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Subject: CRS: Daily Summary - 12/29/99 - 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:Mon, 3 Jan 2000 11:50:19 -0600

text/plain (426 lines)

NOTE:  The following information is made available to the Fish-Sci
list by the United States Congressional Research Service (CRS), and
was posted by a co-manager of that mailing list.

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 12/29/99

New info and changes since 12/17/99 are bracketed {...}
New info and changes since 12/27/99 are double-bracketed {{...}}


{Boat-Burning Protest.  On Jan. 8, 1999, 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]

{{ICCAT Tuna Enforcement.  On Dec. 17, 1999, Mitsubishi Corp.
distributed a
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]

{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]

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
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
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
8-million 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.
Dec. 15, 1999, the main slick of between 8,000 and 10,000 tons of oil
drifted to within 36 miles of the coast. {As of Dec. 19, 1999, the oil
in numerous small sections about 40 miles off the French coast and
southward.  The tanker's captain is in a Paris jail under investigation
"endangering the life of others and marine pollution."  Oil first hit
on Dec. 25, 1999.  On Dec. 26, 1999, France's Environment Minister
Voynet declared that France's Atlantic coast is facing a significant
ecological catastrophe from oil washing up on beaches and rocky
Thousands of dead birds have been collected.  Eight tugboats have
up about 10% of the spill.} [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. [Augusta Chronicle]

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]

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
take final action on recommendations for the temporary moratorium on
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]

Magnuson Act Legislative Forum.  On the evening of Nov. 30, 1999, the
Women's Aquatic Network and the Marine Fish Conservation Network are
scheduled to host a "1999 Legislative Forum: The State of Our Fisheries"
the Cannon HOB, Washington, DC. [personal communication]

WTO and Fisheries.  On Nov. 29, 1999, the Pacific Coast Federation of
Fisherman's Association and several other groups were scheduled to
sponsor a
workshop "Fishing for Corporate Profit: Fisheries & the WTO * What It
to Fishermen" in Seattle, WA. [personal communication]

Native Fishery Decision.  On Nov. 28, 1999, an agreement that would have
limited Mi'kmaq fishermen to 6 vessels in a 1,700 vessel lobster fishery
along Nova Scotia's south shore was rejected by the chief of Acadia
Nation, saying that the agreement was an unreasonably low limit and they
would fish with 15 vessels.  On Nov. 29, 1999, Dept. of Fisheries and
officers spotted 4 unlicensed Mi'kmaq vessels and issued notices to
in court to 10 Mi'kmaq for fishing without authorization.  On Nov. 30,
the agreement with Acadia First Nation was restored, after an additional
license was granted to the band.  In addition, the Dept. may grant the
an 8thlicense.  On Nov. 30, 1999, eight Mi'kmaq from the Indian Brook
reserve were issued citations for illegal fishing. {{On Dec. 16, 1999,
Commons Fisheries Committee release a report criticizing Dept. of
and Oceans handling of the Native fishery following the Sept. 17 Supreme
Court decision.}} [Calgary Sun, Canadian Press, National Post, Toronto
Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun, Reuters]

Sargassum Fishery.  In late November 1999, NMFS rejected a
recommendation by
the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council that would have terminated
annual 25-ton sargassum harvesting and processing operation.  NMFS
that limited sargassum harvesting would not violate the Council's
management plan for sargassum and that no adverse impact of harvesting
sargassum had been shown. [Carteret County (NC) News-Times]

Dungeness Delay?  In late November 1999, OR fishermen petitioned the OR
Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to delay the opening of the Dungeness
season by as much as 2 weeks, because crab had molted late and would
an inferior product. Although tests by the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
found crab acceptable for harvest, a tenuous gentlemen's agreement among
crabbers has WA, OR, and northern CA crab vessels still in port rather
setting pots for the Dec. 1 opening.  Although Pacific coast crabbers
tentatively decided to postpone setting their gear until Dec. 12, 1999,
individuals along the northern OR and WA coasts started setting pots on
3 and 4.  ODFW officials maintain that the issue was best addressed by
market interactions rather than regulations. [Portland Oregonian, Coos

{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]

Stone Crab Trap Limit.  From Nov. 16-30, 1999, the FL Fish and Wildlife
Commission held a series of 5 public hearings around the state to take
testimony on a proposal to limit the number of traps that each crabber
use as well as require fishermen to register their traps and pay an
tag fee for each trap.  Results of the public hearings were to be
at the Commission's Dec. 8-10, 1999 meeting. [Naples Daily News]

{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.}
[Roanoke Times]

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