Whereas the Gulf Coast states have the proprietary interest in and jurisdiction over fisheries in the waters within their respective boundaries, it is the purpose of this compact to promote the better utilization of the fisheries, marine, shell and anadromous, of the seaboard of the Gulf of Mexico, by the development of a joint program for the promotion and protection of such fisheries and the prevention of the physical waste of the fisheries from any cause.
This compact shall become operative immediately as to those states ratifying it whenever any two or more of the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas have ratified it and the Congress has given its consent subject to Article 1, Section 10, of the Constitution of the United States. Any state contiguous to any of the aforementioned states or riparian upon waters which flow into waters under the jurisdiction of any of the aforementioned states and which are frequented by anadromous fish or marine species may become a party hereto as hereinafter provided.
Each state joining herein shall appoint three representatives to a commission hereby constituted and designated as the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission. One shall be the head of the administrative agency of such state charged with the conservation of the fishery resources to which this compact pertains or, if there be more than one 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 such legislature or in the absence of such designation, 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 in such manner as may be established by law. The third shall be a citizen who shall have a knowledge of and interest in the marine fisheries, to be appointed by the governor. This commission shall be a body corporate with the powers and duties set forth herein.
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 Gulf Coast. The commission shall have power to recommend the coordination of the exercise of the police powers of the several states within their respective jurisdiction to promote the preservation of these fisheries and their protection against overfishing, waste, depletion or any abuse whatsoever and to assure a continuing yield from the fishery resources of the aforementioned states. To that end the commission shall draft and 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 Gulf seaboard. The commission shall from time to time present to the governor of each compacting state its recommendations relating to enactments to be presented to the legislature of that state in furthering the interest 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 it 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 two or more states shall jointly stock waters the commission shall act as the coordinating agency, for such stocking.
The commission shall elect from its number a chairman and 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 one 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.
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. 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.
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 Gulf 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 salt water fisherman and the salt water anglers and such other interest of each state as the commissioners deem advisable may be established by the commissioners from each state for the purpose of advising those commissioners upon such recommendations as it may desire to make.
When any state other than those named specifically in Article II of this compact shall become a party hereto for the purpose of conserving its anadromous fish or marine species 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 fish.
Nothing in this compact shall be construed to limit or add to the powers or the proprietary interest of any signatory state or to repeal or prevent the enactment of any legislation or the enforcement of any requirement by a signatory state imposing additional conditions and restrictions to conserve its fisheries.
It is agreed that any two or more states party hereto may further amend this compact by acts of their respective legislatures subject to approval of Congress as provided in Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution of the United States, to designate the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission as a joint regulating authority for the joint regulation of specific fisheries affecting only such states as shall so compact, and at their joint expense. The representatives of such states shall constitute a separate section of the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission for the exercise of the additional powers so granted but the creation of such section shall not be deemed to deprive the states so compacting of any of their privileges or powers in the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission as constituted under the other articles of this compact.
Continued absence of representation or of any representative on the commission from any state party hereto shall be brought to the attention of the governor thereof.
The operating expenses of the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission shall be borne by the states party hereto. Such initial appropriations as are set forth below shall be made available yearly until modified as hereinafter provided:
The proration and total cost per annum of thirteen thousand ($13,000.00) dollars, above mentioned, is estimative only, for initial operations, and may be changed when found necessary by the commission and approved by the legislatures of the respective states. Each state party hereto agrees to provide in the manner most acceptable to it, the travel costs and necessary expenses of its commissioners and other representatives to and from meetings of the commission or its duly constituted sections or committees.
This compact shall continue in force and remain binding upon each compacting state until renounced by act of the legislature of such state, in such form as it may choose; provided that such renunciation shall not become effective until six months after the effective date of the action taken by the legislature. Notice of such renunciation shall be given to the other states party thereto by the secretary of state of the compacting state so renouncing upon passage of the act.
Approved by the President of the United States on the 19th day of May, 1949. (P.L. 81-66)