The purpose of the fish tumor conference was to bring researchers and agency staff together to develop standardized criteria for the analysis of fish tumors and other deformities in Areas of Concern. The objectives were to determine what is currently being done in the analysis of fish tumors and deformities, and develop a uniform system for this beneficial-use impairment. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was first signed in 1972, in which the United States and Canada agreed to restore and preserve the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem. In 1978, a new agreement was reached, in which both countries pledged a commitment to rid the Great Lakes of persistent toxic substances (substances that remain in the environment for long periods of time, poisoning food sources for animals and humans). In 1987, a Protocol was signed by both governments, promising to report on restorative progress and calling on the International Joint Commission to review Remedial Action Plans proposed by the 42 Areas of Concern. The mission of the Remedial Action Plans is to restore beneficial uses as identified in Annex 2 of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, in degraded areas within the basin.