Convention on Fishing and Conservation of the Living Resources in the Baltic Sea and Belts
(As amended) (1973)


The States Parties to this Convention,

Bearing in mind that maximum and stable productivity of the living resources of the Baltic Sea and the Belts is of great importance to the States of the Baltic Sea basin,

Recognizing their joint responsibility for the conservation of the living resources and their rational exploitation,

Being convinced that the conservation of the living resources of the Baltic Sea and the Belts calls for closer and more expanded co-operation in this region,

Noting that the States of the Baltic Sea basin have extended their jurisdiction over the living resources to waters beyond and adjacent to their territorial sea,

Have agreed as follows:


Article I

The Contracting States shall:

co-operate closely with a view to preserving and increasing the living resources of the Baltic Sea and the Belts and obtaining the optimum yield, and, in particular to expanding and co-ordinating studies towards these ends,

prepare and put into effect organizational and technical projects on conservation and growth of the living resources, including measures of artificial reproduction of valuable fish species and/or contribute financially to such measures, on a just and equitable basis, as well as take other steps towards rational and effective exploitation of the living resources.

Article II

1. The area to which this Convention applies, hereinafter referred to as "the Convention area", shall be all waters of the Baltic Sea and the Belts excluding internal waters, bounded in the west by a line as from Hasenore Head to Gniben Point, from Korshage to Spodsbierg and from Gilbierg Head to the Kullen.

2. This Convention shall apply to all fish species and other living marine resources in the Convention Area.

Article III

Nothing in this Convention shall be deemed to affect the rights, claims or view of any Contracting State in regard to the limits of territorial waters and to the extent of jurisdiction over fisheries, according to international law.

Article IV

For the purpose of this Convention the term "vessel" means any vessel or boat in catching or treating fish or other living marine organisms and which is registered or owned in the territory of, or which flies the flag of, any Contracting State.

Article V

1. An International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission, hereinafter referred to as "the Commission", is hereby established for the purposes of this Convention.

2. Each Contracting State may appoint not more than two representatives as members of the Commission and such experts and advisers to assist them as that State may determine.

3. The Commission shall elect a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman from amongst its members who shall serve for a period of four years and who shall be eligible for re-election, but not for two consecutive terms of office.

The Chairman and the Vice-Chairman shall be elected from the representatives of different Contracting States.

4. A member of the Commission elected as its Chairman shall forthwith cease to act as a representative of a State and shall not vote. The State concerned shall have the right to appoint another representative to serve in the Chairman's place.

Article VI

1. The Office of the Commission shall be in Warsaw.

2. The Commission shall appoint its Secretary and as it may require appropriate staff to assist him.

3. The Commission shall adopt its rules of procedure and other provisions which the Commission shall consider necessary for its work.

Article VII

1. The Commission shall adopt its financial rules.

2. The Commission shall adopt a two years budget of proposed expenditures and budget estimates for the period following thereafter.

3. The total amount of the budget including any supplementary budget shall be contributed by the Contracting States according to the following formula:

(a) one-third of the budget shall be divided equally among the Contracting Parties;
(b) two-thirds of the budget shall be divided in proportion to the TACs available to the Contracting Parties in accordance with the financial regulations for the Commission.

4. Each Contracting State shall pay the expenses related to the participation in the Commission of its representatives, experts and advisers.

Article VIII

1. Except where the Commission decides otherwise, it shall hold its sessions every two years in Warsaw at such time as it shall deem suitable. Upon the request of the representative of a Contracting State in the Commission, provided it is endorsed by a representative of another Contracting State, the Chairman of the Commission shall, as soon as possible, summon an extraordinary session at such time and place as he determines, however not later than three months from the date of the submission of the request.

2. The first session of the Commission shall be called by the Depositary Government of this Convention and shall take place within a period of ninety days from the date following the entry into force of this Convention.

3. Each Contracting State shall have one vote in the Commission. Decisions and recommendations of the Commission shall be taken by a two-thirds majority of votes of the Contracting States, present and voting at the meeting, provided, however, that any recommendation relating to areas under the fisheries jurisdiction of one or more Contracting States shall enter into force for these States only in case they have given affirmative vote thereto.

4. English shall be the working language of the Commission. The languages of the Signatory States are the official languages of the Commission. Only recommendations, decisions and resolutions of the Commission shall be made in these languages. At meetings of the Commission any Contracting State has the right to have all the proceedings translated into its own language. All the costs related to such translations shall be borne by that State.

Article IX

1. It shall be the duty of the Commission:

(a) to co-ordinate the management of the living resources in the Convention area by collecting, aggregating, analysing and disseminating statistical data, for example concerning catch, fishing effort, and other information;

(b) to promote co-ordination, as appropriate, of scientific research and, when desirable, of joint programmes of such research in the Convention area;

(c) to prepare and submit recommendations based as far as practicable on results of the scientific research and concerning measures referred to in Article X for consideration of the Contracting States;

(d) to examine information submitted by the Contracting States in accordance with Article XII paragraph 3.

2. In implementing its functions, the Commission shall, when appropriate, seek the services of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and of other international technical and scientific organizations and shall make use of information provided by the official bodies of the Contracting States.

3. To perform its functions the Commission may set up working groups or other subsidiary bodies and determine their composition and terms of reference.

Article X

Measures relating to the purposes of this Convention which the Commission may consider and in regard of which it may make recommendations to the Contracting States are:

(a) any measures for the regulation of fishing gear, appliances and catching methods;

(b) any measures regulating the size limits of fish that may be retained on board vessels or landed, exposed or offered for sale;

(c) any measures establishing closed seasons;

(d) any measures establishing closed areas;

(e) any measures improving and increasing the living marine resources, including artificial reproduction and transplantation of fish and other organisms;

(f) any measures or establishing total allowable catch or fishing effort according to species, stocks, areas and fishing periods including total allowable catches for areas under the fisheries jurisdiction of Contracting States;

(g) any other measures related to the conservation and rational exploitation of the living marine resources.

Article XI

1. Subject to the provisions of this Article, the Contracting States undertake to give effect to any recommendation made by the Commission under Article X of this Convention from the date determined by the Commission, which shall not be before the period for objection provided for in this Article has elapsed.

2. Any Contracting State may within ninety days from the date of notification of a recommendation object to it and in that event shall not be under obligation to give effect to that recommendation. A Contracting State may also at any time withdraw its objection and give effect to a recommendation.

In the event of an objection being made within the ninety-days period, any other Contracting State may similarly object at any time within a further period of sixty days.

3. If objection to a recommendation are made by three or more Contracting States, the other Contracting States shall be relieved forthwith of any obligation to give effect to that recommendation.

4. (a) After the date of entry into force of a recommendation adopted by the Commission any Contracting State may notify the Commission of the termination of its acceptance of the recommendation and, if that notification is not withdrawn, the recommendation shall cease to be binding on that Contracting State at the end of one year from the date of notification.

(b) A recommendation which has ceased to be binding on a Contracting State shall cease to be binding on any other Contracting State thirty days after the date on which the latter notifies the Commission of the termination of its acceptance of the recommendation.

5. The Commission shall notify the Contracting States of any notification under this Article immediately upon receipt thereof.

Article XII

1. Each Contracting State shall take in regard to its nationals and its vessels appropriate measures to ensure the application of the provisions of this Convention and of the recommendations of the Commission which have become binding for the Contracting State and in case of their infringement shall take appropriate action.

2. Without prejudice to the sovereign rights of the Contracting States in regard to their territorial sea and to the rights in their fishing zones, each Contracting State shall implement recommendations of the Commission binding on that State through its national authorities, within its territorial sea and in the waters under its fisheries jurisdiction.

3. Each Contracting State shall furnish to the Commission at such time and in such form as may be required by the Commission, the available statistical data and information referred to in Article IX paragraph I (a), as well as information on all actions taken by it in accordance with paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article including information on control measures taken to ensure the application of the recommendations of the Commission.

Article XIII

The Commission shall inform the Commission of the legislative measures and of agreements which it may have concluded, in so far as those measures and agreement relate to the conservation and utilization of fishery resources in the Convention area.

Article XIV

The provisions of this Convention shall not apply to operations conducted solely for the purpose of scientific investigations by vessels authorized by a Contracting State for that purpose, or to fish and other marine organisms taken in the course of such operations. Catch so taken shall not be sold, exposed or offered for sale.

Article XV

1. The Commission shall co-operate with other international organizations having related objectives.

2. The Commission may extend an invitation to any international organization concerned or to the Government of any State, not a party to this Convention, to participate as an observer in the sessions of the Commission or meetings of its subsidiary bodies.

Article XVI

1. Each Contracting State may propose amendments to this Convention. Any such proposed amendment shall be submitted to the Depositary Government and communicated by it to all Contracting States, which shall inform the Depositary Government about either their acceptance or rejection of the amendment as soon as possible after the receipt of the communication. The amendment shall enter into force ninety days after the Depositary Government has received notifications of acceptance of that amendment from all Contracting States.

2. Each State which shall become a party to this Convention after the entry into force of an amendment in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article, is obliged to apply the Convention as amended.

Article XVII

1. This Convention shall be subject to ratification or approval by the Signatory States. Instruments of ratification or instruments of approval shall be deposited with the Government of the Polish People's Republic which shall perform the functions of the Depositary Government.

2. This Convention shall be open for accession to any State interested in preservation and rational exploitation of living resources in the Baltic Sea and the Belts, or to any intergovernmental economic integration organization to which the competence in the matters regulated by this Convention has been transferred by its Member States, provided that this State or organization is invited by the Contracting States. Instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Depositary Government.

3. Any reference to "Contracting State" in this Convention shall apply mutatis mutandis to the organizations mentioned under the previous paragraph and which have become Parties of this Convention.

4. In case of conflict between the obligations of an organization mentioned in paragraph 2 under this Convention and its obligations arising under the terms of the agreement establishing such an organization or any acts relating to it, the obligations under this Convention shall prevail.

Article XVIII

1. This Convention shall enter into force on the ninetieth day following the date of the deposit of the fourth instrument of ratification or approval.

2. After entry into force of this Convention in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Article, the Convention shall enter into force for any other State, the Government of which has deposited an instrument of ratification, approval or accession on the thirtieth day following the date of deposit of such instrument with the Depositary Government.

Article XIX

At any time after the expiration of five years from the date of entry into force of this Convention any Contracting State may, by giving written notice to the Depositary Government, withdraw from this Convention. The withdrawal shall take effect for such Contracting State on the thirty-first of December of the year which follows the year in which the Depositary Government was notified of the withdrawal.

Article XX

1. The Depositary Government shall inform all Signatory and Acceding States:

(a) of signatures of this Convention and deposit of each instrument of ratification, approval or accession, as well as of submitted declarations,

(b) of the date of entry into force of this Convention,

(c) of proposals relating to amendments to the Convention, notifications of acceptance and of the entry into force of such amendments,

(d) of notifications of withdrawal.

2. The original of this Convention shall be deposited with the Government of the Polish People's Republic which shall transmit certified copies thereof to the Government of all Signatory States and of all States which accede to this Convention.

3. The Depositary Governments shall register this Convention with the Secretariat of the United Nations.

In witness whereof the undersigned Plenipotentiaries, being duly authorized thereto, have signed this Convention.


Done at Gdansk this thirteenth day of September, one thousand nine hundred and seventy three, in a single copy drawn up in the Danish, Finnish, German, Polish, Russian, Swedish and English languages, each text being equally authentic.