The Technical Subcommittee (TSC) was created by the International Trawl Fishery Committee (now the Canada-U.S. Groundfish Committee) at the latter's initial meeting in Seattle, Washington, on November 4, 1959. The TSC first met in Portland, Oregon, on January 19-20, 1960. Dr. K. S. Ketchen (Canada) served as Chairman. Member agencies at the time were the Fisheries Research Board of Canada (now the Department of Fisheries and Oceans), Washington Department of Fisheries (now the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife), Fish Commission of Oregon (now the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife), and the California Department of Fish and Game. In 1972, two more agencies became members -- the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (now the National Marine Fisheries Service).

The TSC has met at least annually since 1960 and submitted a processed report of each meeting to its Parent Committee.

These terms of reference did not apply to Pacific halibut, whose research and management are the responsibility of the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

  1. Exchange information on the status of groundfish stocks of mutual concern and coordinate, whenever possible, desirable programs of research.
  2. Recommend the continuance and further development of research programs having potential value as scientific basis for future management of the groundfish fishery.
  3. Review the scientific and technical aspects of existing or proposed management strategies and their component regulations relevant to conservation of stocks or other scientific aspects of groundfish conservation and management of mutual interest.
  4. Transmit approved recommendations and appropriate documentation to appropriate sectors of Canadian and U.S. governments and encourage implementation of these recommendations.

The TSC has exhibited considerable flexibility in reacting to the diverse problems of the dynamic groundfish fishery off western Canada and the United States. It has coordinated coastwide fishery statistics and research projects; created working groups to deal in depth with specific problems; scheduled workshops at which appropriate specialists met to jointly deal with specific problems and exchange data and information; and provided an on-going forum for exchange of data, procedures, and regulations. The TSC has identified problems associated with the utilization and management of groundfish resources of importance to both countries, often well in advance of the public or agency awareness. Significant were the concerns expressed in 1962 by the TSC over the development of foreign fisheries and recommendations for stock assessments. TSC-coordinated Canada-U.S. research on Pacific ocean perch provided the basis for negotiation of bilateral fishing agreements between the United States and Japan and the USSR. Furthermore, the continually updated information provided the basis for quotas imposed in 1977 by Canada and the United States when they both promulgated their 200-mile zones of extended jurisdiction.