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CRS: Daily Summary - 3/10/2000 - Longer Friday Version - Part 2 of 2


From Matt Huggler by way of Peter Hagen <[log in to unmask]>


Fish-Sci-request <[log in to unmask]>


Fri, 10 Mar 2000 15:12:20 -0900





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]


{Fish-Friendly Turbines? On Mar. 7, 2000, Army Corps of Engineers officials
announced that, upon testing, a new $1.25 million "fish-friendly" turbine at
Bonneville Dam fell somewhat short of anticipated levels of salmon
protection, improving juvenile salmon survival by 2-3%. Nine additional
"fish-friendly" turbines are planned for Bonneville Dam.} [Portland

Elwha River Dams. 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

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rescinded the license for the Enloe Dam project on the Similkameen River in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]

Salmon Recovery Critique. On Feb. 24, 2000, two retired high-ranking
federal officials (Fish and Wildlife Service and Forest Service) are
scheduled to speak at a press breakfast at American Rivers, Washington, DC,
to give an "insider's" perspective on why past efforts to save salmon have
failed. [American Rivers press release]

Bristol Bay Salmon Lawsuit. On Feb. 24, 2000, AK fishermen plan to file an
appeal of an earlier Superior Court decision with the AK Supreme Court,
concerning a lawsuit over price-fixing claims against Japanese salmon
importers by more than 5,000 commercial fishermen. [Anchorage Daily News]

Klamath Fishery. On Feb. 23-25, 2000 (Brookings, OR) and Mar. 5, 2000
(Sacramento, CA), the Klamath Fishery Management Council is scheduled to
meet to develop recommendations for salmon harvest management for year 2000.
Recommendations will be forwarded to the Pacific Fishery Management Council.
[U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service press release]

Water Flow Lawsuit. On Feb. 22, 2000, a coalition of environmental and
commercial fishing interests filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court,
demanding federal agencies to increase water flow in the Snake and Columbia
Rivers to benefit salmon migration. The lawsuit alleges that the Army Corps
of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation have failed to meet minimum flows
necessary for salmon survival set by NMFS. To attain these flows, agencies
would have to use water now allocated to ID farmers for irrigation. [Assoc

AAAS Symposium. On Feb. 21, 2000, a symposium "Scientific Advice for
Endangered Species Recovery" was held at the annual meeting of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC. The
symposium focused on the adequacy of science to address salmon issues.
[Seattle Times]

Salmon Media Briefing. On Feb. 16, 2000, the National Sea Grant College
Program is hosting a 2-hour special media briefing on "Public Choices,
Science, and Salmon: Scientific Efforts to Aid Salmon in the Pacific
Northwest" at the National Press Club, Washington, DC. [National Sea Grant
College Program]

WA Salmon Management. On Feb. 16, 2000, King County Executive Ron Sims
announced that, in response to a joint request from the Seattle, Everett,
and Tacoma Mayors, he was delaying initial steps toward a proposed regional
plan to manage water. On Feb. 22, 2000, the WA Dept. of Ecology held a
forum in Mercer Island, to release a new proposal on revised guidelines for
managing development of shoreline property under the state's Shoreline
Management Act. These revisions are complicated by the fact that WA
officials are uncertain about the effect of building docks and bulkheads
might have on ESA-listed salmon; WA officials are working with NMFS to
determine what requirements should be included to comply with the ESA.
These revisions are to be completed by July 23, 2000, with a series of
public hearings scheduled for May 2000. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle

Dam Breaching. On Feb. 15, 2000, representatives of Indian tribes and
commercial gillnetters met in Astoria, OR, to form an alliance to demand
that the federal government remove 4 lower Snake River hydroelectric dams.
In addition, the tribes were reported to be supportive of federal aid to
irrigators, barge operators, and farmers who might be harmed by dam
breaching. On Feb. 17, 2000, the OR Chapter of the American Fisheries
Society, a professional society of fishery scientists, voted 103-0 to adopt
a resolution affirming the necessity for breaching 4 lower Snake River dams
to restore wild salmon populations. In a Feb. 18, 2000 speech at a meeting
of the OR Chapter of the American Fisheries Society in Eugene, OR Governor
John Kitzhaber endorsed breaching the 4 lower Snake River dams as a
responsible and cost-effective option, becoming the first major elected
official to endorse dam breaching. In response on Feb. 22, 2000, WA
Governor Gary Locke announced that he did not support dam breaching. On
Feb. 23, 2000, the Port of Portland released a study by HDR Engineering and
commissioned by the Port and 3 OR state agencies, outlining the potential
cascading negative effects of dam breaching, including the possible loss of
4 of the 6 ocean freight line serving Portland, diversion of export
containers to Puget Sound ports, and removal of marginal agricultural lands
in eastern OR and WA from production. 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. {{On
Mar. 9, 2000, and for the second year in a row, the environmental group
American Rivers named the Snake River in WA as the nation's most endangered
river and called on the Clinton Administration to breach the 4 hydroelectric
dams to aid salmon recovery efforts.}} [Assoc Press, Portland Oregonian,
MSNBC, American Rivers press release]

Dredging Lawsuit. On Feb. 14, 2000, a coalition of 5 environmental
organizations filed suit if U.S. District Court (Seattle, WA) against NMFS,
challenging NMFS's December 1999 approval of a Corps of Engineers permit for
a $196 million dredging project to deepen a 100-mile stretch of the Columbia
River shipping channel.. The groups are fearful that this project would
harm endangered salmon. [Environment News Service, Assoc Press]

CA Steelhead Coalition. On Feb. 14, 2000, a coalition of 33 fishing,
surfing, and environmental groups held a news conference to announce the
creation of the Southern California Steelhead Recovery Coalition, an
organization that will lobby to increase protection for steelhead trout.
The Coalition's 10-point action plan includes the removal of Matilija and
Rindge Dams, more funding for steelhead research, Endangered Species Act
protection for all rainbow trout in coastal streams, and NMFS
reclassification of spawning grounds above dams as critical habitat. [Los
Angeles Times]

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

Salmon Management Options. From Feb. 3 through Mar. 8, 2000, a total of 13
public hearings are scheduled by Bonneville Power Administration and 8 other
federal agencies across OR, WA, ID, MT, and AK on the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers Draft Lower Snake River Juvenile Salmon
Migration Feasibility Report/Environmental Impact Statement and the Federal
Caucus Conservation of Columbia Basin Fish "All-H Paper" [ ] presenting options
for altering harvest, hatcheries, habitat, and hydroelectric dams. The
initial hearing on Feb. 3, 2000, in Portland, OR, was attended by at least
1,000 people. [Assoc. Press]


{{Pittsburgh Aquarium. May 13, 2000 is the scheduled opening date for the
Pittsburg Zoo's new $15.9 million, 42,000 square foot AquaZoo, including a
rotating fish tank, a 100,000-gallon shark tank, and interactive exhibits.}}
[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

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]

South Carolina Aquarium. On Feb. 23, 2000, the first resident, a 327- pound
green sea turtle, was introduced to the South Carolina Aquarium's
330,000-gallon tank. This $69 million facility is scheduled to open on May
19, 2000. [Assoc Press]

French Shellfish Farmers. On Feb. 16, 2000, about 400 French shellfish
farmers marched on the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing in Paris to
demand more public assistance to help their industry recover from storms and
the Erika oil spill. The government has already pledged $45 million to help
the fishing and shellfish farming industries recover. Although the oil
spill harmed the public acceptance of oysters, storms caused extensive
damage to 42,000 acres of shellfish farms along the Atlantic coast. [Assoc
Press, The Guardian]

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. [NASS press release]


{Fairy Shrimp. On Mar. 8, 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed
designating critical habitat for endangered San Diego fairy shrimp on a
total of more than 36,000 acres in Orange and San Diego Counties, CA.
Public comment is being accepted through May 8, 2000.} [Assoc Press]

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]

Golden Trout Treatment. On Feb. 28 and 29, 2000, the CA Dept. of Fish and
Game and the U.S. Forest Service have scheduled public meetings in Lone Pine
and Kernville to consider proposed September 2000 and September 2001
rotenone treatments of 2 miles of Movie Stinger, a tributary of the South
Fork of the Kern River in the Golden Trout Wilderness, Inyo National Forest,
to eliminate non-native fish and hybridized golden trout and protect the
genetic integrity of native golden trout. Public comment is being accepted
through Mar. 15, 2000. [Daily Independent (Ridgecrest)]

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]

Right to Fish. In late February 2000, the VA Senate was poised to approve
HB 787 and take the last step toward putting a proposed state constitutional
amendment asserting the right to hunt and fish on the November 2000 state
ballot. [Roanoke Times]

Atlantic Salmon. 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. {{In early March 2000, U.S. District Judge
Gene Carter extended the public comment time by 30 days, or until April
14,2000, to give ME scientists time to review genetic data..}} [American
Lands press release, Assoc Press]

Bottled Water and Trout. On Feb. 23, 2000, WI state officials announced
that Perrier Group (Greenwich, CT) was considering abandoning plans to drill
a well at Mecan Springs, that could involve pumping quantities of water that
would threaten trout in the Mecan River. [Assoc Press]

Zebra Mussels. On Feb. 18, 2000, officials of the Michigan State Univ.
Extension Sea Grant program announced that 19 additional inland MI lakes had
become infested with zebra mussels during the past year. Previously, a
total of 100 inland MI lakes were known to have been infested with zebra
mussels. 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]

Bighorn River Tribal Water Rights. On Feb. 17, 2000, water-rights
negotiators for the Crow Tribe, and state of MT, and the federal government
met in Billings, MT, to discuss issues in developing a management plan that
would maintain streamflows and protect trout waters below Yellowtail Dam on
the Bighorn River. [Billings Gazette]

Alabama Sturgeon. On Feb. 16, 2000, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials
published a new conservation plan for the Alabama sturgeon, based upon an
agreement signed Feb. 9, 2000, by state and federal agencies and interested
groups. The primary feature of the agreement is an expanded collection
effort to find more sturgeon for captive breeding. Public comment on the
plan will be accepted through Mar. 17, 2000. [Mobile Register, Fed.

Dam Failure. In mid-February 2000, the Natural Resources Conservation
Service released a report, concluding that the Silver Lake dam (Cowlitz
County, WA) failed in May 1999 because of problems with a fish retention
screen. The report concludes that the screen, installed in 1992 to prevent
grass carp from leaving Silver Lake, damaged a clay layer that protected the
dam's foundation. After the screen became clogged with weeds, it increased
water flow and pressure on the dam's foundation, causing a hole under the
dam. [Assoc Press]

MN Fishing Season Extension. On Feb. 14, 2000, both the MN House and Senate
passed a bill that would extend the end of the MN sport fishing season from
Feb. 20 to Feb. 29, to assist resorts and businesses suffering from a winter
season delayed by unseasonable warm temperatures. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]


{{CITES Hearing. On Mar. 28, 2000, the House Resources Subcommittee on
Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has scheduled an oversight
hearing on April 2000 meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora (CITES).}} [personal communication]

{{Soviet Navy Mammals. In early March 2000, the London Times reported that
Crimean authorities had completed the sale and transfer to Iran of 27 marine
mammals (dolphins, beluga whales, walruses, and sea lions) trained by the
former Soviet Navy.}} [London Times]

{Sea Lion Protection. In early March 2000, New Zealand closed a squid
fishery around the Auckland Islands after endangered New Zealand sea lion
bycatch mortality reached 65 animals. The early closure may result in as
much as a NZ$50 million loss to the fishing industry.} [Southland Times]

{Dolphins in the Navy. In early March 2000, the U.S. Navy flew two female
dolphins from San Diego, CA, to Sitka, AK, for participation in the Northern
Edge 2000 military exercise.} [Anchorage Daily News]

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]

Keiko. On Feb. 23, 2000, Ocean Futures announced a postponement, at least
until early March 2000, of the planned release of the orca whale Keiko from
his seapen into the net-enclosed Klettsvik Bay, Iceland, due to tidal surges
and wind loosening anchoring bolts of the barrier net. On Mar. 3, 2000,
Keiko was released from his pen into the larger net-enclosed Klettsvik Bay
[]. [Portland Oregonian, Reuters, Ocean Futures
press release]

North Atlantic Right Whale. On Feb. 22-24, 2000, NMFS held a workshop in
Danvers, MA, to determine ways commercial fishing might be modified to
increase protection for northern right whales. 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.
{On Mar. 3, 2000, the Conservation Law Foundation (Boston, MA) filed a
60-day notice of intent to sue NMFS, claiming failure to take action
sufficient to protect endangered north Atlantic right whales under the
Endangered Species Act.} [Assoc Press, Boston Herald, Boston Globe]

CA Sea Otters. On Feb. 22, 2000, officials of the Monterey Bay Aquarium
announced that a sea otter, raised in captivity, rehabilitated, and then
released to the wild, had given birth in the wild in November 1999 and
appeared to be successfully raising this pup. This was reportedly a first
for the Aquarium's 16-year sea otter pup rescue program. [San Jose Mercury]

French Dolphin Mortality Event. In mid-February 2000, about 400 dead common
and striped dolphins were found from Brittany south along the west coast of
France. Many of the dead dolphins appeared wounded, with some blaming
encounters with 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]

Seal Barge? On Feb. 14, 2000, the local Chamber of Commerce and business
owners plan to petition Seal Beach, CA, City Council officials to allow the
anchoring of a barge offshore to provide an artificial attractant habitat
for seals and sea lions as a means of boosting tourism. [Assoc Press, Orange
County Register]

Whale Watch Vessel Fire. On Feb. 14, 2000, a Gloucester, MA, man was
arraigned in Gloucester District Court for allegedly setting fire to a whale
water boat in Gloucester harbor in early February 2000. A hearing on this
case is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2000. [Boston Herald]

Items in this summary are excerpted from a variety of information sources.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is not responsible for the accuracy
of the various news items.

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