION OF STATISTICS ON THE ATLANTIC TUNA 
FISHERIES

THE CONFERENCE

Taking note of documents FID: AT/66/4, Annex 6, and FID: 
AT/66/1NF-5 relating to the collection and publication of 
statistics on Atlantic tuna fisheries; and

Agreeing that it is essential that all countries fishing these 
Atlantic tuna resources should collect adequate statistics on 
catch and fishing effort and the necessary biological data, and 
make available for publication the statistical and related 
economic data with a view to enabling the International Commission 
for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas to fulfil its functions 
adequately as soon as it is established;

Urges all countries to take steps without delay to create, where 
they do not already exist, offices within their fisheries 
administrations suitably staffed and having appropriate financial 
and legislative support to undertake the collection and the 
processing of the data to be used by the Commission; and

Suggests that all countries faced with the task of establishing 
and operating such offices, give priority to requests for 
assistance in this connection through the United Nations 
Development Programme and through the regular programme of the 
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.