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Subject: CRS: Daily Summary - 4/28/2000 - Longer Friday Version - Part 2 of 2
From: Peter Hagen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Fish-Sci-request <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 28 Apr 2000 13:14:06 -0800

text/plain (339 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]


Salmon Field Hearing.  On April 27, 2000, the House Resources Committee has
scheduled an oversight field hearing in Pasco, WA, on hydropower, river
management, and salmon recovery issues on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
[personal communication]

{Methow Irrigation Lawsuit.  On Apr. 17, 2000, a coalition of 3
environmental groups filed an intent to sue federal agencies over ad hoc
management of irrigation ditches in the Methow Valley, WA.  The groups
contend that federal agencies must formalize the process and prepare a
biological opinion on operation of irrigation ditches to protect salmon and
steelhead trout.  While the U.S. Forest Service concluded that operation of
Methow Valley irrigation ditches could kill listed fish, NMFS has not issued
a biological opinion.} [Seattle Times]

WA Management.  In mid-April 2000, the WA Dept. of Ecology filed a complaint
in Cowlitz County Superior Court to halt a 50-lot housing development, as a
new tactic to protect salmon habitat by forcing developers to apply for
state water-rights permits for groundwater. [Assoc Press]

CA Chinook Lawsuit.  On Apr. 14, 2000, a coalition of environmental and
fishing groups filed suit in CA Superior Court, seeking to force the CA
Water Resources Control Board to implement protective measures to protected
threatened chinook salmon though reconsideration of a March 15, 2000,
allocation of water rights along the San Joaquin River. [Environment News

Salmon Dumping.  On Apr. 12, 2000, Wards Cove Packing Co. (Seattle) reached
a no-contest plea agreement in Juneau Superior Court and was fined $60,000
for dumping 3.2 million pounds of "surplus" salmon in Icy Strait, AK, in
July 1999. [Assoc Press]

Columbia Hydropower Hearings.  On Apr. 12, 2000, the Senate Energy and
Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power held an oversight hearing
to review how pending federal decisions on restoring endangered salmon could
affect operation of the federal Columbia River hydropower system.  On Apr.
18, 2000, the Subcommittee is scheduled to hold a field hearing on this same
issue at Cascade Locks, OR. [personal communication]

Tern Removal Lawsuit.  On Apr. 10, 2000, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara
Rothstein, responding to a lawsuit filed by a coalition of 4 environmental
groups,  issued a temporary restraining order on the Army Corps of Engineers
plan to destroy Caspian tern habitat and harass terns on Rice Island in the
Columbia River estuary to encourage terns to move in hopes that will reduce
tern predation on migrating juvenile salmon.  The plaintiffs in this case
seek to force the Corps to complete an environmental impact statement on
their plan.  A program of tern harassment on Rice Island was to have begun
on Apr. 11. [Seattle Times, National Audubon Society press release]

Dam Breaching.  On Apr. 10, 2000, American Rivers released its 15th annual
list of "Most Endangered Rivers," naming the lower Snake River as its top
selection due to concerns for dam removal.  The 3rd river on their list, the
Ventura River (CA), reflects concerns for breaching Matilija Dam.  {On Apr.
27, 2000, the Associated Press reported that NMFS is expected to announce on
May 22, 2000, that the 4 Snake River dams should remain in place for at lead
5 or 10 more years, to allow for a more complete assessment of progress
toward recovering endangered salmon.  If sufficient progress is not made in
this time period, NMFS would recommend breaching the dams.} [Assoc Press,
Portland Oregonian, MSNBC, American Rivers press release]


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]

{Salmon Culture Lawsuit.  On Apr. 26, 2000, the National Environmental Law
Center, on behalf of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and 4 of its ME
members, sent formal notice to 3 ME salmon farms announcing their intent to
file suit in U.S. District Court (Bangor) against the companies for
releasing fish waste, food, and chemical pollutants in violation of the
Clean Water Act (CWA) because they have no federal discharge permits.  The
farms claim that they are exempt from the permit requirements because the
CWA treats aquaculture uniquely.} [Assoc Press]

Organic Handling and Production.  Between Apr. 10 and May 3, 2000, the U.S.
Dept. of Agriculture has scheduled 3 public meetings in AL, AK, and RI to
discuss production and handling of aquatic animals to be labeled as
"organic."  This is part of an effort to establish national standards
governing the marketing of products as organically produced.  At the Apr.
12, 2000 meeting in Anchorage, AK commercial fishermen who harvest wild
salmon expressed concerned that the "organic" certification for farmed
salmon would be detrimental to them unless wild AK salmon also could qualify
as "organic.". [USDA press release, Anchorage Daily News]

GM Salmon.  On Apr. 10, 2000, officials of Aqua Bounty Farms Inc. (Souris,
Prince Edward Island, Canada) confirmed that they have applied to the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration for approval of their transgenic Atlantic
salmon as safe to eat.  These fish are reported to grow to market size in
about two-thirds the time of regular, farmed salmon, due to the injection
into fertilized eggs of a promoter gene sequence taken from ocean pout and a
growth hormone gene sequence taken from Chinook salmon. [Toronto Globe and

Norsk Hydro Aquaculture Sale.  On Apr. 5, 2000, Fox News announced that
Norsk Hydro ASA is selling its Hydro Seafoods aquaculture division to
Nutreco Holding NV of the Netherlands for $452 million.  The Hydro Seafoods
division has an 11% share of the world market in farmed salmon, with
reported 1999 sales of $266 million in nearly 50 countries.  The purchase
would give Nutreco a 20% share with aquaculture operations in 18 countries.
[Fox News]

NOAA SAB Meeting.  On Apr. 4-7, 2000, NOAA's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)
is scheduled to meet in Washington, DC.  Their agenda includes presentations
and discussions of a "Census of Marine Life" and of NOAA's Aquaculture
Initiative. [Fed. Register]


{{Atlantic Salmon.  On May 11, 2000, Bill Brown, science advisor to the
Secretary of the Interior, will speak on Atlantic salmon recovery at the
American Water Resources Assoc. brown-bag lunch at the Dept. of the Interior
Bldg. in Washington, DC.}} [personal communication]

{{Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.  In late April and early May 2000, about 50,000
year-old threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout are scheduled to be released by
state, federal, and tribal biologists into the Truckee River, NV, in the
last year of a 5-year study to restore this fish.}} [Assoc Press]

{Great Lakes Guidebooks.  On Apr. 27, 2000, the U.S. and Canadian
governments released "lakewide management plans" for 4 of the 5 Great Lakes
(the plan for Lake Huron is not yet complete) [  ].
These guidebooks identify pollution problems, show how ecosystems have
changed, and highlight non-native species concerns.} [Assoc Press]

{Spikedace and Loach Minnow Critical Habitat.  On Apr. 25, 2000, the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service designated almost 900 miles of rivers and streams
in NM and AZ as critical habitat for threatened spikedace and loan minnow.
This action was taken, in part, in response to a December 1999 lawsuit by
the Center for Biological Diversity (Tucson, AZ).} [Assoc Press]

Endangered Fish Recovery.  On Apr. 25, 2000, the Senate Energy and Natural
Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power is scheduled to hold a hearing on
S.2239, authorizing the Bureau of Reclamation to provide cost sharing for
implementing endangered fish recovery programs for the Upper Colorado River
and San Juan River basins. [personal communication]

{{Native Fish Conservation.  In mid-April 2000, federal and state agencies,
conservation groups, private industry, and others gathered in Idaho Falls,
ID, to formalize the first comprehensive, multi-state (MT, WY, and ID)
initiative to conserve Rocky Mountain native fish.  The Partnership for
Conservation of Native Fishes in the Rocky Mountains aims to increase
funding opportunities for native fish restoration, coordinate research, and
increase access to restoration plans and projects to facilitate cooperation
among stakeholders.}} [Partnership for Conservation of Native Fishes in the
Rocky Mountains press release]

Whirling Disease.  On Apr. 18, 2000, officials of the UT Division of
Wildlife Resources announced that whirling disease had been detected using
DNA tests at the Midway fish hatchery.  This is the first occurrence of
whirling disease at a state-operated hatchery in UT.  Because of this
discovery, more that 300,000 catchable rainbow trout will be lost to the
regular stocking program for streams and rivers, with the fish planted
instead in lakes and reservoirs.  The director of the UT hatchery system
reported that whirling disease had spread in 10 months to where he thought
it would take 10 years to reach. [Assoc Press]

Santa Ana Sucker.  On Apr. 12, 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
listed CA's Santa Ana sucker as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
This fish once inhabited shallow streams throughout the Los Angeles basin.
[Assoc Press]

Alberta Fishing Moratorium.  From Apr. 1 through May 19, 2000, fishing will
be banned, for the first time ever, in most Alberta lakes, stream, and
rivers to allow declining populations of walleye, perch, and pike to
reproduce. [Grand Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune]


{{Norwegian Whaling.  On Apr. 27, 2000, the Norwegian Fishermen's Sales
Association announced minimum prices to be paid for blubber and whalemeat
for the 2000 whaling season.  Blubber was set a 0.10 crown per kilogram,
down significantly from 1999's minimum price of 3.0 crowns per kilogram.
The minimum price of whalemeat is 27.5 crowns per kilogram, slightly higher
than the 25.5 crowns per kilogram in 1999.  As many as 35 Norwegian vessels
are to begin hunting minke whales in early May 2000, with a quota of 655
animals.  To deal with mounting stocks of blubber in Norway, aging blubber
is being transformed into heating oil under a state-sponsored program.}}

{{Captive Orcas.  On Apr. 27, 2000, the Vancouver Public Aquarium announced
that it would phase-out it's killer whale display, sending its last whale to
Sea World in the United States.}} [Canadian Press]

{Right Whale Protection.  On Apr. 24, 2000, as many as 7 lobster boats began
a $12,000 program, financed by the International fund for Animal Welfare in
cooperation with the Cape Cod Lobsterman's Association and the MA Div. of
Marine Fisheries, to spend several weeks removing abandoned fishing gear
(e.g., lobster buoys, ropes, and pots) from Cape Cod Bay to improve
protection for north Atlantic right whales.} [Assoc Press]

{Sea Otter Lawsuit.  On Apr. 20, 2000, the Center for Biological Diversity
(AZ) notified the CA Dept. of Fish and Game of its intent to sue because of
alleged inaction that allowed sea otters to be killed by large-mesh gillnets
commercially fished in Monterey Bay.} [Assoc Press]

Manatee Lawsuit.  On Apr. 18, 2000, a coalition of 18 environmental and
animal protection groups asked a federal judge, hearing their lawsuit (Save
the Manatee Club v. Ballard) seeking to force federal agencies to give more
attention to saving FL manatees, to issue a preliminary injunction banning
the Army Corps of Engineers from issuing permits for any new boat slips and
marinas in  coastal waters of 16 FL counties and parts of 3 other counties
until the lawsuit is decided.  This action was taken after the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service approved and the Corps of Engineers issued a permit for 180
new boat slips in a critical manatee area.  According to preliminary FL
data, about 100 manatees have died in the first 3 months of 2000. [Assoc
Press, Save the Manatee Club press release]

Makah Whaling.  On Apr. 17, 2000, the Makah Whaling Commission issued a
10-day permit to the Paul Parker family to hunt a gray whale.  No whale was
killed, but the Coast Guard arrested a protester and seized his boat, after
they allegedly entered the 500-yard exclusion zone around the Makah canoe.
A total of 5 families have been preparing to hunt gray whales this spring.
On Apr. 20, 2000, an inflatable Coast Guard vessel collided with a personal
watercraft operating inside the Marine Exclusion Zone and harassing Makah
whalers, injuring the watercraft operator.  The Makah whalers had thrown a
harpoon at a gray whale, but the harpoon did not stick.  A second personal
watercraft was confiscated, and its operator arrested. {{On Apr. 21, 2000,
charges were filed in U.S. District Court against the injured watercraft
operator for violating the moving exclusionary zone.  Maximum sentence for
conviction is 6 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  On Apr. 24, 2000, the
Makah whaling crew appeared as witnesses in a District Court hearing into
charges against one of the protesters.  Judge Kelley Arnold ordered the
injured watercraft operator to stay away from personal watercraft and the
Makah Reservation.  A preliminary hearing will be held on the alleged
violation on May 5, 2000.}}  [Assoc Press, personal communication, Reuters,
Seattle Post- Intelligencer, APB Multimedia]

{Dolphin Live Capture.  On Apr. 16-21, 2000, NMFS staff participated in live
capture of bottlenose dolphins at Beaufort, NC, to collect samples for stock
identification and health assessment.  Satellite and radio transmitters were
depolyed on several animals to track distribution and movement over several
months.} [personal communication]

CITES.  On Apr. 15, 2000, delegates to the CITES Conference of Parties
rejected 4 proposals to resume limited trading in certain whale products.  A
Norwegian proposal to remove Northeast Atlantic and North Atlantic Central
stocks of minke whales from CITES Appendix I was defeated by a secret ballot
vote of 52-57, with 9 abstentions and 2 spoiled ballots.  Norwegian
delegates to CITES indicated that Norway may consider ignoring the CITES
trade ban.  A Japanese proposal to downlist Eastern North Pacific gray
whales was defeated by a secret ballot of 40-63, with 6 abstentions.  The
Japanese proposal to downlist Southern Hemisphere minke whales was defeated
by a secret ballot of 46-69, with 4 abstentions and 4 spoiled ballots.  A
Japanese proposal to downlist Okhotsk Sea/West Pacific minke whales was
defeated by a secret ballot of 49-67, with 3 abstentions and 2 spoiled
ballots.  On Apr. 20, 2000, at the CITES Conference of Parties, Norway
offered an amended proposal, limited to whales taken in waters under
national jurisdiction and monitored by a DNA-based identification system.
This proposal failed to gain the required two-thirds majority, with 53
voting favorable and 52 against. [personal communication, High North
Alliance News, International Fund for Animal Welfare press release]

Contraceptives for Seals?  On Apr. 11, 2000, Tory politicians suggested that
seals should be given contraceptives to restrict their abundance and
preserve fish stocks, in response to information that Scotland's grey seal
population had doubled in 10 years. [London Times]

MMPA Hearing.  On Apr. 6, 2000, the House Resources Subcommittee on
Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has scheduled an oversight
hearing on Sections 118 and 119 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
[personal communication]

Whale Research Irregularities.  In early April 2000, the Pacific Whale
Foundation (PWF) signed a settlement agreement with NOAA, with PWF admitting
to 2 charges ($5,000 fine), NOAA dismissing one charge, and NOAA issuing a
single written warning for 4 alleged charges.  All these charges related to
PWF's research activities during 1998. [personal communcation]

Japanese Whaling.  In early April 2000, the Japanese whaling fleet returned
from Antarctic waters, having killed 439 minke whales for scientific
research. [London Observer, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries
(Japan) press release]

Canadian Sealing.  In early April 2000, Newfoundland's Fisheries Minister
John Efford issued a renewed call for a harp seal cull, saying that
exploding populations of seals are wiping out cod stocks off the north coast
of Newfoundland. [Canadian Press, International Fund for Animal Welfare
press release]

Dolphin-Safe Tuna.  In an Apr. 3, 2000 hearing before U.S. District Judge
Thelton Henderson, animal protection groups asked that modifications to
requirements for labeling tuna as "dolphin-safe" be halted, rather than
allowed to take effect on Apr. 11, 2000.  These groups fear new regulations
allowing tuna to be labeled as dolphin-safe as long as no dolphins are
observed to have been killed or seriously injured when tuna are caught by
surrounding dolphins with purse seine nets.  On Apr. 11, 2000, U.S. District
Court Judge Thelton Henderson (San Francisco), in response to a lawsuit
filed by environmental and animal protection groups, blocked NMFS
implementation of more relaxed standards for what tuna might qualify to be
labeled as "dolphin-safe," saying that NMFS had failed to assess whether the
proposed labeling change would cause harm to dolphin populations. Judge
Henderson concluded that NMFS failed to complete critical stress research
testing of dolphins that were repeatedly captured and released.  The ruling
does not alter U.S. action lifting an import ban on tuna caught using purse
seines.  On Apr. 12, 2000, Mexican officials called the court ruling "a
great loss for Mexico...not only unfair, but clearly uninformed."  On Apr.
12, 2000, the U.S. Court of International Trade (New York) heard oral
arguments on a separate lawsuit by environmental groups seeking to continue
the embargo on Mexican tuna, claiming that Mexico has not fully complied
with U.S. regulations intended to reduce dolphin mortality. [Seattle Times,
Fox New, Assoc Press]

Bahamas Whale/Dolphin Standings.  On Apr. 3, 2000, officials of the Sea
Shepherd Conservation Society accused the U.S. Navy's Mar. 15, 2000,
exercises near the Bahamas of causing whale beachings and deaths, and called
on NMFS to take action to protect these marine mammals.  Sea Shepherd
officials announced that they were planning to file a lawsuit against the
Navy and NMFS.  On Apr. 6, 2000, Navy officials responded by letter to the
Humane Society, denying accusations that anti-submarine activities near the
Bahamas had harmed marine mammals.  [Assoc Press, Washington Post, personal

{Steller Sea Lions.  On Mar. 30, 2000, environmental plaintiffs in the
lawsuit against NMFS over management of fisheries in Steller sea lion
habitat filed a motion seeking to enjoin all trawling in Steller sea lion
critical habitat in the Bering Sea.} [personal communication]

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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