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Subject:

CRS: Daily Summary - 1/21/2000 - 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, 21 Jan 2000 15:25:13 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

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*******
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. If you would rather not
see them in your mailbox you can modify your subscription by sending the
command SET FISH-SCI TOPICS -CRS to [log in to unmask]
*******

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 1/21/2000
(updated
daily)

New info and changes since 1/14/2000 are bracketed {...}
New info and changes since 1/19/2000 are double-bracketed {{...}}


MARINE FISHERIES

Shark Conference. {{On Feb. 14-17, 2000, Ocean Wildlife Campaign, two
foundations, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium are sponsoring an
International
Pelagic Shark Workshop in Pacific Grove, CA [
http://www.wcs.org/pelagicworkshop.html ].}} On Feb. 21-24, 2000, a
coalition of five foundations is sponsoring an international shark
conservation conference in Honolulu, HI [
http://209.133.10.132/sharkcon/ ].
[personal communication]

Fisheries Budget Hearings. On Feb. 17, 2000, the House Resources
Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has
scheduled
an oversight hearing on the Administration's FY2001 budget request for
the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NMFS. [personal communication]

Pelagic Longline Hearings. On Feb. 8, 2000, the House Resources
Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has
scheduled a
hearing on H.R. 3331, H.R. 3390, and H.R. 3516, measures to ban all
pelagic
longline fishing or to prohibit pelagic longline fishing in certain
areas
and buyout pelagic longline fishing vessel permits. On Feb. 23, 2000,
the
House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and
Oceans
has scheduled a field hearing in Fort Lauderdale, FL on these same 3
bills.
[personal communication]

Red Drum Stock Assessment. On Feb. 7-9, 2000, the Gulf of Mexico
Fishery
Management Council's Red Drum Stock Assessment Panel will meet in Miami,
FL,
to re-evaluate NMFS data and analysis of stock assessment and status of
red
drum stocks in the Gulf. [GMFMC press release]

Shrimp Bycatch Reduction. On Feb. 2-10, 2000, the Gulf of Mexico
Fishery
Management Council (GMFMC) has scheduled a series of public workshops to
receive comments on the need for additional bycatch reduction
requirements
for the shrimp fishery south and east of Cape San Blas, FL. [GMFMC press
release]

Fishing Vessel Safety. During the month of February 2000, the U.S.
Coast
Guard will be scheduling a series of public hearings in fishing ports
across
the nation, to determine fishermen's views on proposed amendments to the
Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Act. [Asbury Park Press]

{EFPs and SRPs. In late January 2000, NMFS anticipates publishing a
request
for public comment on how NMFS handles exempted fishing permits (EFPs)
and
scientific research permits (SRPs) for Atlantic highly migratory
species.
ERPs would for used for collecting biological samples by at-sea fishery
observers, providing offloading windows for the Atlantic swordfish
fishery,
and collecting restricted species of sharks for public display. SRPs
would
be used for scientific research.} [personal communication]

Horseshoe Crab Harvest. Jan. 21, 2000, is the deadline for public
comment
on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC's) Public
Information Document concerning the Commission's Draft Addendum I to the
Horseshoe Crab Fishery Management Plan (FMP). This document outlines 13
options for implementing a coastwide landings cap for the commercial
horseshoe crab bait fishery prior to the beginning of the 2000 fishing
season. Public hearings are being held in various states along the
Atlantic
coast. The ASMFC is scheduled to consider which option to adopt at its
Feb.
9, 2000, meeting in Alexandria, VA. [Assoc Press, ASMFC press release]

{{Long Island Sound Lobsters. On Jan. 20, 2000, Univ. of Connecticut
scientists met with Long Island Sound lobstermen to share results of
recent
investigations. The scientists reported finding Paramoeba parasites in
diseased lobster nerve cells, but expressed concern that lobsters may
have
been debilitated by some other factor allowing the Paramoeba parasite to
flourish.}} [Assoc Press]

{New England Groundfish. On Jan. 19, 2000, the New England Fishery
Management Council voted on 4 options for year 2000 groundfish
management in
the Gulf of Maine and on Georges Bank.} {{The Council voted 9-7 to
extend
the closure of Gulf of Maine fishing grounds to 4 consecutive months
(January-April) beginning in 2001 and extend existing no- fishing zones
in
the western Gulf of Maine for another year. In addition, the Council
voted
to close a 6,000 square mile portion of Georges Bank to fishing during
May
to protect spawning cod.}} {NMFS officials reported that 1999 Gulf of
Maine
cod landings are projected to be near the target of 3 million pounds.}
[Assoc Press, Boston Herald]

{{Illegal Shrimping. On Jan. 19, 2000, a Coast Guard Auxiliary flight
videotaped a shrimper illegally fishing in the Oculina Bank Habitat Area
of
Particular Concern, east of Fort Pierce, FL. The shrimper was
intercepted,
and inspectors found the vessel's turtle excluder devices were sewn
shut.
The vessel was escorted to Fort Pierce for NMFS prosecution.}} [personal
communication]

{2000 Restoration Workshop. On Jan. 18-19, 2000, the Exxon Valdez Oil
Spill
Trustee Council held a "2000 Restoration Workshop" in Anchorage, AK, to
discuss research on climatic change and the recovery rate of marine life
supported by oil spill damage compensation funds.} [MSNBC]

Magnuson-Stevens Act Hearings. On Jan. 18, 2000 (Anchorage, AK) and
Jan.
19, 2000 (Seattle, WA), the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans and
Fisheries has scheduled field hearings on reauthorization of the
Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. [personal
communication]

{NJ Fiber Optic Cable. On Jan. 14, 2000, officials of AT&T and Sprint
asked
the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection not to grant a hearing request
from
clam fishermen who are concerned about AT&T's plans to install a $1.5
billion TAT-14 fiber optic cable links from Tuckerton, NJ, to England
and
from Manasquan, NJ, to Denmark. AT&T seeks NJ approval for cable
installation, while fishermen seek deeper burying of cables and removal
of
older, unused cables.} [Assoc Press]

Pacific Groundfish Overcapacity. On Jan. 13-14, 2000, the Pacific
Fishery
Management Council has scheduled a work session in Portland, OR, on
overcapacity in Pacific coast groundfish fisheries and potential ways
the
Council may choose to consider to reduce capacity in these fisheries.
[personal communication]]

Squid Fishery and Seabirds. On Jan. 13, 2000, the CA Dept. of Fish and
Game's Squid Advisory Committee has scheduled a special meeting in Long
Beach to discuss potential squid fishery harm to seabirds in the Channel
Islands. [personal communication]

Spiny Dogfish. On Jan. 11, 2000, NMFS published final regulations to
implement the Spiny Dogfish Fishery Management Plan along the Mid-
Atlantic
and New England coasts. Under these regulations, stringent restrictions
on
commercial fishing aim to stop overfishing and rebuild the dogfish
population. [Center for Marine Conservation press release, Fed.
Register]

Smoked Fish Recall. On Jan. 10, 2000, Food and Drug Administration
officials announced that a NY company, Royal Baltic Ltd., was expanding
a
recall of selected smoked fish (sea bass, trout, turbot, and salmon)
products from 4 states to nationwide. The products are possibly
contaminated with the bacteria Listeria. [Reuters]

Tuna Rebate Modification. On Jan. 10, 2000, Federal Trade Commission
officials announced that Bumble Bee Seafoods Inc. had agreed to modify a
misleading label and coupon offer, wherein a special label on tuna cans
had
promised a 75-cent coupon toward the consumer's next purchase while
details
inside the label required the consumer to buy 5 cans of tuna. Bumble
Bee
has agreed to start a new coupon program. [Assoc Press]

Boat-Burning Protest. On Jan. 8, 2000, inshore fishermen in southern
Thailand plan to burn their own boats in protest over a government
decision
not to curb what they consider to be improper and possibly illegal
night-time anchovy trawling. [Bangkok Post]

Shrimp Closure and Bycatch Meeting. On Jan. 6, 2000, the Shrimp
Advisory
Panel of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) is
scheduled
to meet to review scientific information on the effects of the
cooperative
shrimp seasonal closure with the state of Texas, to hear a presentation
on
that status of shrimp stocks and an overfishing report, and to review a
draft of options for additional measures to reduce bycatch in the shrimp
fishery. [GMFMC press release]

Iceland ITQ Ruling. On Jan. 5, 2000, Iceland's Regional Court of the
Western Fjords found a fishing vessel captain and vessel owner not
guilty of
fishing without owning or leasing quota in January 1999, concluding that
Icelandic laws on individual transferrable quotas (ITQs) violate both
the
constitutional rule against discrimination and the rule about the right
to
work. The Minister of Fisheries reportedly indicated the case will
likely
be appealed to the Supreme Court. [personal communication]

Canadian Groundfish. In early January 2000, the Canadian government
announced the conclusion of a 5th round of buyouts of Newfoundland
groundfish licenses. A total of 120 licenses were purchased from a
total of
600 bids. The total cost of the buyout is about C$13 million.
Altogether,
the 6-year program has purchased about 1,300 licenses for a cost of
around
C$114 million. On Jan. 6, 2000, Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans
officials reported that owners of the Portuguese fishing vessel Calvao,
boarded in late December 1999, will be charged in Portugal with
overfishing
American plaice on the Grand Banks and misreporting their catch. The
Calvao
was supposed to be fishing for redfish. {{In mid-January, 2000,
Canada's
Fisheries Resource Conservation Council recommended a one-third
reduction in
south Newfoundland cod quotas, in the belief that rebuilding, previously
thought to be occurring along the south coast of Newfoundland, is no
longer
apparent. Cod stocks are reported to remain very low. If this advice
is
adopted by the Fisheries Minister, fishermen are projected to lose about
$20
million. The Council also recommended a reduction in the cod quota off
southwestern Nova Scotia.}} [Canadian Press, South China Morning Post]

Bering Sea Snow Crab. In early January 2000, AK Dept. of Fish and Game
managers speculated that the Bering Sea snow crab fishery, scheduled to
open
on Jan. 15, 2000, might be postponed until late April or May 2000, if
ice
extending much farther south than normal makes most of the fishing area
unaccessible. Ice conditions are reported to be the most severe since
January 1975, with the St. Paul Island and harbor (with processing
plants)
iced in and inaccessible. Others suggest that postponing the season may
be
an economically motivated decision, allowing fishermen to catch
high-value
cod now and snow crab later in the spring. A decision on this fishery
is
expected to be made by Jan. 7, 2000. [Anchorage Daily News]

{Pacific Groundfish. On Jan. 4, 2000, NMFS published an emergency rule,
as
recommended by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), reducing
and
restricting the commercial harvest of lingcod (61% reduction), Pacific
ocean
perch (55% reduction), bacaccio (63% reduction), canary rockfish (85%
reduction), cowcod, and 5 other species of Pacific rockfish along the
coasts
of WA, OR, and CA Loss to the fishing industry is estimated to be
between
$3 million and $15 million. The PFMC is required to develop rebuilding
plans for overfished rockfish populations and submit them to NMFS within
1
year.} {{On Jan. 19, 2000, the federal government declared a fishery
disaster for West Coast groundfish, citing direct losses by fishermen as
$11
million.}} [Assoc Press, Fed. Register]

Invasive Species. On Jan. 1, 2000, CA became the first state to require
ships to exchange their ballast water at sea to minimize the possibility
of
transporting invasive species to CA ports. This is the result of the CA
Legislature enacting AB703. [San Jose Mercury]

Oil Spill Compensation. On Dec. 29, 1999, representatives of the
International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage announced
that
Japanese businesses harmed by rumors that crab and shrimp had been
polluted
by a January 1997 Russian tanker spill would receive more than $2.6
million
in compensation. More payments are anticipated. [Yomiuri Shimbun]

Illegal Fishing. On Dec. 27, 1999, Coast Guard personnel intercepted a
Mexican lancha fishing illegally for shark in U.S. waters off TX with
gillnets. The TX Dept. of Parks and Wildlife assumed responsibility for
prosecution. [personal communication]

French Oil Spill. Oil spilled when the Maltese-registered oil tanker
Erikabroke in half about 43 miles off the northwestern coast of France
first
hit shore on Dec. 25, 1999. On Dec. 26, 1999, France's Environment
Minister
Dominique Voynet declared that France's Atlantic coast is facing a
significant ecological catastrophe from oil washing up on beaches and
rocky
coastline. More than 6,000 dead birds have been collected from
beaches. A
grey seal population may also be threatened. Eight tugboats have
vacuumed
up about 10% of the spill. By Jan. 3, 2000, an estimated 18,000
seabirds
had been killed by the spill. On Jan. 6, 2000, the French food safety
agency, Agence Francaise de Securite Sanitaire des Aliments, recommended
a
ban on the sale of shellfish and seaweed from the coastline most
affected by
the oil spill as well as a ban on fishing from the shore in the region.
Tests were recommended for fish caught at sea to assure they are not
contaminated. Oil has come ashore along 250 miles of the coast.
[Environment News Service, Assoc Press]

{Shrimp Embargo. On Dec. 22, 1999, the United States and Malaysia
informed
the World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body that they had
reached
an understanding on possible proceedings relative to U.S. shrimp import
sanctions and sea turtle protection certification.} [personal
communication]

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