Game, Wildlife and Dogs

CHAPTER 15. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Compact

§ 1501. Governor to enter into Compact; provisions thereof.

The Governor of this State shall execute a Compact on behalf of this State with any 1 or more of the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and with such other states as may enter into the Compact, legally joining therein in the form substantially as follows:


The contracting states solemnly agree:

Article I

The purpose of this compact is to promote the better utilization of the fisheries, marine, shell and anadromous, of the Atlantic seaboard by the development of a joint program for the promotion and protection of such fisheries, and by the prevention of the physical waste of the fisheries from any cause. It is not the purpose of this compact to authorize the states joining herein to limit the production of fish or fish products for the purpose of establishing or fixing the price thereof, or creating and perpetuating monopoly.

Article II

This agreement shall become operative immediately as to those states executing it whenever any two or more of the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida have executed it in the form that is in accordance with the laws of the executing state and the Congress has given its consent. Any state contiguous with any of the aforementioned states and riparian upon waters frequented by anadromous fish, flowing into waters under the jurisdiction of any of the aforementioned states, may become a party hereto as hereinafter provided.

Article III

Each state joining herein shall appoint 3 representatives to a Commission hereby constituted and designated as the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. One shall be the executive officer of the administrative agency of such state charged with the conservation of the fisheries resources to which this compact pertains or, if there be more than 1 officer or agency, the official of that state named by the governor thereof. The second shall be a member of the legislature of such state designated by the Commission or Committee on Interstate Cooperation of such state, or if there be none, or if said Commission on Interstate Cooperation cannot constitutionally designate the said member, such legislator shall be designated by the governor thereof; provided that if it is constitutionally impossible to appoint a legislator as a commissioner from such state, the second member shall be appointed by the governor of said state in his or her discretion. The third shall be a citizen who shall have a knowledge of and interest in the marine fisheries problem to be appointed by the governor. This Commission shall be a body corporate with the powers and duties set forth herein.

Article IV

The duty of the said Commission shall be to make inquiry and ascertain from time to time such methods, practices, circumstances and conditions as may be disclosed for bringing about the conservation and the prevention of the depletion and physical waste of the fisheries, marine, shell and anadromous of the Atlantic seaboard. The Commission shall have power to recommend the coordination of the exercise of the police powers of the several states within their respective jurisdictions to promote the preservation of those fisheries and their protection against overfishing, waste, depletion or any abuse whatsoever and to assure a continuing yield from the fisheries resources of the aforementioned states.

To that end the Commission shall draft and, after consultation with the Advisory Committee hereinafter authorized, recommend to the governors and legislatures of the various signatory states legislation dealing with the conservation of the marine, shell and anadromous fisheries of the Atlantic seaboard. The Commission shall, more than one month prior to any regular meeting of the legislature in any signatory state, present to the governor of the state its recommendations relating to enactments to be made by the legislature of that state in furthering the intents and purposes of this compact.

The Commission shall consult with and advise the pertinent administrative agencies in the states party hereto with regard to problems connected with the fisheries and recommend the adoption of such regulations as at deems advisable.

The Commission shall have power to recommend to the states party hereto the stocking of the waters of such states with fish and fish eggs or joint stocking by some or all of the states party hereto and when 2 or more of the states shall jointly stock waters the Commission shall act as the coordinating agency for such stocking.

Article V

The Commission shall elect from its number a Chairman and a Vice Chairman and shall appoint and at its pleasure remove or discharge such officers and employees as may be required to carry the provisions of this compact into effect and shall fix and determine their duties, qualifications and compensation. Said Commission shall adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of its business. It may establish and maintain 1 or more offices for the transaction of its business and may meet at any time or place but must meet at least once a year.

Article VI

No action shall be taken by the Commission in regard to its general affairs except by the affirmative vote of a majority of the whole number of compacting states present at any meeting. No recommendation shall be made by the Commission in regard to any species of fish except by the affirmative vote of a majority of the compacting states which have an interest in such species. The Commission shall define what shall be an interest.

Article VII

The Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior of the Government of the United States shall act as the primary research agency of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission cooperating with the research agencies in each state for that purpose. Representatives of the said Fish and Wildlife Service shall attend the meetings of the Commission.

An advisory committee to be representative of the commercial fishermen and the salt water anglers and such other interests of each state as the Commission deems advisable shall be established by the Commission as soon as practicable for the purpose of advising the Commission upon such recommendations as it may desire to make.

Article VIII

When any state other than those named specifically in Article II of this compact shall become a party thereto for the purpose of conserving its anadromous fish in accordance with the provisions of Article II the participation of such state in the action of the Commission shall be limited to such species of anadromous fish.

Article IX

Nothing in this compact shall be construed to limit the powers of any signatory state or to repeal or prevent the enactment of any legislation or the enforcement of any requirement by any signatory state imposing additional conditions and restrictions to conserve its fisheries.

Article X

Continued absence of representation of any representative on the Commission from any state party hereto shall be brought to the attention of the governor thereof.

Article XI

The states party hereto agree to make annual appropriation to the support of the Commission in proportion to the primary market value of the products of their fisheries, exclusive of cod and haddock, as recorded in the most recent published reports of the Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior, provided no state shall contribute less than $200 per annum and the annual contribution of each state above the minimum shall be figured to the nearest $100.

The compacting states agree to appropriate initially the annual amounts scheduled below, which amounts are calculated in the manner set forth herein, on the basis of the catch record of 1938. Subsequent budgets shall be recommended by majority of the Commission and the cost thereof allocated equitably among the states in accordance with their respective interests and submitted to the compacting states.

Schedule of Initial Annual State Contributions:
Maine $ 700
New Hampshire 200
Massachusetts 2,300
Rhode Island 300
Connecticut 400
New York 1,300
New Jersey 800
Delaware 200
Maryland 700
Virginia 1,300
North Carolina 600
South Carolina 200
Georgia 200
Florida 1,500

Article XII

This compact shall continue in force and remain binding upon each compacting state until renounced by it. Renunciation of this compact must be preceded by sending 6 months’ notice in writing of intention to withdraw from the compact to the other states party hereto.

43 Del. Laws, c. 287, §  1;  7 Del. C. 1953, §  1501;  70 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  1

§ 1502. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commissioners; qualifications; term of office; vacancies; removal.

(a) In pursuance of Article III of the Compact authorized in § 1501 of this title, there shall be 3 members (hereinafter called Commissioners) of the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission (hereinafter called Commission) from the State. The first Commissioner from the State shall be the Commissioner of Conservation of the State ex officio, and the term of any such ex officio Commissioner shall terminate at the time the ex officio Commissioner ceases to hold the office of Commissioner of Conservation and the successor as Commissioner shall be the successor as Commissioner of Conservation. The second Commissioner from the State shall be a legislator designated by said Commission on Interstate Cooperation, and the term of any such ex officio Commissioner shall terminate at the time the ex officio Commissioner ceases to hold said legislative office, and the successor as Commissioner shall be named in like manner. The Governor, (by and with the advice and consent of the Senate) shall appoint a citizen as a third Commissioner who has a knowledge of and interest in the marine fisheries problem. The term of such Commissioner shall be 3 years and such Commissioner shall hold office until a successor is appointed and qualified. Vacancies occurring in the office of such Commissioner from any reason or cause shall be filled by appointment by the Governor (by and with the advice and consent of the Senate) for the unexpired term.

(b) The Commissioner of Conservation as ex officio Commissioner may delegate, from time to time, to any deputy or other subordinate in his or her department or office, the power to be present and participate, including voting as his or her representative or substitute at any meeting of or hearing by or other proceeding of the Commission.

(c) The terms of each of the initial 3 members shall begin at the date of the appointment of the appointive Commissioner, if the said Compact has then gone into effect in accordance with Article II of the Compact; otherwise they shall begin upon the date upon which the Compact becomes effective in accordance with said Article II.

(d) Any Commissioner may be removed from office by the Governor upon charges and after a hearing.

43 Del. Laws, c. 287, §  2;  7 Del. C. 1953, §  1502;  69 Del. Laws, c. 62, §  170 Del. Laws, c. 186, §  1

§ 1503. Powers of Commission and Commissioners; duties of other state officials.

The Commission and the Commissioners thereof shall have all the powers provided for in the Compact and all the powers necessary or incidental to the carrying out of the Compact in every particular. All officers of the State shall do all things falling within their respective provinces and jurisdiction necessary or incidental to the carrying out of the Compact in every particular; it being the policy of the State to perform and carry out the said Compact and to accomplish the purposes thereof. All officers, bureaus, departments and persons of and in the state government or administration of the State shall, at convenient times and upon request of the Commission furnish the Commission with information and data possessed by them or any of them and aid said Commission by loan of personnel or other means lying within their legal rights respectively.

43 Del. Laws, c. 287, §  3;  7 Del. C. 1953, §  1503; 

§ 1504. Powers of Commission supplementary to powers vested by laws of other compacting states.

Any powers granted to the Commission shall be regarded as in aid of and supplemental to and in no case a limitation upon any of the powers vested in said Commission by other laws of the State of Delaware or by the laws of the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida or by the Congress or the terms of the Compact.

43 Del. Laws, c. 287, §  4;  7 Del. C. 1953, §  1504; 

§ 1505. Receipts and disbursements of Commission; annual report; examination of accounts.

(a) The Commission shall keep accurate accounts of all receipts and disbursements and shall report to the Governor and the General Assembly of the State on or before December 10 in each year, setting forth in detail the transactions conducted by it during the 12 months preceding December 1 of that year and shall make recommendations for any legislative action deemed by it advisable, including amendments to the statutes of the State necessary to carry out the intent and purposes of the Compact between the signatory states.

(b) The Auditor of Accounts of the State may, from time to time, examine the accounts and books of the Commission, including its receipts, disbursements and such other items referring to its financial standing as the Auditor deems proper and report the results of such examination to the Governor of the State.

43 Del. Laws, c. 287, §  5;  7 Del. C. 1953, §  1505;