Dalhousie Law Journal


Fisheries, jurisdiction, atlantic salmon, conservation, maritime nations, ocean harvests


Fisheries conservation has become an important if also recent concern of maritime nations with significant economic sectors heavily dependent on ocean harvests. Canada is one of these and the Atlantic salmon is certainly conspicuous among a growing number of endangered fisheries. Grossly depleted salmon runs in the Maritime Provinces once supported a burgeoning estuarial and riparine commercial fishery as well as an immensely profitable tourist industry based on sport fishing. In the past the salmon have suffered from domestic problems, chiefly pollution, for which internal remedies in the form of river clean-ups, pollution abatement and artificial inducements such as fish hatcheries have been forthcoming. However, this article concerns a threat outside the ability of purely domestic policies to control: the exploitation of Canadian salmon stocks beyond their streams of origin by other fishing nations not responsible for the maintenance of the fishery. The Atlantic salmon fishery occupies a less important economic position for Canada than its much larger Pacific counterpart. The British Columbia fishery has been privileged with the protection of international agreements and comparative freedom from pollution. Nevertheless, long term security for the fishery is lacking. Hence the present study should be of relevance for Canadian salmon fisheries as a whole and not simply its improverished eastern sector.