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Subject: CRS: Daily Summary - 3/19/99 - Longer Friday Version - Part 1 of 2
From: Steve Gutreuter <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 19 Mar 1999 13:22:40 -0600

text/plain (298 lines)

> Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 3/19/99 (updated
> daily)
> New info and changes since 3/12/99 are bracketed {...}
> New info and changes since 3/18/99 double-bracketed {{...}}
> New England Groundfish.  On Apr. 16-17, 1999, the CT College Center for
> Conservation Biology & Environmental Studies and the CT Sea Grant College
> Program have scheduled a conference on *The History, Status, and Future of
> the New England Offshore Fishery* in New London, CT. [Center for
> Conservation Biology & Environmental Studies press release]
> Coast Guard Inquiry into Clam Vessel Sinkings.  On Mar. 19, 1999, the
> Coast Guard panel investigating the December 1998-January 1999 sinkings of
> 5 mid-Atlantic clam vessels is scheduled to release its recommendations.
> The Associated Press reports the panel is expected to recommend licensing
> of fishing vessel skippers and request mandatory inspections for fishing
> vessels.  If adopted by the panel, the Coast Guard commandant could
> present the recommendations to Congress. [Bergan (NJ) Record, Assoc Press]
> NMFS FY2000 Budget.  On Mar. 18, 1999, the House Resources Subcommittee on
> Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has scheduled an oversight
> hearing on the FY 2000 budget request of NMFS. [personal communication]
> {Swordfish Imports.  On Mar. 16, 1999, NMFS published final regulations
> prohibiting the sale and import of undersize (less than 33 pounds dressed
> weight) north Atlantic swordfish, implementing a 1995 recommendation of
> the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.
> Certificates of eligibility will be required for every imported swordfish,
> identifying ocean of origin and flag of fishing vessel.  These regulations
> will be enforced beginning June 17, 1999, after an outreach program to
> inform importers, exporters, and government officials of exporting
> nations.}[Fed. Register, NOAA press release]
> {Fishing Industry Subsidies.  On Mar. 12, 1999, Clinton Administration
> officials announced that the United States will join Australia, Iceland,
> New Zealand, and the Philippines at the High-Level Symposium on Trade and
> the Environment sponsored by the World Trade Organization, scheduled for
> Mar. 15-18, 1999, in Geneva, Switzerland, in proposing to reduce or
> eliminate government subsidies to the commercial fishing industry.}[Assoc
> Press, Reuters]
> Shrimp Blinding.  The Mar. 11, 1999 issue of Nature present results of a
> study concluding that retinal damage in deep-sea shrimp near hydrothermal
> vents may be caused by exposure to flood lights from manned submersibles.
> This damage does not appear to harm the shrimps? survival. [Fox News]
> House Resources Fishery Hearing.  On Mar. 11, 1999, the House Resources
> Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans held a
> hearing on reauthorization of the Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967, and
> the Intergovernmental Consultative Committee Agreement Between the
> Government of the United States and the Government of the Union of Soviet
> Socialist Republics on Mutual Fisheries Relations of May 31, 1988, as
> amended (the United States-Soviet Comprehensive Fisheries Agreement --
> obligations of the former Soviet Union under this agreement have devolved
> on the Russian Federation). [personal communication]
> ICCAT Advisory Committee Meeting.  On Mar. 9-10, 1999, the International
> Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Advisory
> Committee will meet in Washington, DC, to discuss 1998 ICCAT meeting
> results and U.S. implementation of ICCAT decisions, NMFS/ICCAT research
> and monitoring activities, precautionary approach, upcoming meeting of
> ICCAT?s Working Group on Allocation Criteria, U.S. requirement to identify
> countries that are diminishing the effectiveness of ICCAT, and the results
> of the Committee?s Species Working Groups. [Fed. Register]
> {Greenpeace Factory Trawler Protest.  On Mar. 8, 1999, Greenpeace
> activists held a protest in Rotterdam, Netherlands, preventing the new
> Dutch factory trawler, Afrika, from departing for sea trials.  The trawler
> departed after dark that night, completing sea trials before sailing on
> Mar. 12 to fish Sardinella and horse mackerel off west Africa.}[personal
> communication]
> Non-Point Source Pollution.  On Mar. 8, 1999, the New England Aquarium
> released the report *Pointless Pollution* focusing on continued problems
> with contaminated shellfish beds, polluted beaches, and damaged coasts
> caused by pollutants from non-point sources. [Boston Globe]
> {Italy and Driftnet Sanctions.  On Mar. 5, 1999, the U.S. Court of
> International Trade ruled that the Secretary of Commerce had violated U.S.
> law by failing to identify Italy as an illegal driftnetting nation despite
> evidence of large-scale driftnetting by Italian vessels.  On Mar. 15,
> 1999, the Secretary of Commerce identified Italy as an illegal
> driftnetting nation.  If negotiations to end Italian large-scale
> driftnetting are not successful by July 15, 1999, the United States would
> impose sanctions against Italian fish and fish products.} [Humane Society
> of the United States press release]
> Lobster Lawsuit.  On Mar. 5, 1999, a hearing was held in U.S. District
> Court (Albany, NY) on the lawsuit filed in April 1998 by CT, charging that
> NY was enforcing illegal barriers to interstate commerce by preventing CT
> fishermen from harvesting lobsters near Fishers Island in Long Island
> Sound. [Assoc Press]
> U.S.-Canada Lobster Summit.  On Mar. 3-4, 1999, more than 200 lobster
> fishermen, marketers, management biologists, and other scientists gathered
> in Rockport, ME for the U.S.-Canada Lobster Summit III.  Sponsored by the
> New England Aquarium, the Summit focused on reaching a consensus on
> methods of lobster stock assessment and efforts to improve data
> collection. [Bangor Daily News]
> Toothfish.  On Mar. 2, 1999, the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise
> discovered an unmarkeded vessel, likely fishing illegally for toothfish,
> 45 miles northeast of Kerguelen Island in France?s sub-Antarctic
> territory.  Greenpeace officials believe the vessel is the
> Belize-registered Salvora, previously found guilty by Australian
> authorities of poaching toothfish in October 1997.  On, Mar. 5, 1999, the
> Greenpeace vessel was continuing to shadow the Salvora. {On Mar. 14, 1999,
> Greenpeace reported that Mauritius officials have indicated they will take
> action against the Salvora, should this vessel arrive in Mauritius.  In
> addition, Greenpeace identified another Belize-flagged vessel, the Bouzon,
> as illegally catching toothfish.  The Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise
> continues its pursuit of the Salvora.}[CNN, personal communication]
> Coral Protection.  On Mar. 2, 1999, NOAA?s National Ocean Service
> completed installation of the next-to-last Racon navigation beacon in an
> 8-beacon radar navigation system stretching from Miami, FL, to Loggerhead
> Key in the Dry Tortugas, designed to prevent ship groundings on coral
> reefs.  Beacons were purchased as part of a settlement for natural
> resources damages with the owners of the container ship Houston that went
> aground in the FL Keys in 1997.  On Mar. 5, 1999, the Center for Marine
> Conservation (CMC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced
> a partnership in 2 programs to protect coral reefs -- Reef Ecosystem
> Conditions (RECON) and the Hawaii National Marine Debris Monitoring
> Program (NMDMP).  RECON uses recreational divers to collect information on
> the condition of coral reef systems, while NMDMP uses volunteer groups to
> monitor and remove marine debris from selected U.S. coastal areas.  On
> Mar. 5-6, 1999, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force was scheduled to hod its
> second meeting in Maui, HI.  At this meeting, the Task Force will review
> initial plans and products developed by 5 Working Groups, receive input on
> the plans from government and NGO partners, and determine the optimal
> strategies and options for action. [personal communication, Naples Daily
> News, CMC press release]
> SAFMC Grouper Ban.  On Mar. 1, 1999, the South Atlantic Fishery Management
> Council?s two-month ban on harvest and sale of black grouper, gag grouper,
> and red porgy went into effect to protect spawning aggregations of these
> species.  This ban is scheduled annually for the next 10 years to allow
> overfished stocks to recover. [Carteret News-Times]
> South Korean Fishery Agreements.  On Mar. 1, 1999, South Korean officials
> announced that South Korea will sign a fishery agreement with the Peoples
> Republic of China {{in late March or early April 1999}}to establish
> orderly fisheries in waters between the two countries.  Fisheries will be
> divided into 3 zones -- exclusive management, joint management, and
> transitory, with the 20-mile wide transitory zones to become each
> country?s exclusive fishing zones after a 4-year joint management period.
> Although discussions began on Mar. 8, 1999, Japan has not responded
> favorably to South Korean requests to allow about 220 pair trawlers to
> fish in Japanese waters. {On Mar 17, 1999, Japanese officials agreed to
> allow 80 South Korean pair trawlers to operate in the Japanese EEZ.  In
> addition, Japan agreed to allow an additional 74 South Korean swellfish
> and 18 hairtail dipnet vessels to operate in the Japanese EEZ.  However,
> no additional catch quota was secured for these vessels.  In exchange
> South Korea agreed to allow 26 additional Japanese swellfish dipnet
> fishing boats to fish in the South Korean EEZ, and eased restrictions for
> Japanese dragnet fishing vessels operating in the South Korean
> EEZ.}[Korean Herald]
> Vibrio vulnificus Satellite Teaching Program.  On Feb. 26, 1999, the
> National Laboratory Training Network and Univ. of FL?s Institute of Food &
> Agricultural Sciences will broadcast an interactive satellite program on
> the natural shellfish contaminant Vibrio vulnificus for clinical
> laboratorians, microbiologists, epidemiologists, and public health
> employees.  For information, call (615) 262-6315. [personal communication]
> Glacier Bay Fisheries.  In late February 1999, armed National Park Service
> (NPS) rangers boarded 11 crab vessels in Glacier Bay National Park to
> inform fishermen that park waters would soon be closed to commercial
> fishing, as provided for in provisions of P.L. 105-277.  Concerns arose
> that NPS had begun enforcing new regulations earlier than anticipated and
> with little notice.  On Mar. 4, 1999, AK Governor Tony Knowles announced
> that AK intended to sue the federal government to allow commercial and
> subsistence fishing within Glacier National Park to continue. [Anchorage
> Daily News, MSNBC]
> ESA Petition for Puget Sound Fish.  In late February 1999, NMFS received a
> petition to list as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species
> Act 18 species/populations of marine fishes in Puget Sound and to
> designate critical habitat for each.  Petitioned species include Pacific
> herring, Pacific cod, walleye pollock, Pacific hake, and rockfishes.
> [personal communication]
> Sea Turtle - Longline Lawsuit.  On Feb. 24, 1999, the Center for Marine
> Conservation and the Sea Turtle Restoration Network filed a lawsuit
> against NMFS in federal district court (Hawaii), seeking to stop sea
> turtle mortality attributed to incidental bycatch in a 110-vessel
> tuna/swordfish longline fishery operating north of Hawaii.  The lawsuit
> alleges NMFS has violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to take
> action to conserve leatherback, olive ridley, and loggerhead sea turtles.
> Furthermore, the lawsuit seeks to compel NMFS to prepare a biological
> opinion and an environmental impact statement analyzing the fishery?s
> impact on sea turtles. [Center for Marine Conservation press release,
> Assoc Press, Environmental News Network]
> NC Herring Quota.  On Feb. 24, 1999, the NC Marine Fisheries Commission
> was scheduled to decide whether to reduce the 1999 river herring harvest
> from 400,000 pounds to 250,000 pounds, after hearing from regional
> advisory committees.  Opinions vary on whether river herring populations
> have declined significantly. [Raleigh News & Observer]
> NC Blue Crab Management.  On Feb. 24, 1999, the NC Marine Fisheries
> Commission selected 2 options that would establish a limited entry system
> and 2 options that would allow relatively unlimited entry to send to
> public hearings for future NC blue crab management. {{A series of public
> hearings on effort management proposals for the blue crab fishery is
> scheduled for Mar. 22-24, 1999, in a variety of coastal NC
> locations.}}[Carteret News-Times]
> Vibrio vulnificus Lawsuit.  On Feb. 24, 1999, LA District Court Judge Kay
> Bates ruled that state law gives the Dept. of Health and Hospitals wide
> discretion and refused to force LA to require that all raw oysters undergo
> treatment to kill V. vulnificus. [The Advocate (Baton Rouge), Biloxi Sun
> Herald]
> New England Scallop Fishery.  On Feb. 23, 1999, Secretary of Commerce
> William Daley directed NMFS to assist the New England Fishery Management
> Council in developing a plan to open portions of Closed Area II on Georges
> Bank to scalloping by June 15, 1999.  Secretary Daley also reported the
> Clinton Administration was proposing a $40 million vessel buyout program
> to remove 50-60 vessels from the 170-vessel scallop fleet.
> Environmentalists, however, are seeking a meeting with Secretary Daley and
> would like a gradual re-opening of closed areas and are especially
> concerned that a June 15 opening would damage ocean bottom habitat during
> cod spawning season.  The Council, meeting in New London, CT, was likely
> to discuss scallop restrictions on Feb. 25, 1999.  On Mar. 1, 1999,
> scalloper days-at-sea fishing restrictions will be reduced from 142 days
> annually to 120 days. [Boston Herald, Assoc Press]
> Parliament Protest Over Fish Quotas.  On Feb. 23, 1999, more than 2,000
> fishery and fish processing workers, members of the Food and Allied
> Workers Union, were scheduled to march on the South African Parliament,
> protesting the month-long closure of a commercial rock lobster fishery
> after established quota holders went to court to challenge the
> government?s plan to grant additional quota to new fishing concerns.  The
> Directorate of Sea Fisheries also has halted issuance of quotas for hake,
> pilchard, and anchovy until the court challenge is resolved. [Panafrica
> News Agency]
> VA Marine Resources Commission.  On Feb. 23, 1999, the VA Marine Resources
> Commission approved closed seasons for flounder sport fishing ? July
> 25-31, 1999 and Jan. 1-Feb. 29, 2000 ? and raising the minimum size of
> fish retained to reduce harvest by 40%.  The harvest reduction was made
> necessary after anglers exceeded their 7.41 million pound quota in 1998 by
> catching 12.5 million pounds.  In other action, the Commission approved
> requests, many under hardship provisions, from 90 watermen to fish a total
> of 10,800 additional crab pots this spring, raising concerns by some for
> increased harvest pressure on blue crabs.  The Commission also placed a
> 38-day (May 1 through June 7) moratorium on harvesting horseshoe crabs.
> [The Virginian-Pilot, Richmond Times-Dispatch]
> New Carissa Grounding.  On Feb. 23, 1999, the Coast Guard?s Marine Safety
> Office convened a board of inquiry in Portland to investigate the cause of
> the grounding.  Meanwhile, the salvage tug Sea Victory was readying for a
> first attempt at pulling the bow section, containing oil, off the beach.
> A total of 80 dead birds have been found so far on nearby beaches.  On
> Feb. 26, 1999, the Sea Victory began towing the bow section seaward across
> nearshore sandbars.  Late on Mar. 2, 1999, the towline between the Sea
> Victory and the bow section of the New Carissa parted, in storm conditions
> about 50 miles west of Coos Bay, OR.  The Unified Command estimated the
> New Carissa bow section would be several miles west of Newport, OR, early
> on Mar. 3, 1999.  On Mar. 3, 1999, the bow section of the New Carissa ran
> aground off the mouth of Alsea Bay, OR.  A small quantity of fuel oil was
> released on impact.  The OR Dept. of Agriculture alerted the public that
> mussel and clam harvesting were not advised on beaches and in bays of Lane
> and Lincoln Counties.  On Mar. 4, 1999, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
> biologists reported collecting 278 oiled shorebirds from beaches near the
> grounding.  OR agriculture officials warned against harvesting mussels and
> clams along 7 miles of beach near Alsea Bay.  On Mar. 8, 1999, a tug
> pulled the bow section of the New Carissa off the beach near Waldport, OR;
> by Mar. 9, it had been towed more than 100 miles off the OR coast.  At
> about 250 miles offshore, a Navy destroyer {{used explosives and 69 shells
> from its 5-inch guns while a submarine blasted it with a Mark 48 torpedo
> to finally sink the bow section.}} A total of 312 dead birds have been
> reported, with more than 100 miles of coast fouled by oil from Coos Bay,
> OR, to Long Beach, WA.  OR officials reopened Yaquina Bay to commercial
> shellfish harvesting and recreational clamming, after no oil was found in
> the Bay. {In early March 1999, OR Governor Kitzhaber asked that a $25
> million bond be posted before Mar. 19 to cover the cost of evaluating
> options for dealing with the New Carissa?s stern section still grounded
> near Coos Bay.}{{On Mar. 18, 1999, total costs related to the New Carissa
> grounding were reported to have reached at least $15.95 million.}}[ABC
> News, Portland Oregonian, Assoc Press, Environment News Service, Seattle
> Times, personal communication, Joint Information Center press release]
> Tag-A-Giant.  In mid-February 1999, the 6-week Tag-A-Giant (TAG) bluefin
> tuna research program concluded after 150 bluefin tuna 300 pounds or
> larger were tagged off the NC coast by a collaborative team from NMFS,
> Stanford Univ., and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  High-technology computer
> devices (archival tags) were placed in 110 of the tagged fish. [Raleigh
> News & Observer]

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