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CRS: Daily Summary - 6/2/2000 - Longer Friday Version - Part 2 of 2


Peter Hagen <[log in to unmask]>


Fish-Sci-request <[log in to unmask]>


Tue, 6 Jun 2000 09:24:51 -0800





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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. On June 14, 2000, the Senate Energy and
Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power has scheduled an oversight
hearing on NMFS's draft Biological Opinion and its potential impact on the
Columbia River operations.} [personal communication]

{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]

Karuk Salmon Allocation? On May 2, 2000, the Humboldt County supervisors
voted to send a letter of support for federal legislation, stressing their
interest in affirming the traditional nature of the Karuk salmon fishery,
rather than taking sides in a dispute over salmon allocation. On May 4,
2000, the House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife,
and Oceans held a hearing on H.R. 2875, proposing to amend the Klamath River
Basin Fishery Resources Restoration Act to provide for Karuk tribal
representation on the Klamath Fishery Management Council and modify the
allocation of annual tribal catch. [Eureka Times-Standard, personal

Illegal Driftnetting. On May 1, 2000, Coast Guard aircraft spotted a 177-
foot vessel about 620 miles south of Adak, AK, with as much as 4 miles of
driftnet in the water. The vessel, the Arctic Wind, was sought by the Coast
Guard cutter Sherman, which left Dutch Harbor, AK, on May 2. The Sherman
located the Arctic Wind on May 7. Despite evasive action, the Coast Guard
intercepted and boarded the Arctic Wind on May 8, 2000, finding about a
metric ton of salmon aboard. Although manned by a Russian crew, the vessel
is of Honduran registry and had caught the salmon for sale to Japanese or
South Korean buyers. On May 12, 2000, Honduras authorized U.S. seizure of
the vessel for prosecution under U.S. law. The vessel was escorted to Adak,
AK, and turned over to NMFS for prosecution on May 16. The 25 Russian crew
will be deported to Russia for prosecution by Russian authorities.
[Washington Post, Coast Guard press release, personal communication]


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]

Pittsburgh Aquarium. May 13, 2000 was the scheduled preview opening date
for the Pittsburg Zoo's new $15.9 million, 42,000 square foot AquaZoo,
including the world's first revolving fish tank, a 100,000-gallon shark
tank, and interactive exhibits. The official Grand Opening is scheduled for
June 11, 2000. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tribune-Review Publishing]

Offshore Aquaculture Lawsuit. On May 12, 2000, the Gulf Marine Institute of
Technology (GMIT, Gulf Breeze, FL) filed suit in state court (130th judicial
district, Matagorda County, TX) against the TX General Land Office and
Seagull Energy E&P, Inc., after 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 and ordered the platform complex dismantled.
The project planned to rear snapper, mahi-mahi, grouper, and cobia in cages
at the 4-platform complex donated by Seagull to the Gulf Marine. On May 18,
2000, a preliminary hearing on this case is scheduled in Bay City, TX.
[Assoc Press, GMIT press release]

OK Aquarium. On May 12, 2000, ground was broken to start construction of
the $15 million Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, OK, with the first 2 phases
scheduled to open in spring or summer 2002. [The Oklahoman]

Marine Predator Task Force. On May 4, 2000, the British Columbia Salmon
Farmers Association (BCSFA) announced that it had formed a special task
force of federal and provincial officials and fisheries stakeholders to
identify non-lethal solutions (e.g., prevention and deterrence) to conflicts
between salmon farm operations and marine predators, such as sea lions. The
task force was scheduled to hold its first meeting in mid-May 2000. The
creation of this task force was stimulated by the Apr. 20, 2000 discovery
that a salmon farmer in Kyuquot/Clayoquot Sound, a United Nations Biosphere
Reserve, had killed at least 14 sea lions. [BCSFA press release, personal

BC Salmon Escape. On May 2, 2000, an estimated 30,000 juvenile chinook
salmon escaped from a salmon farm in Kyuquot/Clayoquot Sound, British
Columbia, after a boat propeller became entangled in and ripped open a
salmon net pen enclosure. [BC Salmon Farmers Assoc press release, Assoc


{National Fishing Week. On June 5-11, 2000, 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]

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]

{Lamprey Restoration. In mid-May 2000, biologists with the Confederated
Tribes of the Umatilla released nearly 600 adult lamprey at 3 locations in
the Umatilla River Basin, WA, in an effort to restore the population of this
anadromous species that is a traditional food and part of tribal culture.}
[Assoc Press]

ME Fish Consumption Advisories. In mid-May 2000, ME Bureau of Health
officials postponed mailing fish consumption advisory pamphlets, targeted to
families (with children) that hold fishing licenses, after environmental
groups argued that the state is promoting less stringent consumption
standards than are warranted for mercury-contaminated fish. ME officials
intend to wait for the summer 2000 release of a National Research Council
report on mercury before deciding what to do about the state advisory.
[Assoc Press]

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

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. In mid-May 2000, biologists at the Wild Salmon
Resource Center and Pleasant River Hatchery (Columbia Falls, ME) reported
results of a study indicating that juvenile Atlantic salmon exposed to
periodic pulses of acidic water may die when they migrate to saltwater.
{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 in Miramichi, New Brunswick.} [Assoc Press, personal
communication, Canadian Press]

Spinedace Lawsuit. On May 8, 2000, the Center for Biological Diversity
filed suit in U.S. District Court (Phoenix, AZ) against the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC), alleging failure to protect the threatened
Little Colorado River spinedace. The Center seeks to force FERC to enter
formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, leading to
increased water releases from Blue Ridge Dam and Reservoir and improvement
of habitat in East Clear Creek, AZ. [Environment News Service]

Non-Native Fish. An article in the May 5, 2000, issue of Science by a Univ.
of WY ecologist reports that releases of non-native fish since the late
1800s are responsible for a significant loss of regional distinctiveness and
diversity in U.S. rivers and lakes. Few refuges are left where almost
purely native fish species exist, and areas that historically had no fish
species in common now share many (e.g., AZ and MT now share 33 species in
common; 89 pairs of states that formerly had no species in common now share
an average of more than 25 species). Some states, such as NV, UT, and AZ,
currently have more than 50% of their freshwater fish species introduced
rather than native. Introductions for food and sportfishing were major
factors contributing to this loss. [Asbury Park Press, Assoc Press]

Alabama Sturgeon. On May 5, 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
published a final rule designating Alabama sturgeon to be endangered under
the authority of the Endangered Species Act. [Fed. Register]

Zebra Mussels. On May 5, 2000, a scientist from the Canadian Museum of
Nature reported at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Zoologists
in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, that zebra mussels have eliminated 2 clam
species from a long stretch of the Rideau River and are threatening a third
species. [New York Times, Ottawa Citizen]

AK Subsistence Fishing. On May 4, 2000, the Federal Subsistence Board
declared AK's Kenai Peninsula to be "rural" and thus all residents of the
area are eligible to engage in subsistence fishing on federal lands and
waters. {{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]

Chippewa Walleye Spearfishing. As May 4, 2000, six bands of WI Chippewa
were reported by the WI Dept. of Natural Resources to have taken 30,357
walleye by traditional spearfishing. Their quota for this special off-
reservation fishing season was 40,700 walleye from about 200 northern lakes.
An unusually warm, early spring contributed to the second largest modern
spearfishing harvest. [Assoc Press]

Kennebunk River Pollution. On May 2, 2000, the Arundel, Kennebunk, and
Kennebunkport Watershed Association had scheduled a public forum in
Kennebunk, ME, to begin planning a survey of stream, wetlands, and
tributaries of the Kwennebunk River for possible sources of bacterial
pollution that make many areas of the river unsafe for swimming or
harvesting of shellfish. [Assoc Press]

Cormorants. Between Apr. 25, 2000, and May 23, 2000, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service scheduled 10 public hearings around the country to consider
various alternatives for managing double-crested cormorants. Public comment
will be accepted through June 156, 2000. On May 11, 2000, the House
Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans held
a hearing on H.R. 3118, proposing to direct the Secretary of the Interior to
issue regulations under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act that would authorize
States to establish hunting seasons for double-crested cormorants. [personal
communication, Fed. Register]

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. In late April and early May 2000, about 50,000
year-old threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout were 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]

Herbicide Lawsuit. In late April 2000, a coalition of neighbors filed suit
in Suffolk Circuit Court, VA, claiming a home builder and environmental
contractor caused an extensive fish kill in Cedar Lake when low oxygen
conditions resulted after using the herbicide SONAR to kill duckweed. The
homeowners seek $25,000 in damages to pay for restocking the lake with fish.
A hearing date had not yet been set on this case. [Virginian-Pilot]


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]

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]

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]

Low Frequency Sound. On May 12, 2000, the Ocean Studies Board of the
National Research Council released its report "Marine Mammals and Low-
Frequency Sound: Progress Since 1994." [National Research Council]

U.S. Navy and Sonar. On May 10, 2000, a coalition of environmental and
animal welfare organizations was scheduled to hold a press conference in
Washington, DC, where they claimed they would present evidence directly
linking the March 2000 mass standing of whales and dolphins in the Bahamas
to U.S. Navy use of active sonar devices in the area. The Navy responded,
calling the allegations unsupported. {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.}
[Assoc Press, Washington Post, personal communication, U.S. Navy press
release, Animal Welfare Institute press release, MSNBC]

Makah Whaling. On May 5, 2000, a preliminary hearing was held on the Apr.
20 alleged violation, and the injured watercraft operator pleaded innocent.
On May 6-7, 2000, the Paul Parker family hunted gray whales for the 4th time
in a month, without success. The family's current 10-day permit to hunt
whales expires May 16, 2000. On June 12, 2000, the injured watercraft
operator is scheduled to appear in federal court on charges she violated the
whaling exclusionary zone. {On May 29, 2000, Makah whalers resumed hunting
gray whale, but did not kill an animal.} [Assoc Press, personal
communication, Reuters, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, APB Multimedia]

Florida Manatees. In early May 2000, officials of the FL Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission reported that a total of 124 dead manatees had been
reported from January through April 2000 - a pace of slightly more than one
manatee death per day. [Assoc Press, Save the Manatee Club press release]

Japanese Whaling. On May 3, 2000, Japan announced that, in April 2000, it
forwarded a proposal to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to expand
its scientific whaling program by killing 50 Bryde's whales and 10 sperm
whales annually in the North Pacific during 2000-2001 to investigate these
species' diets. This proposal will be discussed at the IWC's annual meeting
in Adelaide, Australia on July 3-6, 2000. On May 4, 2000, Australian
officials announced that they would protest the new Japanese plans. [London
Observer, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (Japan) press
release, Environment News Service, BBC News, The Guardian, Reuters]

Canadian Sealing. On May 3, 2000, animal protection groups were reported to
have scheduled about 20 demonstrations at various locations in Europe,
Canada, and the United States to protest the Canadian seal harvest. 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 release]

Japanese Whalemeat Sale. On May 2, 2000, the Tomiyamamachi Fishermen's
Cooperative in Chiba Prefecture was verbally reprimanded by the Japan
Fisheries Agency (JFA) for selling meat from a humpback whale that died
after being trapped in nets in Tokyo Bay on Feb. 1, 2000. JFA guidelines of
June 1990 provide that meat from dead whales may be consumed by local
residents or buried, but cannot be sold. Officials of the cooperative
stated that they were forced to sell the whalemeat to cover the costs of
towing the whale ashore and burying its remains. [Yomiuri Shimbun]

CA Sea Lion Shootings. On May 2, 2000, the 21st potential shooting of a CA
sea lion in 2000 was reported at Bolsa Chica State Beach, CA. In 1999, a
total of 77 CA sea lions were reported to have been killed by gunfire.
[Orange County Register]

Cook Inlet Beluga Whales. On May 1, 2000, Anchorage, AK, Superior Court
Judge Sigurd Murphy denied a request by the AK Dept. of Natural Resources to
lift a year-old court order that excluded 70 tracts from an August 2000 oil
and gas lease sale in Cook Inlet to protect beluga whale habitat. In
addition, Judge Murphy added an additional 56 tracts to the exclusion area
on NMFS advice that these areas were beluga whale gathering places. On May
8, 2000, a coalition of 6 environmental groups and a Native whaler filed
suit in U.S. District Court (District of Columbia) against NMFS, alleging
NMFS has violated the Endangered Species Act by not moving quickly enough to
protect Cook Inlet beluga whales. In addition, NMFS did not meet a Mar. 3,
2000 deadline on deciding whether to list this population as "depleted"
under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. 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.

Faroe Islands Whaling. On May 1, 2000, the Sea Shepherd Conservation
Society announced plans for a direct action campaign in June/July 2000 [ ]
focused on stopping pilot whale kills in the Faroe Islands. [Environment
News Service]

Contaminated AK Marine Mammals? On May 1, 2000, AK Natives reported to the
International Conference on Arctic Development, Pollution, and Biomarkers of
Human Health, meeting in Anchorage, AK, that they are beginning to avoid
consuming traditional marine mammals due to fear these animals are
contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxins. Increasing
notice of tumors, lesions, spots, and sores in wild game has been documented
by the Alaska Native Science Commission in a Traditional Knowledge and
Contaminant Project over the past 4 years. [Anchorage Daily News]

Right Whale Protection. On May 1, 2000, Richard Max Strahan filed suit in
U.S. District Court (Portland, ME) against NMFS, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce,
and the ME Dept. of Marine Resources, alleging violation of the Endangered
Species Act by licensing fishing gear that can harm northern right whales
and sea turtles. The lawsuit asks the court to stop the use of commercial
fishing gear that is not whale-safe, and seeks to fine federal and state
officials if whales are entangled in fishing gear. On May 9, 2000, the
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) announced the beginning of a
$150,000 project to benefit north Atlantic right whales, consisting of
deployment of 6 passive acoustic buoys east of Nantucket in the Great South
Channel. The passive acoustic monitoring devices will record right whale
sounds and ship noise for 40 days while scientists visually record whale
distribution near the buoys. [Assoc Press, IFAW press release]

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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