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Subject: CRS Summary - Part 1/3
From: Aldo-Pier Solari <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 15 Apr 1997 19:33:50 GMT

text/plain (309 lines)

Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 08:38:27 -0400
From: Kate Wing <[log in to unmask]>

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 4/11/97
(available  via  e-mail;  updated  daily)  Congressional Research

New info and changes since 4/4/97 are bracketed {...}.  New  info
and changes since 4/10/97 are in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Marine Fisheries

ICCAT  Advisory  Meeting.   On  Apr.   22-24,  1997, the advisory
committee to the  U.S.   section  to the International Convention
for the Conservation of  Atlantic  Tunas  (ICCAT)  will  meet  in
Silver  Spring,  MD,  to discuss 1996 ICCAT accomplishments, 1997
management and research activities,  trade and compliance issues,
implementation  of  Sustainable  Fisheries  Act  provisions,  and
results of species working group meetings.  [Federal Register]



{Glacier  Bay  Commercial Fishing.  On Apr.  8, 1997, Glacier Bay
National Park (AK) officials  announced that proposed regulations
would be published  in  late  April  1997  gradually  eliminating
commercial  fishing in wilderness waters of the Park.  Commercial
fishing would still be allowed  in  outer coastal areas.  A March
1997 federal appeal court decision upheld a  lower  court  ruling
that  federal  law  prohibits  commercial  fishing  in the park's
wilderness waters.} [Assoc Press]

{AK Seafood Tax Lawsuit.  On  Apr.  8, 1997, the American Factory
Trawler Assoc.  (AFTA) announced that it was  dropping  its  1994
lawsuit  in  AK  Superior  Court challenging Alaska's 3.3% tax on
at-sea processors of  seafood  AS  UNCONSTITUTIONAL, after the AK
Legislature changed the tax law in 1996 to address  most  of  the
perceived  inequities that concerned the AFTA.  The AFTA decision
will release MORE THAN $13 million  in taxes held in escrow while
the case was pending.} [Assoc Press, Reuters]

{Beach Renourishment and Sea Turtles.  On  Apr.   7,  1997,  NMFS
halted  hopper  dredging  in  FL, SC, and NC after U.S.  Corps of
Engineers projects to replenish beach sand killed 19 sea turtles.
NMFS allowed a $54 million Myrtle Beach, SC, project to resume on
Apr.  8 after  the  hopper  dredge  was  replaced  by a hydraulic
dredge.  NMFS had agreed that the Corps could kill as many as  20
turtles   during   these   projects;   the  Corps  is  seeking  a
modification to allow as many as 30 turtles to be killed.} [Assoc

{Humane Society  TEDs  Survey.   On  Apr.   7,  1997,  the Humane
Society of the United States reported that a  July-November  1996
undercover  survey of 32 shrimp trawlers in ports along the Texas
coast found 13 with TEDs  tied  shut.  Shrimpers were reported to
have admitted tracking the Coast Guard by radio to determine when
enforcement could be anticipated.  The Humane  Society  submitted
names  and  vessel  identifications  of  alleged TED violators to
federal officials.} [Assoc Press]

NCRI Research Proposals.   Apr.   7,  1997  was  the deadline for
preliminary proposals for new project  funding  by  the  National
Coastal  Resources  Research  and Development Institute (NCRI) in
Portland, OR,  in  4  program  areas:  aquaculture and fisheries,
coastal   business   and    community    economic    development,
environmental  and  marine technology, and seafood technology and
production.   Projects  can  be  anywhere  in  the  coastal U.S.,
including the Great Lakes and U.S.  Territories.   [NCRI  program

{Sea  Turtle  Protection.   On  Apr.   7,  1997,  Fiji banned the
killing and molesting  of  sea  turtles  for  3 years, except for
traditional ceremonial purposes.} [Assoc Press]

{1996 U.S.  Seafood Trade.  In  early  April  1997,  the  Seafood
Market  Analyst  reported  that  the  value of 1996 U.S.  seafood
imports decreased more than  1%  from  the  previous year to $6.6
billion, while U.S.  seafood export value decreased nearly 8%  to
$2.9  billion.  This resulted in a U.S.  seafood trade deficit of
about $3.7 billion,  an  increase  of  about  3% from 1995.  U.S.
imports declined for shrimp and prawns (-5%); and  increased  for
farmed Atlantic salmon (+84% for fresh fillets and +10% for fresh
whole),  tilapia  (+41%  for  fresh  fillets  and +27% for frozen
whole), mussels (+34%), and  oysters  (+8%).  Although the volume
of U.S.  seafood exports increased  nearly  5%  in  1996,  salmon
contributed  significantly  to  the decline in export value.  The
leading U.S.   import  was  shrimp  at  $2.5  billion,  while the
leading export was  salmon  at  $620  million.}  [Seafood  Market
Analyst, Assoc Press]

{Combined  HMS Plan.  On Apr.  4, 1997, NMFS published a proposal
in the Federal Register  soliciting  comments  on the benefits of
preparing one highly migratory species (HMS)  fishery  management
plan  with  one  advisory  panel.  Such a consolidated plan would
combine management  of  Atlantic  sharks,  swordfish,  and tunas.
Public comment will be accepted through May 15,  1997.}  [Federal

{Summer Flounder Lawsuit.  On Apr.  4, 1997, a group representing
NC  commercial  fishermen  filed  suit  in  U.S.   District Court
(Norfolk,  VA)  against  the  federal  government,  claiming NMFS
summer  flounder  quotas  determinations   were   arbitrary   and
capricious.   The  group  claims  that NC is the only state where
NMFS uses the state catch  in calculating the federal quota.  The
group is asking the Court to order the Secretary of Commerce  not
to  reduce  annual  quotas  to adjust for catch overages from the
previous year.} [Assoc Press]

Seagrass Restoration Agreement.  On Apr.  4, 1997, city officials
of  Tampa,  St.   Petersburg,   and  Clearwater,  FL,  will  join
officials from Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Manatee counties in  a
ceremony  at  the  Florida  Aquarium  to announce an agreement to
restore 12,000 acres of seagrass and to protect 25,000 additional
acres of seagrass habitat.  This  agreement  is part of the Tampa
Bay National Estuary Program.  [Assoc Press]

{Kodiak Seafood Plant Fire.  On Apr.  3-4, 1997, a Tyson  Seafood
Group  Inc.   seafood plant and adjacent permanently docked cargo
ship were significantly damaged  by  fire  in Kodiak, AK.  At its
peak processing, about 750 employees work at the Tyson  facility.
Damage  is  likely  in  the  million  dollar  range.  Alternative
markets are being sought  for  the  catch  of the 15 vessels that
previously supplied the plant with cod, pollock,  and  flatfish.}
[Assoc Press]

{Korean  Oil  Spill.   On Apr.  3, 1997, the oil carrier Osong-Ho
sank  off  Tongyong,  South   Kyongsang  Province,  South  Korea,
spilling about 189 tons of bunker C oil  from  one  tank.   Seven
other  tanks  appear  not to have leaked.  There was no immediate
damage to fish farms along  the coast.} [Seoul Yonhap via Foreign
Broadcast Information Service]

Shrimp Embargo.  On Apr.  3, 1997, the Office of the U.S.   Trade
Representative  will hold a briefing at its Washington, DC office
on the  status  of  World  Trade  Organization dispute settlement
proceedings regarding U.S.  sanctions on shrimp for the  purposes
of sea turtle protection.  [personal communication]

Gloucester  Herring  Plant?   During  April 1997, state and local
officials  will  review   a   proposal   by   the  Dutch  fishing
conglomerate Parevliet & Van Der Plas to construct and operate  a
50,000  sq.   foot processing plant for herring and some mackerel
at a state-managed pier in  Gloucester, MA.  About 20,000 tons of
herring would be packed, frozen, and shipped to European  markets
annually, providing an estimated $10 million in economic benefits
to  the  community.   The  Dutch  company is offering to fund the
conversion of  Gloucester  vessels  for  herring fishing.  [Assoc

Japan-PRC Fishery  Treaty.   On  Mar.   29,  1997,  Japanese  and
Chinese  officials  agreed to sign a new fisheries treaty without
defining  their  respective  200-mile   economic  zones,  due  to
territorial disputes.  Talks on remaining issues will  {begin  on
Apr.   21,  1997,  in  Tokyo.} [Tokyo Kyodo via Foreign Broadcast
Information Service, Dow Jones News]

IFQ Advisory Panel.  On  Mar.   28,  1997, NMFS announced that it
was extending the deadline  for  nominations  for  two  15-member
advisory  panels  on  individual fishing quotas (IFQs) until Apr.
14, 1997.  The two panels,  one  for East Coast fisheries and one
for West Coast fisheries, will advise NMFS on the future  use  of
IFQs  as  a management tool and provide input for an IFQ study by
the National Research  Council  as  directed  by Congress.  [NOAA
press release]

Saltwater Fish Consumption  Advisory.   On  Mar.   28,  1997,  ME
Bureau  of  Health  officials,  for  the  first time, recommended
limits  on  consumption  of  bluefish  and  striped  bass  due to
concerns about mercury contamination.  [Assoc Press]

{EU Fishery Aid Guidelines.  On  March  27,  1997,  the  European
Commission  published new guidelines for examining aid granted by
Member  States  for  all  fisheries  (except  sport  fishing) and
aquaculture to assure that such aid is justified  in  respect  to
the  basic  objectives  of  the Common Fisheries Policy.} [Agence
Europe via Reuters]

Gulf Drug Smuggling.  On  Mar.   27,  1997, U.S.  and Texas state
officials  announced  a  new  anti-drug  effort,  Operation  Gulf
Shield, focusing on small, swift fishing vessels (shark boats  or
lanchas)  smuggling  drugs  across  the  Gulf of Mexico to remote
Texas beaches.  About 700 federal, state, and local employees are
scheduled to participate in this effort.  [Assoc Press]

Coral.  On Mar.  26,  1997,  the  World  Wildlife Fund for Nature
(WWF) released a report on coral reefs citing the  potential  for
coral extinction due to their vulnerability to harmful effects of
global warming.  The report indicates 60 major instances of coral
bleaching  occurred  between  1979  and  1990, compared to only 3
recorded cases in the previous 103 years.  In early April 1997, a
controversial $6.5 million  beach  restoration project will begin
in Miami Beach, FL, where the Army Corps of Engineers  will  mine
sand  from  an offshore area between two coral communities.  This
sand will be pumped  through  an underwater pipeline to replenish
eroded beaches in front of hotels and condos.  Opponents  of  the
project  fought  it  for  three  years  in federal court, fearing
damage to corals.  [Assoc Press, Reuters, Dow Jones News]

Louisiana Gillnets.  On Mar.  26, 1997, the LA Seafood Management
Council and LA  Chefs  for  LA  Seafood  released  a survey of LA
resident attitudes on gillnet use by commercial fishermen.  Sport
fishing groups attacked the validity of the survey, charging that
biased  wording  of  questions  influenced  the  survey  outcome.
[Assoc Press]

{European Green Crabs Reach OR.  In late March  1997,  the  first
European  green  crabs  were  discovered  near  the Coos Bay, OR,
estuary.  This species has  steadily  migrated northward from San
Francisco Bay, where it was first detected  in  1989.   Residents
fear damage to oysters, clams, mussels, and native crab species.}
[Assoc Press]

Roe  Herring  Controversy.  In late March 1997, controversy arose
over management  of  a  British  Columbia  commercial roe herring
seine fishery by the Canadian  Dept.   of  Fisheries  and  Oceans
(DFO)  after  harvest in aboriginal Heiltsuk Nation territory was
permitted to  exceed  an  agreed-upon  quota  by  more than 100%.
Heiltsuk  Nation  officials  charged  that  DFO  management   was
unacceptable  in  condoning excessive catches by the seine fleet.
[Dow Jones News]

EU Fleet Restructuring.  In  late  March 1997, the EU's Committee
of Permanent Representatives discussed a new draft compromise  on
restructuring  EU  fishing  fleets.  The compromise proposes that
catches of endangered fish stocks be reduced by 30% while catches
of  overfished  stocks  be  reduced  by  20%  during  the  period
1997-1999.  Member states could  choose to achieve this reduction
through  fishing  vessel  capacity  reduction,  reduced   fishing
activity,  or  a  combination  of both.  The Council of Fisheries
Ministers  will  discuss  this  compromise  on  Apr.   14,  1997.
[Agence Europe via Reuters]

Southern Hemisphere Bluefin Tuna.  In late March 1997, Greenpeace
activists  announced  the  launching  of  a  campaign  to suspend
fishing for southern hemisphere bluefin tuna, claiming the  stock
is  only about 2% of its former abundance in the 1960s.  Although
a Commission for the  Conservation  of Southern Bluefin Tuna sets
annual catch quotas, non-member  nations  do  not  abide  by  the
quotas.  [Reuters]

New England Groundfish.  In late March 1997, NMFS identified 3 ME
and 5 MA fishing vessels that will be purchased as part of NMFS's
$23  million  buyback of New England fishing vessels.  As many as
70 other vessels will be identified  for purchase in the next few
weeks.  On Apr.  3, 1997, U.S.  Administrative Law Judge Peter A.
Fitzpatrick fined two Cape Cod, MA,  fishermen  and  corporations
owned by them a record $4.33 million for more than 300 violations
of  federal  fishery laws and regulations for New England scallop
and groundfish fisheries  between  March  1994 and February 1995.
In addition, the two individuals  were  banned  from  fishing  in
federal waters and had their 5 fishing-vessel and one fish-dealer
permits  permanently  revoked.  Violations included catching more
fish than allowed, spending more  days at sea than allowed, using
too many crew on vessels, buying or selling illegal  fish,  using
illegal  gear,  and  making  false  statements to federal agents.
Twelve captains who worked for  the two fishermen also paid fines
or were grounded for significant time periods.  The  2  fishermen
indicate  they  will  appeal  the fine.  [Assoc Press, NOAA press

Sharks.  On Mar.  21-Apr.  28,  1997,  NMFS will conduct a series
of 12 public hearings along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts  and  in
the  Caribbean  on  an  NMFS  proposal  (Dec.  27.  1996, Federal
Register, p. 68202) to create  a two-tiered (direct or incidental
catch) permit and limited access system for 39 species of  sharks
in  the  Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean.  NMFS
determined  this  fishery  to  be  severely  overcapitalized  and
proposes to eliminate  more  than  2,300  of  about 2,700 current
permits in this fishery; 134 fishermen  regularly  fish  for  and
land  sharks.   On  Mar.   25,  1997,  the  VA  Marine  Resources
Commission  received  proposals  to  restrict  shark fisheries in
Chesapeake Bay waters.  A  public  hearing  will  be held on Apr.
22, 1997, on the proposals for a minimum length  and  closure  of
state waters to shark fishing after a harvest quota is taken.  On
Apr.   2,  1997,  NMFS filed a final rule, effective immediately,
reducing the annual commercial quota  for large coastal sharks in
the Atlantic by 50% (from  2,570  metric  tons  to  1,285  metric
tons),  establishing  a commercial quota of 1,760 metric tons for
small coastal sharks,  reducing  the  recreational bag limits for
all Atlantic sharks to 2 sharks per vessel per trip,  prohibiting
all  directed fishing for 5 shark species (whale, basking, white,
sand tiger, and  bigeye  sand  tiger),  establishing  a catch and
release only recreational fishery for white  sharks,  prohibiting
filleting  of  sharks  at  sea,  and  requiring  species-specific
identification  of  all  sharks landed.  [CMC press release, NOAA
press  releases,  personal  communication,  Assoc  Press, Federal

Seafood Industry's Principles for Responsible Fisheries.  On Mar.
20, 1997, a coalition of U.S.  seafood associations and companies
announced the development of a voluntary set of  "principles  for
responsible  fisheries"  to  guide  the U.S.  seafood industry in
responsible resource use.  The principles seek to improve the way
seafood  is  caught,   processed,   and  distributed;  to  ensure
environmentally sound use of  seafood  resources;  and  to  offer
guidance  from  the  fishing  industry  to  government  managers.
Elements  of  the  fishing industry adopting these principles are
anticipated to enter cooperative efforts with government managers
to improve  resource  use  and  management.   [National Fisheries
Institute press release]
end Part 1/3

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