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Subject: NEWCRS: Summary new items - 3/24/2000
From: Steve Gutreuter <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 24 Mar 2000 14:30:29 -0600

text/plain (289 lines)

Note to list members: These reports from the U.S. Congressional
Research Service, are generally posted once a week and are made
available by way of friendly staff in congress.

This posting consists of new material from these summaries, obtained
by extracting only the material in {curly brackets}. In some cases,
when new material is inserted into an existing paragraph, the new
material may not make much sense by itself. Hint: if the lines in a
paragraph are very uneven, it is probably because the new material
was added to an existing paragraph, and the old stuff was cut out.


Striped Bass Hearing.  On April 28, 2000, the House Resources
on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has scheduled an
field hearing in Toms River, NJ, on reauthorization of the Atlantic
Bass Conservation Act. [personal communication]

Bering Sea Maritime Boundary.  On Mar. 29-30, 2000, U.S. and Russian
officials are scheduled to hold an Inter-governmental Consultative
meeting in Moscow, during which better means to prevent Russian fishing
vessel incursions in to U.S. waters along the Maritime Boundary in the
Bering Sea will be discussed. [personal communication]

Adak Small Vessel Fishery?  In late-March 2000, the AK Board of
is scheduled to consider a request to close state inshore waters in the
vicinity of Adak Island to fishing vessels longer than 60 feet in length
foster development of a small-vessel fishery and a community to replace
abandoned Adak Naval Air Station.  Large trawler operators oppose this
closure as a speculative move that deprives them of access to prime
waters. [Anchorage Daily News]

Horseshoe Crabs.  On Mar. 22, 2000, a biomedical company (Associates of
Cape Cod) and a MA horseshoe crab harvester filed suit in U.S. District
Court against the Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, and U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, challenging a ban on horseshoe crab
harvesting at
Cape Cod National Seashore and Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.  The
lawsuit is based on the absence of a distinction between those who take
horseshoe crabs for medical purposes without harming them and those who
horseshoe crabs for use as bait. [Boston Globe, Assoc Press]

Swordfish.  On Mar. 22, 2000, NMFS officials announced the swordfish
directed category quota for the Dec. 1, 1999 through May 31, 2000
fishing period was being increased from 1,016.6 metric tons dressed
(mt dw) to 1,213.7 mt dw, to account for underharvest during the
fishing year.  With the increased quota, NMFS projects that no closure
the fishery will be necessary prior to May 31, 2000. [personal

Seabird Bycatch.  On Mar. 17, 2000, officials of the U.S. Fish and
Service (FWS) and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission signed
agreement providing $400,000 to assist longline fishing vessels install
seabird deterrent devices to reduce seabird, especially endangered
short-tailed albatross,  mortality in the Bering Sea and North Pacific
the Alaskan coast.  The longline industry will contribute more than
in cost-sharing toward this effort, resulting in installation of
devices on 36 large freezer longline vessels as well as on half of about
2,000 smaller longline vessels. [FWS press release]

Tonga Tuna.  On Mar. 17, 2000, the Pacific island nation of Tonga
that it would open its Exclusive Economic Zone for the first time to a
limited number of foreign tuna fishermen.  First to take advantage of
opportunity was a Fiji-based Korean company.  Permits for Chinese,
and Italian operations were rejected due to a fear of possible damage by
large trawlers. [Assoc Press]

Iceland ITQ Case.  On Mar. 15, 2000, the full 7-judge panel of Iceland's
Supreme Court heard 5 hours of oral arguments in the Vatneyri case
the lower court ruled that Iceland's individual transferable quota (ITQ)
system fails to provide equal access to a public resource.  A ruling is
expected within 4 weeks. [Iceland Review, personal communication]

On Mar. 14-16, 2000, the
Mid-Atlantic Council approved a restrictive limit of 2.9 million pounds
pounds per trip) while the New England Council, on Mar. 22, 2000,
approved a
limit of 12 million to 15 million pounds (7,000 pounds per trip).
Daley will decided how to treat the differing recommendations. [Assoc

On Mar. 23, 2000,
Canadian federal fisheries officers seized a scallop dragger on Browns
attempting to exercise Native fishing rights.  Of the 19 people onboard,
was Native. [Canadian Press, National Post, Halifax Herald]

On Mar. 22, 2000,
NMFS announced that the year 2000's first semiannual commercial fishing
season for large coastal sharks in the western Atlantic would close Mar.
2000, to assure that the quota of 642.5 metric tons was not exceeded.
April 13, 2000, the House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries
Wildlife, and Oceans has scheduled a hearing on H.R. 3535, proposing to
shark finning in the Pacific. [personal communication, Center for Marine
Conservation press release, Fed. Register, Assoc Press]

The new proposal would create 2 classes of permits for
charterboats, with Class II permits being non-transferable.  In
permits would be renewed only if holders could prove they met certain
requirements annually. [Assoc Press, GMFMC press release]


Salmon Field Hearing.  On April 27, 2000, the House Resources Committee
has scheduled an oversight field hearing in Pasco, WA, on hydropower,
management, and salmon recovery issues on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
[personal communication]

WTO Dispute Regarding Canadian Salmon.  On Mar. 21, 2000, Australia's
Minister of Trade Mark Vaile announced that Australia would not appeal a
World Trade Organization (WTO) decision allowing Canada to export
salmon to Australia since strict quarantine provisions would be
to these imports.  However, Tasmanian state officials remain adamant
defying the WTO by retaining a ban on importing Canadian salmon, opening
possibility that WTO could permit Canada to impose retaliatory sanctions
Australian imports.  The Australian Workers Union called for rolling
bans on
the handling of Canadian products. [Australian Assoc Press, Australian
Broadcasting Company]

NAFTA Complaint.  On Mar. 15, 2000, a coalition of 5 environmental
filed a complaint with the North American Free Trade Agreement's
Commission for Environmental Cooperation, charging Canada with failing
enforce its laws to adequately protect fish habitat from logging.
Particular concern was expressed with British Columbia's logging
that allow timber companies to clearcut areas adjacent to streams and
logs through streambeds. [Natural Resources Defense Council press

In late March 2000, Corps of
Engineers officials reported that, at recent hearings in 4 Pacific
states, supporters of dam breaching outnumbered opponents by  a ratio of
3-to-1.  Additional public comment is being accepted by the Corps
Mar. 31, 2000. [Assoc Press, Portland Oregonian, MSNBC, American Rivers
press release]

Organic Handling and Production.  Between Apr. 10 and May 3, 2000, the
Dept. of Agriculture has scheduled 3 public meetings in AL, AK, and RI
discuss production and handling of aquatic animals to be labeled as
"organic."  This is part of an effort to establish national standards
governing the marketing of products as organically produced. [USDA press

New Carissa Lawsuit.  In mid-March 2000, Clausen Oyster Co. filed a $3
million lawsuit in U.S. District Court (Eugene, OR) against the New
its Japanese owners, its captain, and a Portland salvage operator,
that fuel oil spilled when the ship ran aground in Coo Bay, OR, in
1999, destroyed half of Clausen's 700 acres of oysters.  Three claims
(together totaling almost $325,000) have been settled with other Coos
oyster growers.  Representatives of the ship owners claim the observed
oyster mortality was due to natural causes. [Assoc Press]



MMPA Hearing.  On April 6, 2000, the House Resources Subcommittee on
Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has scheduled an oversight
hearing on the Marine Mammal Protection Act. [personal communication]

HABs and Marine Mammals.  On Mar. 29, 2000, NMFS and National Ocean
Service staff are scheduled to brief congressional staff in Dirksen
Office Bldg., Washington, DC, on the existing collaborative response
to respond to harmful algal blooms (HABs) and marine mammal mortality
problems associated with these HABs. [personal communication]

Canadian Sealing.  In late March 2000, the Canadian harp seal hunt off
Prince Edward Island was scheduled to begin.  However, seals are scarce
not concentrated due to the lack of pack ice in the Gulf of St.
[Canadian Press]

On Mar. 23, 2000, the Japan Whaling
Association and Japanese government officials questioned the validity of
IFAW survey, citing previous surveys taken in 1992-1995 indicating
public support in Japan for whaling. [IFAW press release, Japan Whaling
Association press release, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and
(Japan) press release]

Bahamas Whale/Dolphin Standings. On Mar. 15, 2000, seventeen whales and
dolphins of at least four species in three families (dense-beaked
goose-beaked whales, spotted dolphin, minke whales, rorqual) beached and
died in various locations around the Bahamas, coincidental to U.S. Navy
antisubmarine exercises off the northern Bahamas on Mar. 15.  The Navy
denies any evidence linking the unusual whale beachings and the Naval
exercises, which did not involve low-frequency active sonar.  However,
biologists consider the large number of coincident strandings as well as
involvement of several species highly unusual and probably related in
way. [Assoc Press, Washington Post, personal communication]

On Mar. 22, 2000,
Mexican officials announced that the San Ignacio lagoon area would be
preserved and developed in a manner beneficial to local residents,
emphasizing eco-tourism and nature-friendly businesses. [Embassy of
press release, Reuters, International Fund for Animal Welfare press
Assoc Press]

Sonar Lawsuit.  On Feb. 29, 2000, a coalition of 10 national and
organizations and Hawai'i County Council member Julie Jacobson filed
suit in
federal court (Honolulu) seeking to halt the U.S. Navy from deploying
Surveillance Towed Array Sonar System (SURTASS) low frequency active
sonar system.  The plaintiffs claim the Navy is violating environmental
by developing this system before completing an analysis of the system's
environmental effects and that the sonar system poses a threat to marine
life and to human swimmers and divers.  The lawsuit also seeks an
to prevent NMFS from processing the Navy's application for a deployment
permit for the system. [Environment News Service]

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