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CRS: Daily Summary - 3/3/2000 - Longer Friday Version - Part 1 of 2


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


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


Fri, 3 Mar 2000 17:15:28 -0900





text/plain (1 lines)

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 3/3/2000 (updated

New info and changes since 2/25/2000 are bracketed {...}
New info and changes since 3/2/2000 are double-bracketed {{...}}


Fisheries Budget Hearings. On Mar. 23, 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. On Mar. 23, 2000, the Senate
Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary
has scheduled a hearing on NOAA's FY2001 budget request. [personal

Magnuson-Stevens Act Hearings. On Mar. 9, 2000, the House Resources
Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has scheduled
an oversight hearing on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and
Management Act. [personal communication]

{{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

Habitat Restoration Grants. Mar. 1, 2000 is the deadline for applications
for the Five Star Challenge Grants Program, while Mar. 6., 2000 is the
deadline for application to the American Sportfishing Association's
FishAmerica Foundation grants. Under a partnership with NMFS, these grants
fund community-based projects [ under "community-based restoration" at ] to evaluate and restore marine,
estuarine, and coastal habitat. [personal communication]

Offshore Sand and Gravel Mining. On Feb. 28 and 29, 2000, the Minerals
Management Service (MMS) held information meetings on a request by a private
excavating company that MMS hold a lease sale for 100 square miles of
seafloor tracts on which the company would mine sand and gravel off Monmouth
County, NJ. If granted, these leases would be the first commercial sand and
gravel mining operations in U.S. federal waters. {{Public comment will be
accepted by MMS through Apr. 10, 2000.}} [Asbury Park Press, Fed. Register]

Charterboat Moratorium. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's
(GMFMC's) Ad Hoc Charter Vessel/Headboat Advisory Panel met Feb. 28-29,
2000, in Tampa, FL, to develop recommendations on a proposed 3-year
moratorium on new charterboat fishing permits. {{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]

Lobster Games? In late February 2000, protests by the Japan Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals forced several game arcades to remove
"Submarine Catcher" arcade games, wherein a "maneuver-the-crane-and- catch"
mechanism allows players to capture live lobsters and other sea creatures.
This game was introduced into the Japanese arcade market earlier in February
2000, with 100 game machines sold immediately and orders placed for an
additional 200 machines. [Yomiuri Shimbun]

Shrimp and TEDs. In late February 2000, marine extension agents with the TX
Marine Advisory Service announced that they have developed a solution to a
design flaw in turtle excluder devices (TEDs) used in shrimp trawls. By
replacing traditional nylon netting with stronger high-density polyethylene
netting, stretching is minimized, keeping the shrimp trawl grill in proper
alignment and reducing shrimp loss. [TX Sea Grant press release]

{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. Register]

Herring Limited Entry. On Feb. 22-29, 2000, the Atlantic States Marine
Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and the New England Fishery Management Council
have scheduled a series of 4 joint scoping hearings to gather public comment
on the issue of controlled access (limited entry) in the Atlantic herring
fishery. Concern focuses on the Gulf of Maine, where reported landings 1996
and 1997 exceeded the total allowable catch (TAC) by a substantial amount.
[ASMFC press release]

NC Crab and Licensing Proposals. On Feb. 18, 2000, the NC Marine Fisheries
Commission voted to request the NC General Assembly to abolish the crab
harvesting license, effectively terminating the moratorium on new entrants
into the commercial crab fishery. The Commission also agreed to review a
proposal to establish a point system to penalize commercial fishermen who
violate NC regulations; any fishermen who receives 36 points within a 3-
year period or is convicted of a felony fisheries violation would have his
commercial fishing license suspended for a year. [Carteret News-Times]

{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. Register]

Fisheries Protest at Parliament. On Feb. 17, 2000, about 300 members of the
Food and Allied Workers Union held a protest at the South African Parliament
to call attention to alleged corruption of the fishing quota system and the
Dept. of Sea Fisheries. Concerns include inability and incompetence in
monitoring illegal fishing and reluctance to allocate quota to previously
disadvantaged groups. [South Africa Press Assoc]

Marine Protected Areas. On Feb. 16, 2000, the Marine Conservation Biology
Institute and The Cousteau Society released documents from a workshop
"Establishing a National System of Marine Protected Areas in the United
States" held in Washington, DC, as well as the groups' recommendations
("Safeguarding America's Seas" Establishing a National System of Marin
Protected Areas - A Call for Presidential Action) to the Clinton
Administration [ ]. [personal

Immigration Problems in the Bering Sea. In mid-February 2000, U.S.
Immigration and Naturalization Service agents arrested 20 illegal deckhands
and unskilled pollock/cod processors on fishing boats calling at Dutch
Harbor, AK. Additional arrests were made in Unalaska and Anchorage. INS
agents are scheduled to visit shoreside processing plants. [Anchorage Daily

HMS SAFE Report. On Feb. 15, 2000, NMFS released its year 2000 Stock
Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report [ ] for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species
(HMS), summarizing the best available scientific information on these fish
stocks. [personal communication]

Indian Shellfish Harvest. On Feb. 15, 2000, about 20 Suquamish Tribe clam
diggers conducted the first commercial shellfish harvest on private,
non-Indian tideland on Dyas Inlet, WA, since the 1994 District Court
decision enforcing Treaty rights for 15 western WA tribes. Subsistence clam
digging on non- Indian land under this decision was first done in August
1997, by members of the Skokomish Tribe. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

{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]

Shark Conferences. On Feb. 14-17, 2000, the Ocean Wildlife Campaign, two
foundations, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium sponsored an International
Pelagic Shark Workshop in Pacific Grove, CA [ ]. On Feb. 21-24, 2000, a coalition
of five foundations sponsored an international shark conservation conference
in Honolulu, HI [ ]. [personal

Invasive Species. On Feb. 13-17, 2000, the 10th International Aquatic
Nuisance Species and Zebra Mussel Conference convenes in Toronto, Ontario.
This conference highlights latest findings, technology, management
strategies, and public education programs related to aquatic nuisance
species prevention and control. On Feb. 18, 2000, a symposium panel on
"Alien Species in Coastal Waters: What are the Real Ecological and Social
Costs?" is scheduled at the American Association for the Advancement of
Science Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. {{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]

Native Fishery. On Feb. 13, 2000, Canadian Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal
reported that a framework for accommodating aboriginal fishermen in Maritime
Canada will be implemented by late April 2000 when some lobster fisheries
open, although all communities and bands may not have concluded interim
fishing agreements. The framework reportedly will increase aboriginal
participation as well as regulate the fishery with clear conservation
measures. On Feb. 13, 2000, enforcement officers with the Dept. of
Fisheries and Oceans seized 2 Native crab vessels from the Indian Brook
reserve fishing off eastern Nova Scotia allegedly in closed waters. The
vessels were escorted to Dartmouth, NS, where the crab catch was unloaded.
Indian Brook officials claimed to have an exploratory license for snow crab,
but federal officials said this license was for a different area. On Feb.
15, 2000, Native leaders stated that aboriginal fishermen will begin fishing
for lobster and other species after the ice goes out in April, whether or
not they have an agreement with the federal government. {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]

Sport Halibut Restrictions. On Feb. 12, 2000, the North Pacific Fishery
Management Council voted to recommend that a limit be placed on the amount
of halibut that charterboats can harvest. The limit would be 125% of the
average catch between 1995 and 1999. Charter boat participation will be
based on 1998 and 1999 charter logbooks, but the accuracy of these logbooks
as a record of charter boat catch is a concern. In addition, the Council
initiated fast-track analysis on creating an individual fishing quota (IFQ)
program for the 1,100-vessel charter fleet. [MSNBC, Anchorage Daily News]

Mud Dump. On Feb. 12, 2000, more than 600 fishermen, environmentalists, and
elected officials showed up at a public hearing in Long Branch, NJ, to
protest an Army Corps of Engineers' decision to allow the dumping of dredge
spoils off Sandy Hook, NJ. On Feb. 22, 2000, the House Resources
Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has scheduled
an oversight field hearing in Toms River, NJ, to examine the effects on
living marine resources from material deposited in the NY Bight area. [Assoc
Press, personal communication]

HMS/Billfish Meeting. On Feb. 9-11, 2000, a joint meeting of the Highly
Migratory Species (HMS) Advisory Panel and the Billfish Advisory Panel was
scheduled to convene in Silver Spring, MD, to discuss the "1999 Stock
Assessment and Fishery Evaluation for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species,"
limited entry for HMS fisheries, bycatch reduction measures, and assessment
of social impacts on HMS fishing communities. [NOAA press release]

TX Shrimp Restrictions. On Feb. 9, 2000, a coalition between the
Environmental Defense Fund and the Sierra Club submitted a proposal to the
TX Parks and Wildlife Dept., urging year-round closures to shrimpers of an
area along the coast as well as a more extensive closure around Padre Island
National Seashore annually from Mar. 1 through Aug. 31. The TX Parks and
Wildlife Dept. is currently reviewing shrimp regulations. [Assoc Press]

Landry's Buys Rainforest. On Feb. 9, 2000, officials of Landry's Seafood
Restaurants Inc. (Houston, TX) announced that it was acquiring Rainforest
Cafe (Hopkin, NM) for $125 million in cash and stock. The 38 Rainforest
Cafes (28 domestic, 10 foreign) would become a subsidiary of Landry's.
[Assoc Press, Minneapolis Star Tribune]

SC Non-Compliance. On Feb. 9, 2000, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries
Commission's (ASMFC's) Interstate Fisheries Management Program Policy Board
determined that SC was out-of-compliance with Amendment 1 of the ASMFC's
Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Shad and River Herring, because SC
lacks a sport creel limit for these species. The full ASMFC will consider
final action on the recommendation that SC be found out-of- compliance at
its early April 2000 meeting in Alexandria, VA. If SC remains
out-of-compliance, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce can place a moratorium on
SC shad and river herring fisheries. [ASMFC press release]

Sharks. On Feb. 8, 2000, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's
(ASMFC's) Spiny Dogfish and Coastal Shark Management Board approved a
non-binding recommendation that states adopt regulatory measures for spiny
dogfish and coastal sharks that are consistent to and complementary with
current federal regulations, to protect inshore nursing and pupping areas
and better monitor the fishery in state waters. On Feb. 10, 2000, Secretary
of Commerce William Daley notified the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery
Management Councils that he had asked NMFS to delay the effective date of
the final rule for the Spiny Dogfish Fishery Management Plan from Feb. 10,
2000, to Mar. 15, 2000, to encourage the Mid-Atlantic and New England
Councils to come to an agreement on differing opinions about how to manage
this fishery. {{On Feb. 15, 2000, NMFS published notice of the delayed
effectiveness of the final rule for spiny dogfish.}} On Feb. 15, 2000,
representatives of 5 conservation groups sent a joint letter to Clinton
Administration officials, requesting the administration address shark
management concerns, such as the alleged shortsighted delay in implementing
dogfish management measures. {{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]

Pelagic Longlining. On Feb. 8, 2000, the House Resources Subcommittee on
Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans held a hearing on H.R. 3331 and
H.R. 3390 proposing specific time-area closures for Atlantic and Gulf of
Mexico pelagic longline fishing as well as a buyout of pelagic longline
fishing vessel permits,, and H.R. 3516, proposing to ban all pelagic
longline fishing in the U.S. EEZ. [personal communication, Assoc Press]

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]

Coral Reef Protection. On Feb. 7, 2000, the Administration's FY2001 Federal
Budget proposal was released, proposing $1.4 billion to continue the Lands
Legacy Initiative that would include $15 million for coral reef protection
and restoration. On Mar. 2, 2000, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force met in
Washington, DC, to discuss the proposed comprehensive U.S. Coral Reef Action
Plan and its implementation, responding to President Clinton's Executive
Order 13089. [personal communication, White House press release]

Striped Bass. On Feb. 7, 2000, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries
Commission's (ASMFC's) Striped Bass Management Board approved year 2000
striped bass management measures for certain Atlantic coast states, designed
to reduce fishing mortality of older fish by at least 14%. In addition, the
Board reviewed material for Amendment 6 to the Interstate Fishery Management
Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass, scheduled to be considered for adoption at
the ASMFC's October 2000 meeting. [ASMFC press release]

New England Groundfish. On Feb. 7, 2000, the Administration's FY2001
Federal Budget proposal was released, containing about $38 million in aid
for New England fishermen. This package included a cooperative management
program hiring fishermen for research ($12 million), job training and
counseling ($7 million), vessel buyback program ($10 million),
infrastructure repairs for fishing communities ($2.5 million), and
low-interest loans for vessel refitting ($6.6 million). On Feb. 23, 2000,
personnel from the Coast Guard Cutter Adak observed 2 trawlers fishing
illegally inside Restricted Gear Area 2, south of Long Island. Both vessels
were escorted to New Bedford, MA, where NMFS seized and auctioned their
catch and initiated prosecution. {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

Long Island Sound Lobsters. In early February 2000, Univ. of CT scientists
reported that a comprehensive investigation of the lobster mortality event
might cost $2 million to $3 million over 3 to 5 years. On Feb. 9, 2000, CT
Governor John Rowland requested $20 million in federal assistance for CT
lobstermen and asked the CT Dept. of Transportation to help the lobstermen
find free or inexpensive storage place for their pots. In addition, a group
of Northeast senators were reported to have urged the Senate Appropriations
Committee to include this funding in an anticipated emergency disaster
relief bill. {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]

Puget Sound Marine Conservation Areas. On Feb. 4-5, 2000, the WA Fish and
Wildlife Commission was scheduled to meet in Anacortes, WA. Agenda items
included a proposal to establish 4 new Puget Sound marine conservation areas
to protect bottomfish. Several of these areas would be closed to all
fishing. A report was also to have been presented on the impact of
commercial trawling on Puget Sound. [Seattle Herald]

Pacific Groundfish. On Feb. 4, 2000, fishermen met with state and federal
fishery managers in Salem, OR, to develop recommendations on disaster relief
funding. On Feb. 9, 2000, west coast fishermen sent letters to Members of
Congress, outlining their plan and requesting more than $131 million in
disaster assistance. About $100 million would be used to buyout about half
the fleet's fishing vessels and licenses as part of a fleet restructuring
program. On Mar. 20-24, 2000, the Pacific Fishery Management Council'
Scientific and Statistical Committee has scheduled a workshop in Seattle,
WA, to study the productivity of west coast groundfish and to evaluate the
Council's harvest rate policy. The workshop will review past research and
recommend changes to existing policies, if needed. Contributed
presentations are being solicited by the Council, with manuscripts due by
Mar. 20, 2000. [Assoc Press, The World (Coos Bay, OR), personal

Taiwanese Trawler Seized. On Feb. 4, 2000, the Argentine Navy observed the
Taiwanese squid trawler Hou Chun 101 illegally fishing 5 kilometers inside
Argentina's exclusive economic zone. After a 12 hour chase, the trawler was
taken into custody, and could face a fine of as much as $2 million. [Hong
Kong Standard]

Orange Roughy Negotiations. On Feb. 4, 2000, Australia and New Zealand
negotiated a new agreement for orange roughy on the South Tasmanian Rise, in
international waters south of Tasmania. Negotiations concluded with
Australia receiving 75% of the quota as compared to an earlier lapsed
agreement in which Australia had an 80% share. [Southland Times]

Horseshoe Crabs. On Feb. 3, 2000, the ME Legislature's Marine Resources
Committee reported a bill (LD 2451) to the full Legislature, proposing to
ban trawlers and draggers from Taunton Bay, the northernmost horseshoe crab
nursery area in the United States. On Feb. 9, 2000, the ASMFC's Horseshoe
Crab Management Board approved Addendum I to the Interstate Fishery
Management Plan for Horseshoe Crab, implementing a state-by-state harvesting
cap that is 25% below the 1995-1997 harvest level. In addition, the Board
recommended additional harvest control measures to increase protection for
the Delaware Bay horseshoe crab population and recommended that NMFS
establish an offshore horseshoe crab sanctuary within a 30-mile radius of
the Delaware Bay mouth. State proposals to implement the new requirements
are to be reviewed by the Management Board in April 2000, for implementation
by May 1, 2000. NJ pledged $50,000 for data collection on the fishery,
challenging DE, MD, and VA to make a similar contribution that together
would be matched by the Dept. of the Interior. [Assoc Press, ASMFC press
release, Bangor Daily News, Virginian-Pilot]

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. Subsequently,
additional public workshops were scheduled for Feb. 28 - Mar. 1, 2000.
[GMFMC press release]

Deep-Sea Red Crab. On Feb. 2, 2000, NMFS published notice that the New
England Fishery Management Council intends to prepare a fishery management
plan for deep-sea red crab (Chaceon quinquedens). Public scoping meetings
are scheduled for Feb. 11 and 14, 2000, in Portsmouth, NH, and New Bedford,
MA, respectively. [Fed. Register, Garden State Seafood Assoc Weekly Update]

New Carissa. On Feb. 2, 2000, the U.S. Coast Guard ended supervision of the
cleanup of oil spilled along the OR coast from the beached freighter New
Carissa. Expenditures on cleanup and compensation claims though Dec. 8,
1999, totaled $20.42 million, plus another $7 million for which the federal
government is likely to seek reimbursement. [Assoc Press]

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]


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