Pacific Salmon Treaty

On this page

About the Pacific Salmon Treaty

The Pacific Salmon Treaty (PST), signed by Canada and the United States (U.S.) in 1985, provides the framework through which the two countries work together to conserve and manage Pacific salmon. Pacific salmon are highly migratory and, over the course of their lifecycle, fish originating in the rivers of one country are often subject to the fisheries of another. A high degree of bilateral cooperation is required to limit the harvest of one country’s salmon by the other and to help ensure conservation.

The Treaty includes a commitment by Canada and the United States to carry out their salmon fisheries and enhancement programs so as to: “prevent over-fishing and provide for optimum production,” and “ensure that both countries receive benefits equal to the production of salmon originating in their waters.”

In addition to the broad principles and objectives, Annex IV of the Treaty contains a number of fishing chapters. These chapters are essential to the functioning of the PST and set out the specific conservation and harvest sharing arrangements for stocks and fisheries. Each country is responsible for managing its fisheries, but does so in a way that is consistent with the Treaty.

Pacific Salmon Treaty renewal and current recommendations from the Pacific Salmon Commission

The original fishing chapters in Annex IV (1985) expired in 1992. Between 1992 and 1998, Canada and the U.S. were unable to reach agreement on new fishing arrangements. In 1999, government-to-government negotiations between the two countries resulted in successful renewal of long-term fishing arrangements under the PST (i.e. The 1999 Agreement). In 2009, Annex IV was successfully renewed by Parties for a further 10-year period, with the exception of Chapter 4 (Fraser River Sockeye and Pink) which was renewed in 2014.

The Government of Canada is supporting the domestic ratification process in Canada, which includes tabling of the new chapters in Parliament for 21 sitting days. While this ratification process is being completed, the proposed amendments are being provisionally applied by Canada and the United States, as of January 1, 2019.

The renewal of the Pacific Salmon Treaty reflects the Government’s commitment to reconciliation by protecting and conserving the Pacific salmon resource that is so important to Indigenous communities. In reflection of this commitment, DFO has been working closely with First Nations throughout B.C. and the Yukon through the renewal process to ensure greater stability in salmon access for First Nations.

Chinook salmon are one of the primary food sources for the Northern and Southern Resident killer whales, and some wild populations of Chinook have declined dramatically in recent years. Chapter 3 of the Pacific Salmon Treaty includes harvest reductions in both Canadian and U.S. Chinook fisheries to help address ongoing conservation concerns for stocks in both countries. These reductions will complement measures being taken in Canada to protect and conserve our Chinook stocks, including those harvested in Alaska.

Chapter 4 (Fraser River sockeye and pink salmon) will expire on December 31, 2019 and preliminary discussions are underway within the PSC regarding renewal of the chapter.

Pacific Salmon Treaty voluntary salmon troll licence retirement program

Contact us

For more information on the Pacific Salmon Treaty please contact:

Sukhraj Sihota
National Correspondent, Policy Branch
200-401 Burrard St.
Vancouver, BC V6C 3S4
604-666-1024