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Division of Congresssional and Legislative Affairs
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Digest of Federal Resource Laws
Antarctic Treaty (Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora) -- These measures, adopted by the Third Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in 1959, are designed to protect the native birds, mammals, and plants of the Antarctic.
Public Law 95-541 of October 28, 1978 (92 Stat. 2048) implements the measures by prohibiting, among other acts, the taking, importing and transporting of birds and mammals native to the Antarctic without a permit by persons subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the importing and exporting of such animals into or out of the United States.
Boundary Waters Treaty (Treaty Between the United States and Great Britain Relating to Boundary Waters between the United States and Canada; 36 Stat. 2448; T.S. 548) -- This May 13, 1910, treaty was signed in Washington, D.C., January 11, 1909, with ratification advised by the Senate March 3, 1909, and the President ratified, April 1, 1910. Great Britain ratified March 31, 1910. The ratification documents were exchanged May 5, 1910.
The purpose of this treaty is to prevent disputes regarding the use of boundary waters and settle all questions pending or that may arise between the United States and Canada involving the rights, obligations, and interests of both nations along their common frontier. The treaty establishes the International Joint Commission, with three members appointed by each country, to review and make recommendations on disputes and other issues involving U.S./Canada boundary waters.
CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 27 U.S.T. 108) -- Establishes a system of import/export regulations to prevent the over-exploitation of plants and animals listed in three appendices to the Convention. Different levels of trade regulations are provided depending on the status of the listed species and the contribution trade makes to decline of the species. Procedures are provided for periodic amendments to the appendices.
CITES was signed by 80 nations in Washington, D.C., on March 3, 1973. United States ratification occurred on September 13, 1973, with documents submitted to the depository government (Switzerland) on January 14, 1974. CITES entered into force on July 1, 1975.
Implementing legislation for the United States was provided by enactment of P.L. 93-205, the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Executive Order 11911, signed April 13, 1976, designated Management and Scientific Authorities to grant or deny requests for import or export permits.
Public Law 96-159, signed December 28, 1979 (93 Stat. 1255) designates the Secretary of Interior, acting through the Fish and Wildlife Service, as both the Management and Scientific Authority for implementation of CITES. It also created an International Convention Advisory Commission, which was later abolished by P.L. 97-304, October 13, 1982.
Public Law 97-304 also requires the Secretary of State to report to Congress when a reservation is not taken to the inclusion of a species in the appendices when the United States votes against it. In addition, these amendments require certain scientific authority findings to be based upon the best available biological information, but no State is required to make population estimates for such determinations.
As of November 28, 1999, 146 countries were party to the Convention, and they had held ten biennial meetings of the Conference of the Parties. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hosted the Ninth Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1994. For more information on CITES, go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service International Affairs CITES website at:< cites.html global international.fws.gov http:>
Environmental Protection Treaty with the Russian Federation (Agreement between the Government of the United States and the Government of the Russian Federation on Cooperation in the Field of Protection of the Environment and Natural Resources; 23 U.S.T. 845; T.I.A.S. 7345) -- An objective of this May 23, 1972, agreement between the United States and the USSR is cooperation in the field of environmental protection through exchange of scientific personnel, organization of bilateral conferences, exchange of scientific and technical information, and development and implementation of projects.
The agreement emphasizes activities related to air and water pollution, enhancement of urban environment, preservation of nature, establishment of preserves, and arctic and subarctic ecological systems. The agreement was renegotiated in 1994 to reflect the Russian Federation as the successor state to the Soviet Union. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers Area V under the agreement, encompassing the conservation of nature, nature reserves, and wildlife refuges and parks.
Great Lakes Treaty (Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries between the United States and Canada; 6 U.S.T. 2836; T.I.A.S. 3326), as amended -- This 1954 Convention was concluded in order to recognize that joint and coordinated efforts between the two governments are essential to determining the need for and type of measures which will make possible the maximum sustained productivity in Great Lakes fisheries of common concern. The Convention established a Great Lakes Fishery Commission with specified functions related to formulation and coordination of research programs including a comprehensive program for sea lamprey control, and publication of scientific and other information.
Signed September 10, 1954, in Washington, D.C., the Convention was ratified by the United States on June 6, 1955, and by Canada on October 6, 1955. Ratifications were exchanged at Ottawa, Canada, on October 11, 1955, and the Convention entered into force on the same date. United States implementation of the Convention was achieved June 4, 1956, by enactment of Public Law 89-557, the Great Lakes Fishery Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 931-939c; 70 Stat. 242). The Convention was amended on May 19, 1967 (18 U.S.T. 1402; T.I.A.S. 6297) to increase the number of commissioners from each country from three to four.
Migratory Bird and Game Mammal Treaty with Mexico (Convention between the United States of America and the United Mexican States for the Protection of Migratory Birds and Game Mammals; 50 Stat. 1311; TS 912), as amended -- This 1936 treaty adopted a system for the protection of certain migratory birds in the United States and Mexico. Allows, under regulation, the rational use of certain migratory birds. Provides for enactment of laws and regulations to protect birds by establishment of closed seasons and refuge zones. Prohibits killing of insectivorous birds, except under permit when harmful to agriculture. Provides for enactment of regulations on transportation of game mammals across the United States-Mexican border.
Signed in Mexico City, February 7, 1936, this treaty was ratified by the President of the United States on October 8, 1936, and documents of ratification were exchanged on March 15, 1937, in Washington, D.C. United States implementation of the treaty was accomplished by amending the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (16 U.S.C. 703-711; 40 Stat. 755) on June 20, 1936 (49 Stat. 1556). The treaty was amended March 10, 1972 (23 U.S.T. 260; T.I.A.S. 7302) to add 32 additional families of birds including eagles, hawks, owls, and Corvidae family. The treaty was amended in 1995 to establish a legal framework for the subsistence take of birds in Alaska and northern Canada by Alaska Natives and Aboriginal people in Canada. The Senate provided its advice and consent to the amendments in November, 1997. The treaty was formally implemented in 1999.
Migratory Bird Treaty with Japan(Convention Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Japan for the Protection of Migratory Birds and Birds in Danger of Extinction, and Their Environment; 25 UST 3329; TIAS 7990) as amended -- This 1972 Convention is designed to provide for the protection of species of birds which are common to both countries, or which migrate between them by (1) enhancement of habitat, (2) exchange of research data, and (3) regulation of hunting.
It was signed in Tokyo on March 4, 1974, with ratification advised by the Senate of March 27, 1973, and documents of ratification exchanged September 19, 1972. The Convention entered into force September 19, 1974. An agreement amending the annex to the Convention by adding the Maloy Bittern was effected by exchange of notes September 19, 1974, entering into force December 19, 1974 (25 UST 3373; TIAS 7990). This exchange also included a list of endangered birds as provided for in Article IV of the Convention.
Implementing legislation for the United States was achieved by enactment of P.L. 93-300, June 1, 1975 (88 Stat. 190), amending the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (16 USC 703-711; 40 Stat. 755), as amended.
By a 1988 exchange of diplomatic notes, Convention appendices were updated to correct common names of species, scientific names, and to both add and delete species on the list based upon the latest scientific knowledge.
Migratory Bird Treaty with Canada (Convention Between the United States and Great Britain (for Canada) for the Protection of Migratory Birds; 39 Stat. 1702; TS 628), as amended -- This 1916 treaty adopted a uniform system of protection for certain species of birds which migrate between the United States and Canada, in order to assure the preservation of species either harmless or beneficial to man. Sets certain dates for closed seasons on migratory birds. Prohibits hunting insectivorous birds, but allows killing of birds under permit when injurious to agriculture.
The Convention was signed at Washington, D.C., on August 16, 1916, and ratified by the United States on September 1, 1916, and by Great Britain on October 20, 1916. Documents of ratification were exchanged on December 7, 1916. Implementing legislation for the United States was accomplished by enactment of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918 (16 USC 703-711; 40 Stat. 755). Canada and the United States signed an agreement on January 30, 1979, to amend the treaty to allow subsistence hunting of waterfowl outside of the normal hunting season, but it was never ratified by the Senate and never took effect. The treaty was amended in 1995 to establish a legal framework for the subsistence take of birds in Alaska and northern Canada by Alaska Natives and Aboriginal people in Canada. The Senate provided its advice and consent to the amendments in November, 1997. The treaty was formally implemented in 1999.
Migratory Bird Treaty with the Soviet Union (Convention Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Concerning the Conservation of Migratory Birds and Their Environment, T.I.A.S. 9073) -- This Convention was signed in Moscow on November 19, 1976, and approved by the Senate on July 12, 1978. Documents of ratification were exchanged October 13, 1978, in Washington, D.C., and the exchanged Convention was implemented on November 8, 1978, by P.L. 95-616 (92 Stat. 3110), which amended the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1978 (16 USC 703-711; 40 Stat. 755).
The Convention provides for the protection of species of birds that migrate between the United States and the Soviet Union or that occur in either country and "have common flyways, breeding, wintering, feeding or moulting areas."
It also encourages actions to identify and protect important habitat against pollution, detrimental alteration, and other environmental degradation, and to cooperate in measures to protect migratory birds identified as being in danger of extinction.
This international agreement remains in force for 15 years and will thereafter be renewed automatically on an annual basis subject to termination by either party.
North Atlantic Salmon Treaty(Convention for Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic, T.I.A.S. 10789) -- This Convention was signed in Reykjavik, Iceland, on March 2, 1982, and entered into force, October 1, 1983. The parties (United States, Canada, Denmark, European Community, Iceland, Norway) established an international organization for the conservation and protection of Atlantic salmon.
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Treaty[International Convention for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (ICNAF) 1 U.S.T. 477; T.I.A.S. 2089] -- This Convention entered into force on July 3, 1950. Its purpose is the "investigation, protection and conservation of the fisheries of the northwest Atlantic Ocean, in order to make possible the maintenance of a maximum sustained catch from those fisheries."
Eighteen countries are parties, including the United States. Senate advice and consent was provided on August 17, 1949. The President ratified it on September 1, 1949, with documents deposited on that same date. The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Act of 1950 (16 USC 981-991; 64 Stat. 1067), as amended, provides implementing authority.
Western Hemisphere Convention(Convention on Nature Protection and Wildlife Preservation in the Western Hemisphere; 56 Stat. 1354; TS 981) -- Under this 1940 treaty, the governments of the United States and 17 other American republics expressed their wish to "protect and preserve in their natural habitat representatives of all species and genera of their native flora and fauna, including migratory birds" and to protect regions and natural objects of scientific value.
The nations agreed to take certain actions to achieve these objectives, including the adoption of "appropriate measures for the protection of migratory birds of economic or esthetic value or to prevent the threatened extinction of any given species."
The Convention was signed by the United States on October 12, 1940, and ratified April 15, 1941. United States ratification documents were deposited with the Pan American Union, Washington, D.C., on April 28, 1941.
Implementing legislation for the United States was achieved by enactment of Public Law 93-205, the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1543; 87 Stat. 884). Section 8(e) of the Act directs the President to designate the agencies "which shall act on behalf of and represent the United States in all regards as required by the Convention," which was accomplished by Executive Order 11911, April 13, 1976.
Pacific Salmon Treaty (Treaty Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada Concerning Pacific Salmon, T.I.A.S. 11091) The parties agreed to cooperate in the management, research and enhancement of Pacific salmon stocks of mutual concern.
The United States and Canada committed 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. The Treaty was revised in 1999 to renew the Parties’ long-term fishing agreements. In 2002, the Treaty was amended to include the Yukon River Salmon Agreement.
The Treaty was signed in Ottawa on January 28, 1985 and entered into force on March 18, 1985.
Polar Bear Treaty (Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears, I.L.M. 13:13-18, January 1974) -- This 1973 agreement between the governments of Canada, Denmark, Norway, USSR, and the United States recognizes the responsibilities of the circumpolar countries for coordination of actions to protect polar bears.
The agreement commits the signatories to manage polar bear populations in accordance with sound conservation practices; prohibits hunting, killing, and capturing bears except for limited purposes and by limited methods, and commits all parties to protect the ecosystems of polar bears, especially denning and feeding areas and migration corridors.
The agreement was signed by the United States on November 15, 1973, ratified on September 30, 1976, and entered into force in this country on November 1, 1976.
Public Law 92-522, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.; 86 Stat. 1027) provides authority for the United States to implement the agreement.
Ramsar Convention (Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitats; I.L.M. 11:963-976; September 1972) -- This Convention was adopted in Ramsar, Iran, on February 3, 1971, and opened for signature at UNESCO headquarters on July 12, 1972. On December 21, 1975, the Convention entered into force after the required signatures of seven countries. The United States Senate consented to ratification of the Convention on October 9, 1986, and the President signed instruments of ratification on November 10, 1986.
The Convention maintains a list of wetlands of international importance and works to encourage the wise use of all wetlands in order to preserve the ecological characteristics from which wetland values derive. The Convention is self-implementing, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service serving as the U.S. administrative authority for the Convention, in consultation with the Department of State. As of the Seventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties, held in Costa Rica in May, 1999, there were 117 contracting parties.
Sea Exploration Treaty (Convention for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES); 24 U.S.T. 1080; T.I.A.S. 7628) -- This Convention, opened for signature in Copenhagen on September 12, 1964, provides a new "constitution" for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, which was originally established in 1902 as a result of conferences held in Stockholm in 1899 and in Christiania in 1901.
The purpose of ICES is to: (a) "promote and encourage research and investigations for the study of the sea, particularly those related to the living resources thereof; (b) "draw up programmes required for this purpose and to organize . . . such research and investigations as may appear necessary;" and (c) "publish or otherwise disseminate the results of research and investigations."
Eighteen countries are parties to this Convention. Senate advice and consent was given March 1, 1967; ratification and accession was approved by the President on April 4, 1967; and the documents were deposited with the United Nations on April 18, 1973. The Convention entered into force on April 18, 1973.