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Fisheries science and the American Fisheries Society had their beginnings in northeastern North America in 1870, when a group of lay professionals from the U.S. and Canada, interested in fish culture and aquatic resources, convened to form the American Fish Culturists Association (later to become the American Fisheries Society).
A convention in 1948 formed the International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (ICNAF) to govern fishing in international waters of the North Atlantic. The treaty was ratified in 1950 to study fisheries in two million square miles of ocean outside the territorial waters of nations rimming the northwest Atlantic.