Established in 1923 for the preservation of the Pacific halibut fishery in waters off Canada and the United States of America.


94 Years of Management

On 2 March, 1923, Canadian Minister of Marine and Fisheries Ernest LaPointe and U.S. Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes sign the "Convention for the Preservation of the Halibut Fishery of the Northern Pacific Ocean." The treaty establishes an international commission to regulate the northern Pacific halibut fishery, where fish stocks have declined rapidly since large-scale commercial fishing began in 1888. The Pacific Halibut Convention marks two significant firsts: it is both the first treaty signed by the Dominion of Canada on its own behalf (previously Great Britain also signed Canadian treaties) and it is the first international agreement anywhere aimed at conservation of an ocean fish stock. The pioneering conservation effort will prove highly successful as regulations imposed by what becomes the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) allow the depleted halibut population to rebound significantly.

For more on the history of the Pacific halibut fishery and the IPHC, see IPHC Technical Report 26 and Technical Report 59.