The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), originally called the International Fisheries Commission, was established in 1923 by a Convention between the governments of Canada and the United States of America. Its mandate is research on and management of the stocks of Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) within the Convention waters of both nations. The IPHC consists of three government-appointed commissioners for each country who serve their terms at the pleasure of the President of the United States and the Canadian government respectively.
The IPHC, an International Fisheries Organization, receives monies from both the U.S. and Canadian governments to support a Director and staff. Annually, the IPHC meets to conduct the business of the Commission. At this annual meeting the budgets, research plans, biomass estimates, catch recommendations, as well as regulatory proposals are discussed and approved then forwarded to the respective governments for implementation. The Commission operates according to its rules of procedure. The IPHC staff and offices are currently located in Seattle, Washington.
The IPHC is considered a public international organization and is entitled to the privileges, exemptions, and immunities conferred by the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. Sec. 288), except those pursuant to Sections 4(b), 4(e), and 5 (a) of that Act by virtue of U.S. Presidential Executive Order 11059. In 1987, the IPHC was granted 503(c) status as a not-for-profit organization and is considered part of the U.S. Federal government for purchasing and travel.
The IPHC conducts numerous projects annually to support both major mandates: stock assessment and basic halibut biology. Current projects include standardized stock assessment fishing surveys from northern California to the end of the Aleutian Islands, as well as field sampling in major fishing ports to collect scientific information from the halibut fleet. In conjunction with these ongoing programs, the IPHC conducts numerous biological and scientific experiments to further the understanding and information about Pacific halibut.