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Interim Convention on Conservation of North Pacific Fur Seals

Done at Washington on 9 February 1957

(expired 14 October 1984)

The Governments of Canada, Japan, the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics, and the United States of America,

DESIRING to take effective measures towards achieving the
maximum sustainable productivity of the fur seal resources of
the North Pacific Ocean so that the fur seal populations can be
brought to and maintained at the levels which will provide the
greatest harvest year after year, with due regard to their
relation to the productivity of other living marine resources of
the area,

RECOGNIZING that in order to determine such measures it is
necessary to conduct adequate scientific research on the said
resources, and

DESIRING to provide for international cooperation in achieving
these objectives,

Agree as follows:

Article I

1. The term "pelagic sealing" is hereby defined for the purposes
of this Convention as meaning the killing, taking, or hunting in
any manner whatsoever of fur seals at sea.

2. The words "each year", "annual" and "annually" as used
hereinafter refer to the Convention year, that is, the year
beginning on the date of entry into force of the Convention.

3. Nothing in this Convention shall be deemed to affect in any
way the position of the Parties in regard to the limits of
territorial waters or to the jurisdiction over fisheries.

Article II

1. In order to realize the objectives of this Convention, the
Parties agree to co-ordinate necessary scientific research
programs and to cooperate in investigating the fur seal
resources of the North Pacific Ocean to determine:

a) what measures may be necessary to make possible the maximum
sustainable productivity of the fur seal resources so that the
fur seal populations can be brought to and maintained at the
levels which will provide the greatest harvest year after year;
and

b) what the relationship is between fur seals and other living
marine resources and whether fur seals have detrimental effects
on other living marine resources substantially exploited by any
of the Parties and, if so, to what extent.

2. The research referred to in the preceding paragraph shall
include studies of the following subjects:

a) size of each fur seal herd and its age and sex composition;

b) natural mortality of the different age groups and recruitment
of young to each age or size class at present and subsequent
population levels;

c) with regard to each of the herds, the effect upon the
magnitude of recruitment of variations in the size and the age
and sex composition of the annual kill;

d) migration routes of fur seals and their wintering areas;

e) numbers of seals from each herd found on the migration routes
and in wintering areas and their ages and sexes;

f) relationship between fur seals and other living marine
resources, including the extent to which fur seals affect
commercial fish catches, the damage fur seals inflict on fishing
gear, and the effect of commercial fisheries on the fur seals;

g) effectiveness of each method of sealing from the viewpoint of
management and rational utilization of fur seal resources for
conservation purposes;

h) quality of sealskins by sex, age, and time and method of
sealing;

i) effect of man-caused environmental changes on the fur seal
populations; and

j) other subjects involved in achieving the objectives of the
Convention, as determined by the Commission established under
Article V, paragraph 1.

3. In furtherance of the research referred to in this Article,
the Parties agree:

a) to continue to mark adequate numbers of pups;

b) to devote to pelagic research an effort which, to the
greatest extent possible, should be similar in extent to that
expended in recent years, provided that this shall not involve
the annual taking by all the Parties combined of more than 2,500
seals in the Eastern and more than 2,200 seals in the Western
Pacific Oceans, unless the Commission, pursuant to Article V,
paragraph 3, shall decide otherwise, and

c) to carry out the determinations made by the Commission
pursuant to Article V, paragraph 3.

4. Each Party agrees to provide the Commission annually with
information on:

a) number of black pups tagged for each breeding area;

b) number of fur seals, by sex and estimated age, taken at sea
and on each breeding area; and

c) tagged seals recovered on land and at sea;

And, so far as is practicable, other information pertinent to
scientific research which the Commission may request.

5. The Parties further agree to provide for the exchange of
scientific personnel; each such exchange shall be subject to
mutual consent of the Parties directly concerned.

6. The Parties agree to use for the scientific pelagic research
provided for in this Article only government-owned or
government-chartered vessels operating under strict control of
their respective authorities. Each Party shall communicate to
the other Parties the names and descriptions of vessels which
are to be used for pelagic research.

Article III

In order to realize the purposes of the Convention, including
the carrying out of the co-ordinated and co-operative research,
each Party agrees to prohibit pelagic sealing, except as
provided in Article II, paragraph 3 in the Pacific Ocean north
of the 30th parallel of north latitude including the seas of
Bering, Okhotsk, and Japan by any person or vessel subject to
its jurisdiction.

Article IV

Each Party shall bear the expense of its own research. Title to
seal-skins taken during the research shall vest in the Party
conducting such research.

Article V

1. The Parties agree to establish the North Pacific Fur Seal
Commission to be composed of one member from each Party.

2. The duties of the Commission shall be to:

a) formulate and co-ordinate research programs designed to
achieve the objectives set forth in Article II, paragraph 1;

b) recommend these co-ordinated research programs to the
respective Parties for implementation;

c) study the data obtained from the implementation of such
co-ordinated research programs;

d) recommend appropriate measures to the Parties on the basis of
the findings obtained from the implementation of such
coordinated research programmes, including measures regarding
the size and the sex and age composition of the seasonal
commercial kill from a herd and regarding a reduction or
suspension of the harvest of seals on any island or group of
islands in case the total number of seals on that island or
group of islands falls below the level of maximum sustainable
productivity; provided, however, that due consideration be given
to the subsistence needs of Indians, Ainos, Aleuts, or Eskimos
who live on the islands where fur seals breed, when it is not
possible to provide sufficient seal meat for such persons from
the seasonal commercial harvest or research activities; and

e) study whether or not pelagic sealing in conjunction with land
sealing could be permitted in certain circumstances without
adversely affecting achievement of the objectives of this
Convention, and make recommendations thereon to the Parties at
the end of the twenty-first year after entry into force of the
Convention.

3. In addition to the duties specified in paragraph 2 of this
Article, the Commission shall, subject to Article II, paragraph
3, determine from time to time the number of seals to be marked
on the rookery islands, and the total number of seals which
shall be taken at sea for research purposes, the times at which
such seals shall be taken and the areas in which they shall be
taken, as well as the number to be taken by each Party, taking
into account any recommendations made pursuant to Article V,
paragraph 2(d).

4. Each Party shall have one vote. Decisions and recommendations
shall be made by unanimous vote. With respect to any
recommendations regarding the size and the sex and age
composition of the seasonal commercial kill from a herd, only
those Parties sharing in the seal-skins from that herd under the
provisions of Article IX, paragraph 1 shall vote.

5. The Commission shall elect from its members a Chairman and
other necessary officials and shall adopt rules of procedure for
the conduct of its work.

6. The Commission shall hold an annual meeting at such time and
place as it may decide. Additional meetings shall be held when
requested by two or more members of the Commission.

7. The expenses of each member of the Commission shall be paid
by his own Government. Such joint expenses as may be incurred by
the Commission shall be defrayed by the Parties by equal
contributions. Each Party shall also contribute to the
Commission annually an amount equivalent to the value of the
sealskins it confiscates under the provisions of Article VI,
paragraph 5.

8. The Commission shall submit an annual report of its
activities to the Parties.

9. The Commission may from time to time make recommendations to
the Parties on any matter which relates to the fur seal
resources or to the administration of the Commission.

Article VI

In order to implement the provisions of Article III, the Parties
agree as follows:

1. When a duly authorized official of any of the Parties has
reasonable cause to believe that any vessel outfitted for the
harvesting of living marine resources and subject to the
jurisdiction of any of the Parties is offending against the
prohibition of pelagic sealing as provided for by Article III,
he may, except within the territorial waters of another State,
board and search such vessel. Such official shall carry a
special certificate issued by the competent authorities of his
Government and drawn up in the English, Japanese, and Russian
languages which shall be exhibited to the master of the vessel
upon request.

2. When the official after searching a vessel continues to have
reasonable cause to believe that the vessel or any person on
board thereof is offending against the prohibition, he may seize
or arrest such vessel or person. In that case, the Party to
which the official belongs shall as soon as possible notify the
Party having jurisdiction over the vessel or person of such
arrest or seizure and shall deliver the vessel or person as
promptly as practicable to the authorized officials of the Party
having jurisdiction over the vessel or person at a place to be
agreed upon by both Parties; provided however, that when the
Party receiving notification cannot immediately accept delivery
of the vessel or person, the Party which gives such notification
may, upon request of the other Party, keep the vessel or person
under surveillance within its own territory, under the
conditions agreed upon by both Parties.

3. The authorities of the Party to which such person or vessel
belongs alone shall have jurisdiction to try any case arising
under Article III and this Article and to impose penalties in
connection therewith.

4. The witnesses or their testimony and other proofs necessary
to establish the offense, so far as they are under the control
of any of the Parties, shall be furnished with all reasonable
promptness to the authorities of the Party having jurisdiction
to try the case.

5. Sealskins discovered on seized vessels shall be subject to
confiscation on the decision of the court or other authorities
of the Party under whose jurisdiction the trial of a case takes
place.

6. Full details of punitive measures applied to offenders
against the prohibition shall be communicated to the other
Parties not later than three months after the application of the
penalty.

Article VII

The provisions of this Convention shall not apply to Indians,
Ainos, Aleuts, or Eskimos dwelling on the coast of the waters
mentioned in Article III, who carry on pelagic sealing in canoes
not transported by or used in connection with other vessels, and
propelled entirely by oars, paddles, or sails, and manned by not
more than five persons each, in the way hitherto practiced and
without the use of firearms; provided that such hunters are not
in the employment of other persons or under contract to deliver
the skins to any person.

Article VIII

1. Each Party agrees that no person or vessel shall be permitted
to use any of its ports or harbors or any part of its territory
for any purpose designed to violate the prohibition set forth in
Article III.

2. Each Party also agrees to prohibit the importation and
delivery into and the traffic within its territories of skins of
fur seals taken in the area of the North Pacific Ocean mentioned
in Article III, except only those taken by the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics or the United States of America on
rookeries, those taken at sea for research purposes in
accordance with Article II, paragraph 3, those taken under the
provisions of Article VII, those confiscated under the
provisions of Article VI, paragraphs 5, and those inadvertently
captured which are taken possession of by a Party; provided
however, that all such excepted skins shall be officially marked
and duly certified by the authorities of the Party concerned.

Article IX

1. The respective Parties agree that, of the total number of
sealskins taken commercially each season on land, there shall at
the end of the season be delivered a percentage of the gross in
number and value thereof as follows:

By the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

to Canada 15 per cent

to Japan 15 per cent

By the United States of America

to Canada 15 per cent

to Japan 15 per cent

2. Each Party agrees to deliver such sealskins to an authorized
agent of the recipient Party at the place of taking, or at some
other place mutually agreed upon by such Parties.

3. The respective Parties will seek to ensure the utilization of
those methods for the capture and killing and marking of fur
seals on land or at sea which will spare the fur seals pain and
suffering to the greatest extent practicable.

Article X

1. Each Party agrees to enact and enforce such legislation as
may be necessary to guarantee the observance of this Convention
and to make effective its provisions with appropriate penalties
for violation thereof.

2. The Parties further agree to co-operate with each other in
taking such measures as may be appropriate to carry out the
purposes of this Convention, including the prohibition of
pelagic sealing as provided for by Article III.

Article XI

The Parties agree to meet in the twenty-second year after entry
into force of the Convention to consider the recommendations in
accordance with Article V, paragraph 2(e) and to determine what
further agreements may be desirable in order to achieve the
maximum sustainable productivity of the North Pacific fur seal
herds.

Article XII

Should any Party consider that the obligations of Article II,
paragraphs 3, 4, or 5 or any other obligation undertaken by the
Parties is not being carried out and notify the other Parties to
that effect, all the Parties shall, within three months of the
receipt of such notification, meet to consult together on the
need for and nature of remedial measures. In the event that such
consultation shall not lead to agreement as to the need for and
nature of remedial measures, any Party may give written notice
to the other Parties of intention to terminate the Convention
and, notwithstanding the provisions of Article XIII, paragraph
4, the Convention shall thereupon terminate as to all the
Parties nine months from the date of such notice.

Article XIII

1. This Convention shall be ratified and the instruments of
ratification deposited with the Government of the United States
of America as soon as practicable.

2. The Government of the United States of America shall notify
the other signatory Governments of ratifications deposited.

3. The Convention shall enter into force on the date of the
deposit of the fourth instrument of ratification.

4. The Convention shall continue in force for twenty-two years
and thereafter until the entry into force of a new or revised
fur seal convention between the Parties, or until the expiration
of one year after such period of twenty-two years, whichever may
be the earlier; provided, however, that the Convention shall
terminate one year from the day on which a Party gives written
notice to the other Parties of an intention of terminating the
Convention.

5. At the request of any Party, representatives of the Parties
will meet at a mutually convenient time within ninety days of
such request to consider the desirability of modifications of
the Convention.

6. The original of this Convention shall be deposited with the
Government of the United States of America, which shall
communicate certified copies thereof to each of the Governments
signatory to the Convention.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorized by
their respective Governments, have signed this Convention.

Done in Washington this ninth day of February 1957, in the
English, Japanese, and Russian languages, each text equally
authentic.