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Subject: NEWCRS: Summary of new material 3/3/2000
From: Peter Hagen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Fish-Sci-request <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 3 Mar 2000 17:28:40 -0900

text/plain (267 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.


Fishery Disaster Costs.  Prior to a congressional hearing on the Magnuson-
Stevens Act on Mar. 9, 2000, the Marine Fish Conservation Network has
scheduled the release of a region-by-region accounting of federal funds
spent to offset economic hardship resulting from fishery disasters.[Marine
Fish Conservation Network press release]

ICCAT Advisory Committee Meeting.  On Mar. 6-7, 2000, the Advisory
Committee to the U.S. Section to the International Commission for the
Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is scheduled to meet in Silver
Spring, MD.[personal communication]

Italian Driftnets.  On Mar. 6, 2000, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals is
scheduled to hear oral arguments on the lawsuit by the Humane Society of the
United States, challenging President Clinton's decision not to impose
driftnet sanctions on Italy.[personal communication]

Puget Sound Pollution.  On Mar. 1, 2000, the Puget Sound Water Quality
Action Team (a subagency of the WA Governor's Office) released a 16-report
tracking the health of the Puget Sound ecosystem.  The Sound was reported as
improving in control of invasive species, opening of shellfish beds to
harvest, and reducing concentrations of industrial contaminants such as
PCBs.  Continuing problems include high fecal coliform counts in more than
half the Sound's river stations, a doubling of the incidence of liver tumors
in English sole in Elliott Bay, and declining populations of a number of
fish and wildlife species.  A more-detailed version of the report is
scheduled for release in late March 2000.[Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Marine Fish Protection Areas.  On Mar. 1, 2000, officials of Hong Kong's
Agriculture and Fisheries Department announced a government plan to, within
2 years,  place 10% of Hong Kong waters into fish protection areas, where
fishing will be prohibited.  The program also involves placing artificial
reefs in protected waters to increase fish habitat.[South China Morning

Public comment will be
accepted by MMS through Apr. 10, 2000.[Asbury Park Press, Fed. Register]

On Mar. 20, 2000, in San
Antonio, TX, the Reef Fish and Mackerel Management Committees of the GMFMC
will meet jointly to review the proposel from the Ad Hoc Charter
Vessel/Headboat Advisory Panel, with the full GMFMC discussing the proposal
on Mar. 22, 2000.[Assoc Press, GMFMC press release]

Japan-China Fishery Agreement.  On Feb. 27, 2000, Japanese and Chinese
officials signed an agreement making their November 1997 bilateral fishery
agreement for the East China Sea effective in June 2000.  Under the
agreement, a free fisheries zone allow boats of both countries to fish
without prior approval, Japan will allow 600 Chinese fishing vessels
annually to fish in the Japanese EEZ, and China will allow 317 Japanese
fishing vessels annually to fish in the Chinese EEZ.  Implementation of the
agreement was delayed over differences in drawing the zoning line and over
conditions of operations in areas under joint control.[Yomiuri Shimbun]

Saltonstall-Kennedy Grants.  On Feb. 25, 2000, NMFS published a notice of
the FY2001 proposed scope and funding priorities for the Saltonstall-
Kennedy Grant Program.  Public comment is accepted through Mar. 13, 2000.[Fed.

Sea Turtle Protection.  On Feb. 17, 2000, NMFS published a proposed rule
that would require HI-based pelagic longline limited access vessels to use
sea turtle mitigation devices (clippers and dip nets) to free turtles.
Methods are specified for handling, resuscitating, and releasing turtles.[Fed.

Tautog Non-Compliance.  On Feb. 15, 2000, NMFS published a notice of
determination that RI was out of compliance with the Atlantic States Marine
Fisheries Commission's Interstate Fishery Management Plan for tautog.  A
moratorium on tautog harvest will commence on June 15, 2000, unless RI takes
action by June 1, 2000, to come into compliance.[Fed. Register]

On Mar. 1, 2000, the CA Academy
of Sciences announced the beginning of "San Francisco Bay: Y2K" -- a 4-year
effort to comprehensively survey Bay fauna and identify non-native
species.[personal communication, San Francisco Chronicle]

On Mar. 1, 2000,
Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans officials announced that the Canadian federal
government would spend C$160 million over the next 2 years to increase
Native participation in commercial fishing industry.  Of this amount, about
C$29 million would be spent before Mar. 31, 2000, for buying back commercial
licenses for transfer to Native fishermen and for aboriginal
training.[Canadian Press, National Post, Halifax Herald]

On Feb. 15, 2000, NMFS published notice of the delayed
effectiveness of the final rule for spiny dogfish.
On Feb. 29, 2000, the HI state House
Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee approved H.B. 1947, a bill that
would require fishermen to land entire blue shark carcasses if finning was
contemplated.  On Mar. 1, 2000, the Western Pacific Fishery Management
Council voted 7-2 to recommend that NMFS limit the annual blue shark harvest
in Exclusive Economic Zone waters around Pacific islands under U.S.
jurisdiction to 50,000 animals as well as a limit of 1 fish per trip for
other shark species.[ASMFC press release, personal communication, Center
for Marine Conservation press release, Fed. Register, Assoc Press]

On Feb. 29, 2000, NMFS officials
announced that a New Bedford trawler and crew had been issued sanctions
including an agreement to sell the trawler and loss of the right to fish in
federal waters for 4 years for fishing with illegally modified gear in
August 1998.[Boston Globe, Assoc Press, Boston Herald, personal

In late February 2000, the CT congressional delegation was
reported to have asked the Administration for $40 million to $50 million to
provide assistance to lobstermen and fund research.  On Feb. 28, 2000, the
Administration was reported to be asking Congress for $10 million in
assistance for this fishery - $6.6 million for research into causes of the
recent die-off and $3.4 million for economic development initiatives for the
lobster industry.[Assoc Press, Dept. of Commerce press release]


Pacific Salmon Treaty.  On Mar. 2, 2000, British Columbia's Fisheries
Minister Corky Evans announced that the BC government was dropping its
appeal in U.S. federal court in a September 1997 lawsuit challenging U.S.
implementation of the Pacific Salmon Treaty.  BC took this action to signal
an intent to improve cooperation with the United States.[Canadian Press,
Assoc Press]

Theodosia River Dam.  On Feb. 28, 2000, British Columbia officials
announced the conclusion of an agreement with Pacifica Papers Inc. to
demolish a 292-foot long dam across the Theodosia River.  This would be the
first large Canadian dam to be removed, and would benefit coho, pink, and
chum salmon populations entering Georgia Strait.[Environment News Service]

Enloe Dam.  In late February 2000, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
rescinded the license for the Enloe Dam project on the Similkameen River in
Okanogan County, WA, after a challenge from NMFS and imposition of a fish
passage requirement.[Environment News Service]

On Feb. 23, 2000, Presidential
candidate John McCain was reported to have stated in Spokane, WA, that he
would consider dam breaching if scientific evidence indicates it's necessary
to save salmon.  On Feb. 28, 2000, Presidential candidate George W. Bush,
speaking in Pasco, WA, promised to forestall breaching of the 4 lower Snake
River dams.  Radio advertisements supportive of George W. Bush called
breaching "a big mistake."
On Feb. 29, 2000, NM Rep. Tom Udall was
reported to have written a letter to President Clinton, becoming the first
Member of Congress to publically endorse breaching the 4 lower Snake River
dams.[Assoc Press, Portland Oregonian, MSNBC]

In early March 2000, titles to the Elwha and Glines
Canyon dams were transferred from the Fort James Paper Co. And Daishowa
America Inc. to the U.S. National Park Service.  Pending further review, the
dams are being operated by the Bureau of Reclamation for power
production.[Dept. of the Interior press release, Trout Unlimited press
release, Assoc

Critical Habitat Designation.  On Feb. 7, 2000, NMFS officials signed a
final designation of critical habitat for 19 populations of salmon and
steelhead trout in WA, OR, ID, and CA, in compliance with a court-ordered
stay in a lawsuit by the OR Natural Resources Council.  The final rule
designating this habitat was published on Feb. 16, 2000.[personal


GM Salmon.  On Feb. 24, 2000, the Board of Directors of the British
Columbia Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) voted unanimously to strengthen
its policy against use of transgenic or genetically modified (GM) fish in
BC.  On Feb. 25, 2000, officials of New Zealand King Salmon Co., Ltd.
announced that the company had killed all its genetically modified fish and
suspended research after succeeding in introducing an additional growth
hormone gene into Chinook salmon and passing this trait through 3
generations of fish.  Frozen sperm of GM salmon was retained to continue the
program in the future.  The company claimed its GM salmon could grow to 550
pounds.[Assoc Press, BCSFA press release]

Aquaculture Census.  On Feb. 1, 2000, the National Agricultural Statistics
Service (NASS) released results of the nation's first census of aquaculture
[ ].
[ ].
The value of 1998 U.S. aquaculture sales was almost $980 million, with MS
accounting for nearly 30% of the domestic aquaculture production.  Other
states among the top 10 producing states (in order) were AR, FL, ME, AL, WA,
LA, CA, ID, and VA.  Average sales of foodfish producers was about $387,000
per farm.

FWS Budget.  On Mar. 2, 2000, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on
Interior and Related Agencies held a hearing on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service's FY2001 budget request.[personal communication]

Russian Icefishing Emergency.  On Feb. 28, 2000, helicopters rescued as
many as 1,000 Russian icefishermen from an ice floe that had broken loose
the previous day in Lake Ladoga, northeast of St. Petersburg,  in response
to warming weather.  Six people were reported to have drowned.[Reuters]

On Feb. 21, 2000, a marina employee at Lake of the Ozarks, MO,
recognized the threat posed by an arriving cabin cruiser whose hull was
encrusted by thousands of zebra mussels.  The vessel was isolated in dry
dock, prevent a possible massive zebra mussel infestation of MO's inland
lakes.[MO Dept. of Conservation press release, Detroit Free Press]

In late February 2000, Dept. of the
Interior officials delivered requested genetic information on Atlantic
salmon to ME officials for independent analysis.  The State of ME had filed
a lawsuit against the federal government, seeking access to the genetic data
and an extension of the Mar. 15, 2000 deadline for public comment on the
proposed listing of Atlantic salmon under the ESA.[American Lands press
release, Assoc Press]


Mexican Salt Works Project.  On Mar. 2, 2000, Mexican President Ernesto
Zedillo and officials of Mitsubishi Corp. announced that the government of
Mexico and Mitsubishi Corp. would not continue to pursue construction of a
salt works project adjacent to San Ignacio lagoon.[Embassy of Mexico
press release, Reuters, International Fund for Animal Welfare press release]

Whale Research Irregularities?  On Feb. 29, 2000, the Pacific Whale
Foundation is scheduled for arraignment and plea hearing in 2nd Circuit
District Court (Maui) on 91 misdemeanor charges for allegedly conducting
whale research in HI waters before a state permit was issued in February
1998.  The federal government has also charged the foundation with 7 civil
violations under the MMPA and Endangered Species Act.  A hearing on the
federal charges is scheduled for late March 2000.[Maui News]

On Mar. 3, 2000,
Keiko was released from his pen into the larger net-enclosed Klettsvik Bay
[].[Portland Oregonian, Reuters, Ocean Futures
press release]

French and Spanish fishing trawlers pulling massive
pelagic nets after anchovies, hake, herring, and other fish.[BBC News,
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society press release, London Times]

On Mar. 1, 2000, rescue
teams attempted to disentangle a 20-year old male northern right whale found
tangled in fishing gear off Manomet, MA, in Cape Cod Bay.  Initial attempts
were unsuccessful, but the whale appeared to be strong and in good
health.[Assoc Press, Boston Herald]

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