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Subject: CRS: Daily Summary - 4/21/2000 - Longer Friday Version - Part 2 of 2
From: Peter Hagen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Fish-Sci-request <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 24 Apr 2000 11:43:47 -0800

text/plain (371 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]

{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]

Elk Creek Dam.  On Mar. 30, 2000, a coalition of 5 environmental and fishing
groups filed suit in U.S. District Court (Portland, OR), arguing that the
Army Corps of Engineers has violated the Endangered Species Act by failing
to consult NMFS on Elk Creek Dam (on a tributary of the Rogue River, OR) and
its impacts on threatened coho salmon.  These groups would like a judge to
order the half-constructed dam to be notched so salmon will not have to be
trapped and hauled around the dam to reach spawning habitat. [Assoc Press]

Bristol Bay Salmon Lawsuit.  On Mar. 28, 2000, lawyers for more than 5,000
Bristol Bay fishermen filed an appeal with the AK Supreme Court, in their
class-action lawsuit alleging price-fixing by salmon processors and Japanese
buyers.  The lawsuit had been dismissed in AK Superior Court in July 1999
for lack of evidence.  The appeal seeks to have the lawsuit remanded to
Superior Court for a jury trial. [MSNBC]

Pacific Council Salmon Management.  On Mar. 27-28, 2000, the Pacific Fishery
Management Council held a series of hearings on regulatory options for the
years 2000 ocean salmon season.  Additional public comment will be taken at
the Council's Apr. 3-7, 2000 meeting in Portland, OR. [personal

Dam Breaching.  In late March 2000, Corps of Engineers officials reported
that, at recent hearings in 4 Pacific Northwest states, supporters of dam
breaching outnumbered opponents by  a ratio of 3-to-1.  Additional public
comment is being accepted by the Corps through Mar. 31, 2000.  In late March
2000, officials of the Army Corps of Engineers announced that they would
extend the public comment period for an additional month, until Apr. 30,
2000, on their draft study of strategies to restore Snake River salmon and
steelhead trout.  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. [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]

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]

NOAA Marine Aquaculture Initiative.  On Mar. 27, 2000, NOAA's Office of
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research published a request for proposals for
funding under the National Marine Aquaculture Initiative.  A total of $0.5
million is available for five priority areas (in rank order): 1)
improvements to the regulatory framework for marine aquaculture, 2)
definition of elements to be included in a code of conduct for responsible
marine aquaculture, 3) demonstration of the use of geographic information
system technology for siting marine aquaculture projects, 4) environmental
sound technologies and evaluation of impacts associated with grow-out and
enhancement activities, and 5) regional planning and coordination efforts
furthering regional or national marine aquaculture goals.  Proposals are due
by May 15, 2000. [Fed. Register]

Federal Fisheries Financial Assistance.  On Mar. 27, 2000, NMFS announced
the availability of $23.7 million in loans, prioritized for 1) fishing
capacity reduction, 2) supporting the existing FFP credit portfolio through
loan refinancing, etc., 3) about $10 million in backlogged FY1999
applications, and 4) marine and closed system aquaculture.  If the entire
$23.7 million is not allocated among these priorities by Apr. 17, 2000,
non-priority purposes will be funded (e.g., land-based aquaculture in open
systems, fisheries shoreside facilities, and fishing vessels).  In addition,
$5 million is available for loans to purchase halibut and sablefish
individual fishing quota (IFQ).  However, since the backlog of application
for IFQ loans exceeds the $5 million available, no new applications for IFQ
loans will be accepted. [Fed. Register]

AK Chum Salmon Production.  On Mar. 26, 2000, the AK Board of Fisheries
tabled a request by the Bering Sea Fishermen's Association that hatchery
production  of chum salmon in Southeast AK and Prince William Sound be
reduced.  The Association was concerned that state-financed hatchery
production depresses the price for wild-caught chum salmon in western AK.
The Board postponed action for a year because it was unsure it had authority
to alter hatchery production levels. [Anchorage Daily News]


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]

{{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]

Wallop-Breaux Funds.  On Mar. 27, 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
announced that almost $241 million was being distributed among states under
the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration (Dingell-Johnson/Wallop- Breaux)
Program. [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service press release]

Coordinated Fishery Survey.  On Mar. 26-31, 2000, staff from the fisheries
departments and fisheries research institutes of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania
will conduct a coordinated survey of fishing boats, fishermen, fishing gear,
and fish landings at Lake Victoria.  Organized by the Lake Victoria
Fisheries Organization, this effort aims to promote regional cooperation in
fishery management.  Funding for this program is provided by the World Bank
and the European Union. [East African]

Tranquilizer Threat.  In late March 2000, representatives of an animal
welfare group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, threatened to
release a tranquilizer into Lake Palestine, TX, the day before an Apr. 1
sport fishing tournament, to prevent fish from being harmed.  TX Parks and
Wildlife Dept. biologists doubted the effectiveness of such tactics due to
the large volume of Lake Palestine, but could charge activists with criminal
mischief. [Dallas Morning News]

Atlantic Salmon.   In late March 2000, the senior biologist of ME's Atlantic
Salmon Commission resigned in protest, alleging that ME officials filed to
listen to his concerns about protecting Atlantic salmon. [Fed. Register,
American Lands press release, Assoc Press]

Chippewa Spearfishery.  On Mar. 24, 2000, two Chippewa bands in northern WI
began spearfishing for walleye.  This was the earliest starting date for
this fishery in the 16 years this modern spearfishing has been conducted by
the Chippewa.  Four other bands will begin fishing when ice conditions
permit. [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
permit to one 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.}} [Assoc Press,
personal communication, Reuters, Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

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 April 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]

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, plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by
environmental groups against NMFS filed a motion asking U.S. District Court
Judge Thomas Zilly to halt all trawling for pollock, Atka mackerel, Pacific
cod, sole, and rockfish in Steller sea lion critical habitat in the Bering
Sea and Gulf of Alaska until NMFS finishes a report requested by Judge Zilly
on whether bottomfishing is harming Steller sea lions. [Anchorage Daily

Zoo Polar Bears Killed.  On Mar. 30, 2000, four polar bears, released by
vandels, were shot to death at the Nuremberg, Germany, zoo after zoo
personnel failed in attempts to tranquillize them. [Canadian Press]

HABs and Marine Mammals.  On Mar. 29, 2000, NMFS and National Ocean Service
staff have scheduled two briefings for congressional staff ?  in Dirksen
Senate Office Bldg. (morning) and in Longworth House Office Bldg.
(afternoon), Washington, DC -- on the existing collaborative response
network to respond to harmful algal blooms (HABs) and marine mammal
mortality problems associated with these HABs. [personal communication]

CITES.  On Mar. 28, 2000, the House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries
Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans held 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).  {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]

Seal Branding.  In late March 2000, Australia's Environment Minister Robert
Hill ordered an end to hot iron branding of Macquarie Island elephant seals
for a research program, after a report for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife
Service found branded seals were almost 3 times as likely to be in poor
physical condition as unbranded seals. [Environment News Service, The

Canadian Sealing.  In late March 2000, the Canadian harp seal hunt off
Prince Edward Island was scheduled to begin.  However, seals are scarce and
not concentrated due to the lack of pack ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Because of the poor ice conditions, seal pups are reportedly being born in
the water or are drowning before they can be weaned.  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]

Dolphins in the Navy.  In late March 2000, after 2 weeks in Sitka, AK, two
female Navy dolphins animals were reported to have returned to San Diego,
CA, having performed their tasks extremely well and providing Navy
scientists with a wealth of environmental data during the Northern Edge 2000
military exercise. [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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