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CRS: Daily Summary - 1/7/2000 - Longer Friday Version - Part 1 of 2]


Steve Gutreuter <[log in to unmask]>


Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>


Mon, 10 Jan 2000 11:11:01 -0600





text/plain (1 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. 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 -- 1/7/2000

Eugene H. Buck, Senior Analyst
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Congressional Research Service

New info and changes since 12/28/99 are bracketed {...}


Boat-Burning Protest. On Jan. 8, 2000, inshore fishermen in southern
Thailand plan to burn their own boats in protest over a government
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
Panel of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) is
to meet to review scientific information on the effects of the
shrimp seasonal closure with the state of Texas, to hear a presentation
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
constitutional rule against discrimination and the rule about the right
work. The Minister of Fisheries reportedly indicated the case will
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.
the 6-year program has purchased about 1,300 licenses for a cost of
C$114 million.} {{On Jan. 6, 2000, Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and
officials reported that owners of the Portuguese fishing vessel Calvao,
boarded in late December 1999, will be charged in Portugal with
American plaice on the Grand Banks and misreporting their catch. The
was supposed to be fishing for redfish.}} [Canadian Press]

{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
on Jan. 15, 2000, might be postponed until late April or May 2000, if
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
iced in and inaccessible. Others suggest that postponing the season may
an economically motivated decision, allowing fishermen to catch
cod now and snow crab later in the spring. A decision on this fishery
expected to be made by Jan. 7, 2000.} [Anchorage Daily News]

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

ICCAT Tuna Enforcement. On Dec. 17, 1999, Mitsubishi Corp. distributed
press release announcing that it was ceasing to buy or transport any
caught by 315 flag of convenience tuna fishing vessels identified as not
complying with International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic
Tunas (ICCAT) regulations and reporting requirements. [personal

Damselfish Homing. In the Dec. 16, 1999 issue of Nature, Australian
scientists report the discovery that between 15% and 60% of juvenile
damselfish return the reef where their egg of origin was fertilized.
discovery, if applicable to other species, could have profound effects
fishery management. [The Australian]

Native Fishery Decision. On Dec. 16, 1999, the Commons Fisheries
release a report criticizing Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans handling of
Native fishery following the Sept. 17 Supreme Court decision. [Calgary
Canadian Press, National Post, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver

Victoria Sewage Treatment. In mid-December 1999, the British Columbia
attorney general's office killed a lawsuit by the United Fishermen and
Allied Workers Union and the Sierra Legal Defense Fund, that had sought
prosecution for Victoria-area dumping of untreated sewage into the
Strait of
Juan de Fuca. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

EU Fishery Ministerial Meeting. In mid-December 1999, European Union
fishery ministers are scheduled to meet in Brussels to set fishery
and consider whether to close 20,000 square kilometers of sandeel
grounds annually from April through August off the Scottish coast to
seabird colonies. Anticipation is that quotas may be reduced as much as
in some areas for cod, herring, and mackerel. On Dec. 16 and 17, 1999,
quotas agreed to would reduce cod harvest in the Irish Sea by about 62%,
while whiting and herring catches would be reduced by 40%. In the North
Sea, cod and monkfish harvest would be reduced by about 40%, hake by
whiting by more than 30%, and haddock by more than 13%. The projected
annual loss for British fishermen is more than $140 million. [The
Daily Telegraph, BBC News, Environment News Service]

Red Snapper Management. On Dec. 15, 1999, NMFS announced new interim
management measures for the 2000 Gulf of Mexico red snapper season. The
spring commercial fishing season would be shortened to the first 10
days of each month, beginning Feb. 1. The recreational bag limit would
be 4
fish, with none smaller than 16 inches length. The recreational season
would run from Apr. 21 through Oct. 31. [Gulf of Mexico Fishery
Council press release]

{Illegal Fishing. On Dec. 14 and 27, 1999, Coast Guard personnel
intercepted a Mexican lancha fishing illegally for shark in U.S. waters
TX with gillnets. The TX Dept. of Parks and Wildlife assumed
for prosecution in both cases.} [personal communication]

Greenpeace ITQ Report. On Dec. 14, 1999, Greenpeace announced the
of a report [ ]
the Fish" that criticizes a National Academy of Sciences report to
on individual transferable quotas (ITQs). The Greenpeace report asserts
that ITQs fail 10 tests of acceptability for responsible conservation
management under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. [Greenpeace press release]

Magnuson-Stevens Act Field Hearing. On Dec. 14, 1999, the Senate
Subcommittee on Oceans and Fisheries has scheduled an oversight field
hearing in New Orleans, LA, on reauthorization of the Magnuson- Stevens
Fishery Conservation and Management Act. [personal communication]

Sea Turtle Protection. On Dec. 13, 1999, NMFS published notice of a 30-
additional requirement that shrimp trawlers operating along the northern
Atlantic coast use turtle excluder devices with larger escape openings
(expanded from 35 inches to 71 inches in width) to better protect
leatherback sea turtles. This action was taken after 15 leatherback
carcasses were found along FL beaches. On Dec. 16, 1999, NMFS published
notice of a 30-day closure of the lower half of Pamlico Sound, NC, to
fishermen using large- mesh gillnets to catch flounder. Between Nov. 1,
1999 and Dec. 4, 1999, a total of 74 turtles (39 of which were Kemp's
ridley) stranded and died in Pamlico Sound. [Fed. Register, Assoc Press,
Raleigh News & Observer]

American Seafoods Sale. On Dec. 13, 1999, officials of Aker RGI (Oslo,
Norway) announced the sale of American Seafoods Co., including 7 Bering
factory trawler fishing vessels, for $465 million to a U.S. investor
headed by Centre Partners Management of New York City. In addition, one
two AK companies currently in the Community Development Quota program
take part in the purchase. American Seafoods Co. operates a large fleet
catching Bering Sea pollock and other bottomfish. This sale responds to
American Fisheries Act of 1998 which required that U.S. citizens own at
least 75% of large fishing vessels by October 2001. Aker RGI will
retain up
to a 20% share in American Seafoods. [Anchorage Daily News]

Longline Closures. On Dec. 13, 1999, NMFS announced the issuance of
proposed regulations to close areas of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of
to pelagic longline fishing for vessels fishing with federal permits for
Atlantic highly migratory species from Mar. 1 through Sept. 30 annually.
The intent is to reduce the bycatch of finfish and the incidental catch
turtles, marine mammals, and sea birds. A total of 12 public hearings
this proposal are scheduled between Jan. 4, 2000 and Feb. 9, 2000. [NMFS
notice, Fed. Register]

French Oil Spill. On Dec. 12, 1999, the Maltese-registered oil tanker
Erikabroke in half, spilling as much as 3 million gallons of an
gallon cargo of crude oil about 43 miles off the northwestern coast of
France. Oil was expected to reach the coast in about 2 days. By Dec.
1999, the main slick of between 8,000 and 10,000 tons of oil had drifted
within 36 miles of the coast. As of Dec. 19, 1999, the oil was in
small sections about 40 miles off the French coast and moving southward.
The tanker's captain was held in a Paris jail until Dec. 23, under
investigation for "endangering the life of others and marine pollution."
Oil first hit shore on Dec. 25, 1999. On Dec. 26, 1999, France's
Environment Minister Dominique Voynet declared that France's Atlantic
is facing a significant ecological catastrophe from oil washing up on
beaches and rocky coastline. More than 6,000 dead birds have been
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,
the French food safety agency, Agence Francaise de Securite Sanitaire
Aliments, recommended a ban on the sale of shellfish and seaweed from
coastline most affected by the oil spill as well as a ban on fishing
the shore in the region. Tests were recommended for fish caught at sea
assure they are not contaminated. Oil has come ashore along 250 miles
the coast.}} [Environment News Service, Assoc Press]

Alaska Pollock Quotas. On Dec. 12, 1999, the North Pacific Fishery
Management Council voted to recommend increasing the quota for the year
Bering Sea commercial pollock fishery from 992,000 metric tons to
less than 1.14 million metric tons. The Council recommended that the
of Alaska quota be reduced slightly from 100,920 metric tons to 100,000
metric tons. Due to concerns for Steller sea lions, Greenpeace had
recommended that the Council set a quota about half the size of the
quotas. [Anchorage Daily News]

El Nino. An article in the Dec. 10, 1999 issue of Science relates El
Nino/La Nina cycles of plankton boom and bust to wide fluctuations in
dioxide retention and release from the marine environment. [Assoc Press]

RI Oil Spill Settlement. On Dec. 9, 1999, insurance carriers agreed to
subject to court approval, $10 million to 110 RI lobstermen, fishermen,
fishing-related businesses whose livelihoods were damaged by the January
1996 North Cape barge grounding and heating oil spill in Block Island
near Point Judith. On Dec. 21, 1999, U.S. District Court Judge Ernest
Torres announced approval of the agreement between Eklof Marine Corp.
and RI
lobstermen. On Dec. 22, 1999, a tentative agreement was announced for
environmental damages, including more than $16 million to be spent on
restoring fish stocks and other resources. Between $8 million and $10
million would be spent to purchase 1.24 million female lobsters from
wholesalers to be reintroduced into the fishery with markings making
illegal to land. This agreement must be approved by the court. [Boston
Globe, MSNBC, Assoc Press, NOAA press release]

FPI Bid. On Dec. 8, 1999, a C$142 million bid by Neos Seafoods Inc. to
over the Newfoundland fish processor FPI Ltd. collapsed after the
Newfoundland government refused to lift a 15% ownership restriction on
company. In addition, the union representing workers at FPI voted
overwhelmingly against the deal, and critics argued that the larger
would have controlled the entire shrimp industry. [Canadian Press]

Anchorage Fisheries Center. On Dec. 7, 1999, At-Sea Processors Assoc.
announced that it will relocate from Seattle, WA, to the proposed $23
million fisheries center to be constructed in Anchorage, AK's Ship Creek
development area. The facility may be ready for occupancy in about 2

Illegal Mexican Fishing. On Dec. 7, 1999, Coast Guard small boats from
South Padre Island intercepted 2 Mexican lanchas fishing illegally in
waters off TX. The lanchas with snapper, shark, and longline gear were
turned over to Mexican law enforcement agents for prosecution. On Dec.
1999, the Coast Guard intercepted another Mexican lancha operating in TX
waters just north of the border, finding 5 blacktip sharks and a large
quantity of gillnet. TX Parks and Wildlife will handle any prosecution
this case. [personal communciation]

Invasive Species. On Dec. 7, 1999, the Georgia Ports Authority's 50-
environmental stakeholders group met to consider whether making the
harbor deeper and more accessible to larger ships would substantially
increase any invasive species problem. {On Jan. 1, 2000, CA became the
state to require ships to exchange their ballast water at sea to
the possibility of transporting invasive species to CA ports. This is
result of the CA Legislature enacting AB703.} [Augusta Chronicle, San

Lobster Mortality.On Dec. 7, 1999, CT Governor John Rowland sent a
letter to
Secretary of Commerce William Daley requesting federal disaster aid for
Long Island Sound fishery affected by the lobster die-off. On Dec. 9,
NY Governor George Pataki sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce William
Daley requesting federal disaster aid for the fishery affected by the
lobster die-off. [Assoc Press, Long Island Newsday]

Lobster Trap Limit. On Dec. 6, 1999, NMFS published new regulations
limiting the number of lobster traps that may be fished after May 1,
2000 to
not more than 800 per vessel in federal offshore waters, designating
management areas, and requiring tags be purchased for all lobster traps.
Primary management authority for lobsters is transferred to the Atlantic
States Marine Fisheries Commission to assure that state and federal
regulations are complementary. [Assoc Press, Environment News Service]

National Catch and Release Symposium. On Dec. 5-8, 1999, a National
Symposium on Catch and Release in Marine Recreational Fisheries is
to convene in Virginia Beach, VA. [VA Institute of Marine Science press

New England Groundfish. On Dec. 5, 1999, personnel from the Coast Guard
Cutter Bainbridge Island boarded a vessel fishing illegally in the
Gulf of Maine Closed Area, seized the vessel's catch, and escorted the
vessel to port for NMFS prosecution. [personal communication]

Dungeness Delay? Although Pacific coast crabbers tentatively decided to
postpone setting their gear until Dec. 12, 1999, because crab had molted
late and would produce an inferior product, individuals along the
OR and WA coasts started setting pots on Dec. 3 and 4. ODFW officials
maintain that the issue was best addressed by market interactions rather
than regulations. [Portland Oregonian, Coos Bay World]

CA Rockfish and Abalone. On Dec. 3, 1999, the CA Fish and Game
adopted more stringent rockfish and abalone sportfishing limits in an
attempt to help reverse population declines. These reductions
with commercial fishery restrictions on rockfish harvest recommended
recently by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. [Assoc Press]

Charter Vessel Moratorium. On Dec. 2-3, 1999, the Gulf of Mexico
Management Council's Socioeconomic Panel met in Tampa, FL, to review a
amendment for a temporary moratorium on the issuance of charter
vessel/headboat permits for reef fish and coastal pelagic fish. The
preferred alternative would establish a 3-year moratorium. The Council
accept written comments on the draft amendment through Jan. 3, 2000. At
Dec. 7, 1999 public hearing on this proposal, some charter owners
that as much as 85% of the charter boats doing business from some FL
may not have the required federal licenses. The Council is expected to
final action on recommendations for the temporary moratorium on Jan. 20,
2000. [GMFMC press release, Naples Daily News]

Allowable Fishing Gear. On Dec. 2, 1999, NMFS published a revised list
allowable fisheries and fishing gear. This tool will be used to assess
potential adverse effects of new fishing gear before its use is allowed.
[Fed. Register]

Coral Protection. On Dec. 2, 1999, a FL businessman was sentenced to 18
months in federal prison followed by 3 years of supervised release for
smuggling corals into the United States from the Philippines between
and 1997. This was the first successful felony prosecution for illegal
coral trafficking. [Assoc Press, Fish and Wildlife Service press

Stinson Seafood sale? On Dec. 1, 1999, officials of the Canadian
packer Connors Bros. announced that they had agreed in principle to buy
Stinson Seafood Co. Stinson's operates three ME plants and is reported
be the largest U.S. producer of canned herring products. Connors Bros.
is a
subsidiary of George Weston Ltd. (Toronto). [Assoc Press]

Harmful Algal Bloom Workshop. On Nov. 20, 1999 through Dec. 17, 1999,
Univ. of Southern California Sea Grant Program's College of Exploration
an online workshop "To HAB or HAB Not" focusing on harmful algal blooms
the Pacific region. [personal communication]

Chesapeake Bay. On Nov. 16, 1999, the VA Marine Resources Commission
unanimously to reduce VA's harvest of large striped bass by 8% rather
the 14% ordered by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

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