Volume(s) 1-3; pages 2841-2844



Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries Between the United States of America and Canada, Washington, 1954


Done at Washington 10 September 1954

Entered into force 11 October 1955

Primary source citation: 6 UST 2836, TIAS 3326



The Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada,

Taking note of the interrelation of fishery conservation problems and of the desirability of advancing fishery research in the Great Lakes,

Being aware of the decline of some of the Great Lakes fisheries,

Being concerned over the serious damage to some of these fisheries caused by the parasitic sea lamprey and the continuing threat which this lamprey constitutes for other fisheries,

Recognizing that joint and coordinated efforts by the United States of America and Canada are essential in order to determine the need for and the type of measures which will make possible the maximum sustained productivity in Great Lakes fisheries of common concern,

Have resolved to conclude a convention and have appointed as their respective Plenipotentiaries:

The Government of the United States of America:

Walter Bedell Smith, Acting Secretary of State of the United States of America, and

William C. Herrington, Chairman of the Delegation of the United States of America to the Great Lakes Fisheries Conference; and

The Government of Canada:

Arnold Danford Patrick Heeney, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Canada to the United States of America, and

Stewart Bates, Chairman of the Delegation of Canada to the Great Lakes Fisheries Conference,

who, having communicated to each other their respective full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed as follows:


This Convention shall apply to Lake Ontario (including the St. Lawrence River from Lake Ontario to the forty-fifth parallel of latitude), Lake Erie, Lake Huron (including Lake St. Clair), Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and their connecting waters, hereinafter referred to as ‘the Convention Area’. This Convention shall also apply to the tributaries of each of the above waters to the extent necessary to investigate any stock of fish of common concern, the taking or habitat of which is confined predominantly to the Convention Area, and to eradicate or minimize the populations of the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in the Convention Area.


1. The Contracting Parties agree to establish and maintain a joint commission, to be known as the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, hereinafter referred to as ‘the Commission’, and to be composed of two national sections, a Canadian Section and a United States Section. Each Section shall be composed of not more than three members appointed by the respective Contracting Parties.

2. Each Section shall have one vote. A decision or recommendation of the Commission shall be made only with the approval of both Sections.

3. Each Contracting Party may establish for its Section an advisory committee for each of the Great Lakes. The members of each advisory committee so established shall have the right to attend all sessions of the Commission except those which the Commission decides to hold in camera.


1. At the first meeting of the Commission and at every second subsequent annual meeting thereafter the members shall select from among themselves a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman, each of whom shall hold office from the close of the annual meeting at which he has been selected until the close of the second annual meeting thereafter. The Chairman shall be selected from one Section and the Vice-Chairman from the other Section. The offices of Chairman and Vice-Chairman shall alternate biennially between the Sections.

2. The seat of the Commission shall be at such place in the Great Lakes area as the Commission may designate.

3. The Commission shall hold a regular annual meeting at such place as it may decide. It may hold such other meetings as may be agreed upon by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman and at such time and place as they may designate.

4. The Commission shall authorize the disbursement of funds for the joint expenses of the Commission and may employ personnel and acquire facilities necessary for the performance of its duties.

5. The Commission shall make such rules and by-laws for the conduct of its meetings and for the performance of its duties and such financial regulations as it deems necessary.

6. The Commission may appoint an Executive Secretary upon such terms as it may determine.

7. The staff of the Commission may be appointed by the Executive Secretary in the manner determined by the Commission or appointed by the Commission itself on terms to be determined by it.

8. The Executive Secretary shall, subject to such rules and procedures as may be determined by the Commission, have full power and authority over the staff and shall perform such functions as the Commission may prescribe. If the office of Executive Secretary is vacant, the Commission shall prescribe who shall exercise such power or authority.


The Commission shall have the following duties:

(a) to formulate a research program or programs designed to determine the need for measures to make possible the maximum sustained productivity of any stock of fish in the Convention Area which, in the opinion of the Commission, is of common concern to the fisheries of the United States of America and Canada and to determine what measures are best adapted for such purpose;

(b) to coordinate research made pursuant to such programs and, if necessary, to undertake such research itself;

(c) to recommend appropriate measures to the Contracting Parties on the basis of the findings of such research programs;

(d) to formulate and implement a comprehensive program for the purpose of eradicating or minimizing the sea lamprey populations in the Convention Area; and

(e) to publish or authorize the publication of scientific and other information obtained by the Commission in the performance of its duties.


In order to carry out the duties set forth in Article IV, the Commission may:

(a) conduct investigations;

(b) take measures and install devices in the Convention Area and the tributaries thereof for lamprey control; and

(c) hold public hearings in the United States of America and Canada.


1. In the performance of its duties, the Commission shall, in so far as feasible, make use of the official agencies of the Contracting Parties and of their Provinces or States and may make use of private or other public organizations, including international organizations, or of any person.

2. The Commission may seek to establish and maintain working arrangements with public or private organizations for the purpose of furthering the objectives of this Convention.


Upon the request of the Commission a Contracting Party shall furnish such information pertinent to the Commission's duties as is practicable. A Contracting Party may establish conditions regarding the disclosure of such information by the Commission.


1. Each Contracting Party shall determine and pay the expenses of its Section. Joint expenses incurred by the Commission shall be paid by contributions made by the Contracting Parties. The form and proportion of the contributions shall be the approved by the Contracting Parties after the Commission has made a recommendation.

2. The Commission shall submit an annual budget of anticipated joint expenses to the Contracting Parties for approval.


The Commission shall submit annually to the Contracting Parties a report on the discharge of its duties. It shall make recommendations to or advise the Contracting Parties whenever it deems necessary on any matter relating to the Convention.


Nothing in this Convention shall be construed as preventing any of the States of the United States of America bordering on the Great Lakes or, subject to their constitutional arrangements, Canada or the Province of Ontario from making or enforcing laws or regulations within their respective jurisdictions relative to the fisheries of the Great Lakes so far as such laws or regulations do not preclude the carrying out of the Commission's duties.


The Contracting Parties agree to enact such legislation as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of this Convention.


The Contracting Parties shall jointly review in the eighth year of operation of this Convention the activities of the Commission in relation to the objectives of the Convention in order to determine the desirability of continuing, modifying or terminating this Convention.


1. This Convention shall be ratified and the instruments of ratification shall be exchanged at Ottawa.

2. This Convention shall enter into force on the date of the exchange of the instruments of ratification. It shall remain in force for ten years and shall continue in force thereafter until terminated as provided herein.

3. Either Contracting Party may, by giving two years' written notice to the other Contracting Party, terminate this Convention at the end of the initial ten-year period or at any time thereafter.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed the present Convention.

DONE at Washington, in duplicate, this tenth day of September, 1954. FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: WALTER BEDELL SMITH WM C HERRINGTON