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Subject: CRS: Daily Summary - 6/16/2000 - 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, 16 Jun 2000 12:16:24 -0800

text/plain (376 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]


Atlantic Salmon Workshop.  On June 19, 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service has scheduled an Atlantic Salmon Identification Workshop in Lacey,
WA.  The agenda includes a review of potential impacts of Atlantic salmon on
native salmonids. [personal communication]

NMFS Biological Opinion Hearing.  The Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Subcommittee on Water and Power oversight hearing on NMFS's draft Biological
Opinion and its potential impact on the Columbia River operations,
originally scheduled for June 14, 2000, has been postponed. [personal

{Yakima Chinook Salmon.  On June 10, 2000, the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
opened the first spring chinook salmon sport fishery in 40 years on the
upper Yakima River.  The salmon return this year is the largest since
records have been kept, and an even large return is anticipated in 2001.}
[Seattle Herald]

{Northern CA Steelhead.  On June 7, 2000, NMFS published a final rule
listing the northern CA evolutionarily significant unit of steelhead trout
as "threatened" under the authority of the Endangered Species Act.} [Fed.

WA Management.  On June 7, 2000, the WA Dept. of Ecology announced two
optional approaches for regulating shoreline protection, with a series of
public hearings scheduled between June 27 and July 12, 2000, before a final
version is chosen later this year.  Option B is more stringent and would
meet protection requirements for salmon recovery.  This option includes
100-foot buffers along certain marine shorelines to protect salmon.  Option
A would allow local governments more flexibility in creating their own
regulations. [Seattle Herald, Bremerton Sun]

Illegal Driftnetting.  On June 7, 2000, Canadian enforcement officials
reported that illegal driftnet activity in the North Pacific appeared to be
far less in 2000 than it was in 1999, with only one ship spotted using
illegal gear in international waters so far in 2000.  This vessel was not
caught. [Washington Post, Coast Guard press release, personal communication,

Southeast AK Chinook Lawsuit.  On June 5, 2000, the Alaska Sportfish
Council, a group of Southeast AK fishing charter operators, filed suit in AK
Superior Court (Ketchikan), seeking to block the AK Dept. of Fish and Game
(ADF&G) from enforcing restrictions on chinook salmon sport harvest.
Through the month of July, nonresident anglers and fishermen on charter
boats would be restricted to only catching chinook salmon on Wednesdays, and
would be prohibited from keeping any chinook salmon in August and September.
The emergency restrictions, implementing the Pacific Salmon Treaty with
Canada, were announced June 3, 2000.  The Council alleges adequate public
notice was not given, and that the specific regulations are not necessary to
accomplish the objectives of the management plan.  {On June 14, 2000,
Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins declined to issue an injunction
against ADF&G's chinook salmon sport fishing regulations.} [Anchorage Daily

Methow Irrigation Lawsuit and Consent Decree.  On June 2, 2000, NMFS filed
suit against the Methow Valley Irrigation District, alleging its diversion
dam was killing salmon and steelhead trout protected under the Endangered
Species Act (ESA).  NMFS seeks to have the District convert its open
irrigation ditches to a more modern system of wells and pressurized
pipelines.  On June 5, 2000, the directors of the Methow Valley Irrigation
District approved a consent decree with NMFS over diversion of water from
the Methow and Twisp Rivers.  The decree calls for the District to comply
with the ESA and prevent fish kills with slower velocity irrigation water
and improved fish screen on irrigation ditches.  On June 6, 2000, a
scheduled hearing before U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle on NMFS lawsuit
against the Irrigation District was postponed for 10 days. [Assoc Press]

Hanford Reach.  On May 31, 2000, Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt
recommended that President Clinton designate the 51-mile long Hanford Reach
of the Columbia River as a new national monument.  {On June 9, 2000,
President Clinton signed a proclamation, under the authority of the 1906
Antiquities Act, creating the 195,000-acre Hanford Reach National Monument.}
[Seattle Times, Environmental News Network, White House press release]

Pacific Salmon Treaty.  On May 25, 2000, President Clinton announced his
intent to reappoint W. Ron Allen, Tribal Chairman/Executive Director of the
Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, WA, as Commissioner of the Pacific Salmon
Commission. [White House press release]

Irrigation Lawsuit.  On May 19, 2000 a coalition of fishing and
environmental groups filed suit in U.S. District Court, seeking to halt
alleged illegal irrigation from federal water projects in the Columbia and
Snake River basins.  The lawsuit seeks a court order compelling the Bureau
of Reclamation to immediately stop delivering irrigation water from federal
water projects to unauthorized users ("water spreading"), a practice
believed by these groups to be detrimental to salmon. [Earthjustice Legal
Defense Fund press release]

Salmon Restoration Hearing.  On May 18, 2000, the House Resources
Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has scheduled a
hearing on H.R. 2798, proposing to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to
provide financial assistance to AK, WA, OR, and CA as well as tribal
governments for salmon habitat restoration projects. [personal

Tern Removal Lawsuit.  By May 18, 2000, the Army Corps of Engineers was
scheduled to file arguments with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
concerning the Corps 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, with the
response by the National Audubon Society due by June 13, 2000. [Seattle
Times, National Audubon Society press release, Assoc Press]

Australian-Canada WTO Salmon Dispute.  On May 16, 2000, Canadian officials
announced that Canada and Australia had reached an agreement resolving a
25-year dispute and allowing access for fresh, chilled, and frozen Canadian
salmon to the Australian market. [National Post]


{Houston Redevelopment.  On June 13, 2000, officials of Landry's Seafood
Restaurants announced plans for a $21 million aquatic-themed entertainment
center, including 200,000-gallon aquarium, along the Buffalo Bayou in
Houston, TX.  Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2001.} [Houston

JSA Meeting.  On June 8, 2000, the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture was
scheduled to meet in Washington, DC.  The meeting agenda includes an update
on a policy framework for offshore marine aquaculture, an update from an
aquaculture effluents task force, an update from a shrimp virus work group,
and the aquaculture research and development strategic plan. [personal

Atlantic Salmon Escapes.  On June 5, 2000, the Scottish Executive announced
that a record 395,000 salmon escaped in 10 major farm escape incidents
during the first 5 months of 2000. These escapes were said to exceed the
wild catch by a four to one ratio.  During 1999, a total of 15 incidents
resulted in the escape of 225,000 salmon. [Daily Telegraph]

Black Carp.  On June 2, 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published
notice that it is reviewing information on the non-native black carp for
possible addition to the list of injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act.
Black carp have been imported to the United States to control snails and
grubs in aquaculture ponds, but could pose a risk to endangered and
threatened native mollusks if black carp should escape into the wild. [Fed.

Halibut Aquaculture.  On May 23, 2000, officials of the Univ. of Maine
announced that, with the assistance of U.S. Dept. of Agriculture funding,
they are beginning a project to study the feasibility of commercial halibut
aquaculture, from egg to market size. [Assoc Press]

Offshore Aquaculture Lawsuit.  On May 18, 2000, a preliminary hearing on
the Gulf Marine Institute of Technology's(GMIT, Gulf Breeze, FL) lawsuit in
state court (130th judicial district, Matagorda County, TX) against the TX
General Land Office and Seagull Energy E&P, Inc., was scheduled in Bay City,
TX.  The Land Office reconsidered and denied a lease use permit for an
aquaculture venture on an abandoned oil platform off the TX coast near Port
O'Connor. [Assoc Press, GMIT press release]


{{Invasive Species.  On June 14, 2000, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
biologists began annual sampling of rivers within 100 miles of the Chicago,
IL, area for round goby.  In early August 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service and the Army Corps of Engineers will begin construction of a $1.2
million low-voltage electric barrier demonstration project in the Chicago
Sanitary & Ship Canal, near Romeoville, IL.  If it works, this structure
will keep round goby from moving from the Great Lakes into the Mississippi
River drainage and keep bighead carp from moving in the opposite direction.
Construction is scheduled for completion in fall 2000.}} [Copley Newspapers,
Chicago Tribune]

{Caviar Smuggling.  On June 12, 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(FWS) announced the first case upholding international protection for
declining wild sturgeon populations, with the June 6, 2000, sentencing of a
CT importer to 20 months in prison and imposing a $25,000 fine.  The
importer also forfeited $70,000 and caviar worth more than $2 million.  The
importer was found guilty of conspiracy, smuggling, and violating the Lacey
Act, paying off-duty airline employees to smuggle suitcases of caviar into
the United States.} [FWS press release]

Fishery Conservation Partnership.  On June 6, 2000, the National Fish and
Wildlife Foundation announced a partnership with the United Fishing
Association Conservation Foundation for $250,000 in fishery conservation
projects. [National Fish and Wildlife Foundation press release]

National Fishing Week.  On June 5-11, 2000, the 21st annual National Fishing
Week will be observed, with fishing tournaments, derbies, clinics, casting
contests, fish hatchery open houses, and other activities and educational
programs scheduled. [American Sportfishing Assoc press release]

Edwards Dam.  On May 31, 2000, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
(FERC) affirmed their decision to remove Edwards Dam by voting 3-1 to deny a
request by hydropower trade associations for rehearing of FERC's September
1998 decision to accept the settlement agreement that led to the removal of
Edwards Dam. [Kennebec Coalition press release]

Atlantic Salmon.  On May 25, 2000, the Atlantic Salmon Federation called
upon the Canadian federal government to fund a C$50 million 5-year study of
North American stocks of Atlantic salmon, to determine where fish are being
lost.  Canadian officials want to discuss the problems with Atlantic salmon
declines at the June 5-9, 2000 meeting of the North Atlantic Salmon
Conservation Organization (NASCO) in Miramichi, New Brunswick.  {In early
June 2000, a U.S. District Court judge approved an agreement between
NMFS/Fish and Wildlife Service and environmental groups, suspending a
lawsuit filed by environmental groups challenging approval of a ME state
plan for salmon conservation and barring NMFS/FWS from requesting an
extension of the Nov. 17, 2000 deadline for announcing a determination on
whether to list Atlantic salmon in 7 ME rivers as an endangered species.c}
On June 7, 2000, Canada's Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal addressed the
NASCO meeting, calling for a new collective international approach to save
wild Atlantic salmon.  {{NASCO passed a consensus resolution urging caution
in introducing commercial farming of genetically modified salmon and adopted
another acknowledging the urgency or an internationally coordinated research
program to identify and mitigate the causes of high mortality of Atlantic
salmon in the ocean.}} [Assoc Press, personal communication, Canadian Press,
Atlantic Salmon Federation press release]

AK Subsistence Fishing.  On May 19, 2000, the manager of the Kenai National
Wildlife Refuge sent a letter to the Federal Subsistence Board, asking that
all refuge waters be closed to all subsistence fishing to protect rainbow
trout and steelhead. [Anchorage Daily News]

Upper MS River Navigation System Biological Opinion.  On May 18, 2000, the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that consultation had been
completed with the Army Corps of Engineers under the authority of the
Endangered Species Act for addressing threats to endangered species from
operation and maintenance of the Upper Mississippi River navigation system
and a biological opinion had been issued on May 15 [ ].  This biological opinion
concluded that operation and maintenance of the 9-food navigation channel
(e.g., locks, dams, dikes, and dredging) would likely jeopardize the
continued existence of the Higgins' eye pearlymussel and the pallid
sturgeon.  The Higgins' eye pearly mussel is jeopardized by continued
commercial barge transportation with vessels and equipment infested with
zebra mussels.  The pallid sturgeon is jeopardized by expected continued
degradation and loss of backwater habitat.  A companion biological opinion
for the Missouri River navigation system may be issued by FWS within the
next few weeks. [FWS press release, Assoc Press, Washington Post]

Canadian Fisheries.  At the EcoSummit 2000 conference in Ottawa on May 16,
2000, a Univ. of Alberta ecologist predicted that climate warming,
pollution, and overfishing could destroy Canada's freshwater fisheries
within 50 years unless major preventive measures were taken. [Canadian


Endocrine Disruption.  On June 22-25, 2000, the Marine Environmental
Research Institute (MERI) , the Univ. of CT, and the Jackson Laboratory will
hold an Atlantic Coast Contaminants Workshop on "Endocrine Disruptors in the
Marine Environment: Impacts on Marine Wildlife and Human Health" in Bar
Harbor, ME. [MERI press release]

{BC Aquaculture Kills.  On June 14, 2000, the Vancouver, BC, Sunreported
that more than 5,000 seals and sea lions, including 500 CA sea lions and 300
Steller sea lions, were legally killed by BC salmon farmers during the
1990s.  In 1999, salmon farmers killed 692 marine mammals, including 470
harbor seals, 133 CA sea lions, and 88 Steller sea lions.  Special predator
control permits issued by the Canadian government allowed salmon farmers to
kill marine mammals that threatened salmon net pens.  Dept. of Fisheries and
Oceans officials have scheduled meetings with fish farmers to communicate
the need to improve net pen equipment to reduce the opportunity for marine
mammal damage.} [Vancouver Sun, Canadian Press]

{IWC.  On June 12, 2000, the International Whaling Commission's Secretary
Dr. Ray Gambell was reported to have said the IWC must end a decade of
inactivity and bring all whaling under international control, implying that
the IWC's moratorium on commercial whaling should be reviewed with the aim
of ending or modifying it.} [Reuters, BBC News]

{CA Sea Otters.  On June 12, 2000, the U.S. Geological Survey reported the
results of the annual spring count of CA sea otters, with the population
estimated to be almost 11% larger than last year.  Between Santa Barbara and
Half Moon Bay, a total of 2,317 otters were counted this spring, compared to
2,090 in 1999.} [Assoc Press]

{Gray Whale Mortalities.  As of June 11, 2000, a total of 46 gray whale
deaths had been recorded along the CA coast, compared to 48 in all of 1999.
Between Mar. 23 and June 11 alone, a total of 24 stranded (dead) gray whales
have been reported between San Mateo and Marin Counties.  Factors
contributing to this increased mortality have not been conclusively
identified.} [San Francisco Examiner]

Makah Whaling.  On May 29, 2000, Makah whalers resumed hunting gray whale,
but did not kill an animal.  {On June 9, 2000, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals voted 2-1 to overturn a lower court ruling, stating that the
environmental impact of allowing the Makah to resume whaling had not been
adequately considered.  The case will be returned to Judge Franklin Burgess
in the U.S. District Court in Tacoma, WA.  The federal government has been
ordered to suspend whaling until a new objective environmental study is
completed.  Others suggest that treaty rights cannot be abrogated, and the
Makah can continue whaling while NMFS completes a new environmental study.}
On June 12, 2000, an injured watercraft operator was scheduled to appear in
federal court on charges she violated the whaling exclusionary zone. [Assoc
Press, Reuters, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, APB Multimedia, The Fund for
Animals press release, Humane Society of the United States press release]

EU Dolphin Deaths.  On June 7, 2000, Britain's fisheries minister announced
that British observers had recorded dolphins being killed by intensive pair-
trawl fishing for sea bass by Scottish and French fishermen; government
officials pledged that action would be taken to reduce this mortality. [BBC
News, London Times]

U.S. Navy Sonar.  On May 26, 2000, U.S. Navy officials announced that
Littoral Warfare Advanced Development tests , scheduled for early June 2000
off the NJ coast, would exclude active acoustic sources.  Environmental
groups took this as a sign that the Navy had become more responsive to
addressing concerns that sonar may affect marine mammals.  {On June 14,
2000, a biologist hired by NMFS to conduct necropsies on whales that beached
in mid-March in the Bahamas reported finding severe trauma and bleeding
around their inner ears that may indicate damage from intense
sound/pressure.  Such damage may suggest a connection to Navy exercises and
acoustic activities in the area.  The Navy agrees there is a priority need
to examine the issue, and has appointed a panel of experts.} [Assoc Press,
Washington Post, personal communication, U.S. Navy press release, Animal
Welfare Institute press release, MSNBC, ABC News]

Keiko.  On May 25, 2000, Keiko was released for his first open-ocean
excursion, wherein he following a boat for 2 hours and 4 miles off Iceland's
Westman Islands before returning to the enclosed Klettsvik Bay where he has
been kept since September 1998.  While Keiko was at sea, workmen dynamited
rock to build a new pier in the Vestmannaeyar harbor. [Reuters]

Canadian Sealing.  On May 24, 2000, Canada's federal advisory group, the
Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, issued a report supporting
fishermen by calling for measures to be taken to protect cod stocks from
seals.  The Council recommended establishing "seal exclusion zones"
suggesting that seal culls might be targeted to areas where cod congregate
to overwinter. [Canadian Press, International Fund for Animal Welfare press

Sea Otters and the Exxon Valdez Spill.  The May 23, 2000 issue of
theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences contained an article [ ] studying chronic
effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill of March 1989 on sea otter populations
in Prince William Sound, AK.  The study concluded that sea otters continued
to be adversely affected by the spill almost a decade later, although these
effects have gradually dissipated. [BBC News]

Whale Sanctuary.  On May 19, 2000, South Africa's Minister of Environmental
Affairs and Tourism proposed the creation of a sanctuary for southern right
whales in Walker Bay, one of the few sites offering an opportunity for
shore-based whale watching.  A proposed new law would prohibit anyone from
operating a fishing boat, vessel, jetski, or kayak within the marine
protected area without a permit annually from July 1 through December 15.
Comments on the proposal are being accepted through June 19, 2000.
[Panafrican News Agency, Environment News Service]

Dolphin-Safe Tuna.  On May 19, 2000, Secretary of Commerce Daly announced
that the United States plans to appeal a  lower court ruling of Apr. 11,
2000, that prevents the government from authorizing the use of a new
definition for "dolphin-safe" tuna sold in the United States.  The appeal
will be decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San
Francisco).  On May 30, 2000, NMFS published final regulations designating
an official mark that can be used to label tuna products as being
"dolphin-safe." [Fed. Register, NOAA press release]

Cook Inlet Beluga Whales.  On May 16, 2000, the AK Dept. of Natural
Resources announced that it wouldn't lease 126 tracts in Cook Inlet
identified as important beluga whale habitat.  On May 31, 2000, NMFS
published final regulations declaring the Cook Inlet stock of beluga whales
to be "depleted" under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
[Anchorage Daily News, Center for Marine Conservation press release, Fed.

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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