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Subject: NEWCRS: Daily Summary - 4/28/2000
From: Peter Hagen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Fish-Sci-request <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 28 Apr 2000 13:32:11 -0800

text/plain (241 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.


Port Ecology Study.  On Apr. 26, 2000, the Port of Los Angeles joined the
Port of Long Beach in agreeing to a $750,000 one-year study of the marine
ecology of the largest U.S. harbor complex.  The last similar assessment of
this area was conducted in 1987, but major changes have occurred since,
e.g., landfills for new terminals, channel improvements, and modified
pollution controls.[Los Angeles Times]

Marine Reserves.  On Apr. 26, 2000 through June 1, 2000, the South Atlantic
Fishery Management Council has scheduled 9 public scoping meetings in NC,
SC, GA, and FL on using marine reserves as a fishery management tool, with
emphasis on conservation of essential fish habitat and the species
associated with the snapper-grouper complex.[Fed. Register]

Magnuson-Stevens Act Briefings.  On Apr. 26 and 27, 2000, NMFS staff is
scheduled to brief congressional staff on implementation of national
standard 8 (economic impacts on fishing communities - Weds) and national
standard 1 (overfishing definition - Thurs).  Separate briefings will be
held on both the House and Senate side on both days.[personal

Crabber Lawsuit.  On Apr. 25, 2000, thirty Bering Sea crab fishermen filed
suit in U.S. District Court (Seattle) against NMFS and the Dept. of
Commerce, claiming snow crab harvest quotas were too low and that NMFS
should be ordered to reopen the crab fishery.  This year's harvest quota was
about an 85% reduction from 1999.[Anchorage Daily News]

Seafood Safety.  On Apr. 25, 2000, Japan's Health and Welfare Ministry
introduced comprehensive measures to strengthen supervision of seafood
production, distribution, and consumption in an effort to prevent acute
enteritis from Vibrio sp.  Producers will be asked to voluntarily stamp
products with a "consume-by" date and consumers will be reminded to keep
seafood refrigerated.  Mandatory regulations are anticipated next year to
require all seafood to be kept at temperatures below 4 C, require specific
processing temperatures for shellfish, and to prohibit fishermen for using
seawater in tanks aboard fishing vessels.  On May 9, 2000, a subcommittee
report on sanitation of seafood products is scheduled to be submitted to an
advisory panel to the Health and Welfare Minister.  Japan experiences about
10,000 cases of reported food poisoning from Vibrio annually.[Daily

Mussel Contamination.  In late April 2000, a study by a joint Canada-U.S.
Gulfwatch monitoring program of blue mussels at 60 sites from Nova Scotia
though MA, reportedly found mussels in American waters to be, on average,
about twice as contaminated with PCBs as mussels in Canadian waters.
Mussels at most U.S. sites were reported to exceed the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency's screening level of 10 parts per billion for PCBs, but
mussels at only one site (Boston Harbor) exceeded U.S. Food and Drug
Administration recommended levels for human consumption.  Concentrations of
silver, lead, dioxins, and furans were also reported to be higher in mussels
from U.S. waters.[Ottawa Citizen]

Mercury Contamination.  On Apr. 24, 2000, the CT Council on Environmental
Quality issued its annual report, stating that fish in all the state's
rivers and lakes are contaminated with mercury.  On Apr. 25, 2000, a
coalition of environmental groups released a report "One That Got Away" [
[ ] asking states to warn pregnant women and ] asking states to warn pregnant women and

nursing mothers against eating seafood, since the Food and Drug
Administration was reported to no longer be testing mercury levels in tuna,
swordfish, and shark.
Nuclear Plant Lawsuit.  On Apr. 21, 2000, two CT fishermen announced that
they would file a $12 million lawsuit against Northeast Utilities, operators
of the Millstone nuclear power plants in Waterford, CT, blaming the cooling
water systems of these plants for the decline of winter flounder in Long
Island Sound.[Assoc Press]

TX Shrimp.  In mid-April 2000, the TX Dept. of Parks and Wildlife released
a study of the TX shrimp industry, concluding that fishery could collapse
unless new regulations were enacted to reduce the annual harvest.  The state
study concluded that the shrimp fleet currently was catching too many shrimp
before they could spawn, and that shrimp populations are declining rapidly.
TX shrimpers disputed this conclusion and called for an independent review
of the state report before action is taken.[Assoc Press]

Red Snapper Lawsuit.  On Apr. 12, 2000, the U.S. District Court (N. FL)
dismissed a January 2000 lawsuit against NMFS by the TX Shrimp Assoc
challenging an interim rule that changed seasons and other harvest limits on
the basis that the total allowable catch was too high.  The court agreed
with the defendant's argument that, since the rule did not change the TAC,
there was no reviewable agency action on the TAC.[personal communication]

On Apr. 21,
2000, Canadian Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal announced that the Canadian
government had acquired 376 commercial licenses through buybacks that would
be used to help Indians enter the fishery.  Altogether more than 1,400
fishermen have offered to retire more than 5,000 licenses.  A total of 19
out of the 34 Native bands have concluded interim fishing agreements or
agreements in principle with the federal government.[Canadian Press,
National Post, Halifax Herald, Assoc Press]

On Apr. 25, 2000, the VA Marine Resources Commission passed a resolution
calling the ASMFC's harvest limit illegal under VA state law, and requested
a delay in federal action until the VA General Assembly considers the issue
in January 2001.[Boston Globe, Assoc Press, ASMFC press release, U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service press release, Virginian-Pilot]


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]

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]


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]


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.
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]

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]


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.[Reuters]

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]

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]

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]

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