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CRS: Daily Summary - 6/9/2000 - Longer Friday Version - Part 1 of 2


Peter Hagen <[log in to unmask]>


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


Mon, 12 Jun 2000 14:49:16 -0800





text/plain (1 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]

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 6/9/2000 (updated

New info and changes since 6/2/2000 are bracketed {...}
New info and changes since 6/8/2000 are double-bracketed {{...}}


{SC Non-Compliance. On June 8, 2000, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries
Commission (ASMFC) found the state of SC to be out of compliance with
Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Shad and River
Herring because SC lacks a sport fishing creel limit for American shad or
hickory shad. The Secretary of Commerce will be notified of this finding
within 10 days, whereafter the Secretary will have 30 days to review the
issue and take final action. The Secretary of Commerce could place a
moratorium on SC's shad and river herring fisheries.} [ASMFC press release]

{National Ocean Day. On June 8, 2000, the House Resources Subcommittee on
Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has scheduled a hearing on
H.Res.415, expressing the sense of the House that a National Ocean Day
should be established to recognize the significant role of the ocean.}
[personal communication]

{{Grouper Seizure. On June 6, 2000, personnel from the Coast Guard Cutter
Marlin boarded a fishing vessel off the FL coast. The vessel occupants were
illegally fishing with cut grouper and shark as bait, so their catch, gear,
and bait was seized and the vessel escorted to Fort Myers for possible NMFS
prosecution.}} [personal communication]

{Large Trawler Fishing Demands. On June 6, 2000, Philippine government
officials began discussing the demand by Muslim rebels holding 21 hostages,
that the Philippine government prohibit large trawlers from fishing in
waters off the southern Philippines. Armed escorts of large foreign-owned
trawlers are alleged to have attacked local fishermen. The hostages have
been held at Jolo, 590 miles south of Manila, since their kidnapping on Apr.
23, 2000.} [Assoc Press]

{ASMFC Meeting. On June 5-8, 2000, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries
Committee (ASMFC) is meeting in Portland, ME. Their agenda includes a
review of lobster abundance and consideration of whether additional
regulations are needed to prevent depletion of this fishery, a discussion of
whether more extensive regulation of the menhaden fishery might be
warranted, and a review and possible modification of regulations applicable
to the northern shrimp fishery. On June 6, 2000, ASMFC's American Lobster
Management Board received an independent peer review of the ASMFC's lobster
stock assessment, concluding that lobsters in the northwest Atlantic Ocean
are experiencing high abundance, but fishing rates are unacceptably high and
likely to harm the fishery. The peer review panel recommended a
precautionary approach to lobster management, with the primary goal of
increasing egg production. On June 7, 2000, the ASMFC's Northern Shrimp
Section approved a public information document for Amendment 1 to the
Northern Shrimp Fishery Management Plan for public review and comment, with
meetings to be scheduled during August 2000. The proposed amendment would
increase the options (e.g., catch limits, entry limitation, and days-at-sea
restrictions) available for managing this fishery.} [Assoc Press, ASMFC
press release]

{Shipping Lanes. On June 1, 2000, the United Nations' International
Maritime Organization and U.S. officials concluded an agreement to modify
shipping lanes and port approach routes along the Pacific coast to move
vessels further offshore and better protect nearshore marine habitats,
especially the Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones, and Channel Islands
National Marine Sanctuaries.} [Environmental News Network]

{Japan-PRC Fishery Agreement. On June 1, 2000, the 1997 fishery agreement
between Japan and the People's Republic of China (PRC) took effect. On June
4, 2000, two PRC fishing vessels were seized by Japanese fisheries
enforcement officers for fishing in Japanese waters without permits.} [Assoc

Lobster Smuggling. On May 31, 2000, the Justice Dept. announced that 4
individuals had been indicted in a conspiracy to smuggle more than $2.5
million worth of illegally harvested Caribbean lobsters into the United
States at Bayou La Batre, AL. The U.S. government alleges that a Honduran
fishing fleet owner sold illegally caught spiny lobsters to 2 FL importers,
who sold them to a woman with connections to 3 seafood companies in CA, FL,
and NJ. Arraignment is scheduled for June , 2000, in Mobile, AL. [CNN]

{Navy Dredging. On May 30, 2000, the U.S. Navy signed an agreement with
federal, state, and Jacksonville, FL, city government officials to launch a
project called XL/ENVEST, wherein sediment dredged from the Mayport Naval
Station harbor and fly ash from the Jacksonville Electric Authority's
coal-fired electricity generating facility will be recycled into
construction building blocks. Dredged sediments, without fly ash, would be
recycled into artificial reef materials.} [Florida Times-Union]

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. On May 30, 2000, the federal
Sanctuary Advisory Council discussed 5 preliminary options to expand the
Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, with some new areas likely to be
designated as "no-take" zones. Proposals under consideration range from
small changes to sanctuary boundaries to an increase of 5,096 square miles.
After additional public meetings, the Council will prepared a formal draft
of alternatives by July 2000 for Sanctuary managers, who will select a
preferred option late in 2000. [Los Angeles Times]

Shark Quota. On May 30, 2000, NMFS announced that it was adjusting the
second 2000 semiannual quota for large coastal sharks (lowering the quota
from 642.5 metric dons dressed weight to 542 metric tons dressed weight) to
account for overharvest during the first 2000 semiannual season. The
fishery was estimated to be able to harvest this quota during a season
scheduled to be open from July 1, 2000, until Aug. 7, 2000. [personal

Horseshoe Crabs. On May 30, 2000, the RI Dept. of Environmental Management
held a public hearing in Providence on proposed regulations to prevent
horseshoe crab overharvesting. {On June 8, 2000, the Atlantic States Marine
Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) voted 14-1 to find the state of VA out of
compliance with Amendment I to the Fishery Management Plan for Horseshoe
Crab because VA's state plan fails to meet the required landing cap, which
is 25% below VA's average landings from 1995-1997. The Secretary of
Commerce will be notified of this finding within 10 days, whereafter the
Secretary will have 30 days to review the issue and take final action. The
Secretary of Commerce could place a moratorium on VA's horseshoe crab
fishery.} [ASMFC press release, Fed. Register, Boston Globe, Assoc Press,
MSNBC, Virginian-Pilot]

Marine Reserves/Protected Areas. On May 26, 2000, President Clinton signed
an executive order directing federal agencies within the Dept. of the
Interior and Dept. of Commerce to work together to create a comprehensive
network of marine protected areas (MPAs) that encompass diverse ecosystems
and include ecological reserves where fishing, oil drilling, and other
consumptive uses are prohibited. A Marine Protected Area Center would be
established within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) to coordinate this effort. [White House press release, Fed. Register]

Illex Squid. In late May 2000, NMFS scientists at the Northeast Fisheries
Science Center, Woods Hole, MA, in cooperation with 2 commercial squid
vessels, began a 10-day survey of short-finned (Illex) squid abundance
between NC and the Canadian border. [Boston Herald]

AK Snow Crab Fishery. In late May 2000, NMFS determined the AK snow crab
fishery suffered a commercial fisheries failure due to natural and
environmental factors. Such a determination would allow financial
assistance to participants in this fishery and affected communities, if
funds are appropriated by Congress. {{On June 19, 2000, the Federal
District Court is scheduled to hold another hearing on the crabber lawsuit
against NMFS over the shortened season and reduced snow crab quota.}}
[personal communication, Anchorage Daily News]

Jellyfish Joint Venture. On May 24, 2000, two companies, Pristine from FL and Shandong Chisan Aquatic Group Ltd. from the People's
Republic of China, announced the formation of a joint venture to harvest,
process, and market cannonball jellyfish and other seafood products from the
Gulf of Mexico. A research effort in FL during August and September 2000
will evaluate jellyfish operations. [Pristine press release]

Import Prohibitions. On May 24, 2000, NMFS published proposed regulations
that would prohibit the import of Atlantic bluefin tuna and their products
from Equatorial Guinea, and would prohibit the import of swordfish and their
products from Belize and Honduras. Prohibitions on the import of Atlantic
bluefin tuna from Panama would be repealed. These actions are being taken
to implement recommendations by the International Commission for the
Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. A series of 5 public hearings will be held
between June 5, 2000, and July 11, 2000, with comment accepted through July
18, 2000. [Fed. Register]

Canadian Groundfish. On May 24, 2000, Canada's federal advisory group, the
Fisheries Resource Conservation Council, issued a report recommending that
cod harvest quotas be reduced for northern and eastern Newfoundland (from
9,000 metric tons to 7,000 metric tons) and Georges Bank (from 3,000 metric
tons to 2,000 metric tons) because cod stocks are not recovering as quickly
as expected. In addition, the Council supported fishermen in calling for
measures to be taken to protect cod stocks from seals. On a positive note,
the Council recommended increasing quotas for haddock and yellowtail
flounder on Georges Bank. [Canadian Press]

Swordfish Quotas. On May 24, 2000, NMFS published proposed regulations that
would reduce the 2000, 2001, and 2002 annual landing quotas for north
Atlantic swordfish from 2,333 metric tons (dressed weight) to 2,219 metric
tons (dressed weight) as part of an international stock rebuilding program.
A series of 5 public hearings will be held between June 5, 2000, and July
11, 2000, with comment accepted through July 18, 2000. [Fed. Register]

VMS in HMS Fisheries. On May 23, 2000, NMFS requested comment on proposed
VMS (vessel monitoring system) installation procedures for Atlantic pelagic
longline vessels fishing for highly migratory species (HMS, e.g., tuna,
swordfish, and shark). VMS will be required of vessels in the fishery
beginning Sept. 1, 2000. NMFS is accepting comment through June 26, 2000.
[personal communication]

Chesapeake Bay. On May 23, 2000, the VA Marine Resources Commission agreed
to consider creating a 297,600-acre crab sanctuary near the mouth of
Chesapeake Bay, where crabbing would be prohibited during spawning season
between June 1 and Sept. 15 annually. After a public hearing, the
Commission will vote on the proposal in June 2000. [Virginian-Pilot]

Maritime Snow Crab. On May 23, 2000, Canada's Fisheries Minister Herb
Dhaliwal announced an earlier opening and an almost threefold increase in
this year's snow crab harvest off eastern Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Opening
June 1, 2000 (rather than July 22), the harvest quota will be 9,800 metric
tons (as opposed to 3,600 metric tons in 1999). First Nation fishermen have
been allocated 500 metric tons of the harvest. Vessel monitoring systems
(VMS) will be required for vessels working in the far offshore areas.
[Halifax Herald]

New England Groundfish. On May 19, 2000, a coalition of environmental
groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of
Columbia against NMFS, NOAA, and the Secretary of Commerce, alleging federal
fishery management of New England groundfish violates Magnuson-Stevens Act
requirements to conserve and restore depleted fisheries. The lawsuits asks
the court to force NMFS to adopt a plan that sets bycatch limits and
modifies the New England Council's definition of overfishing. On May 23,
2000, the city of Gloucester, MA, filed suit in U.S. District Court (Boston)
against Secretary of Commerce Richard Daley, claiming new limits on cod
threaten the city's economy and force resident fishermen to fish in unsafe
conditions. The lawsuit asks that regulations closing Gulf of Maine waters
off Gloucester and Cape Cod each January be set aside. [Boston Globe, Assoc

Capacity Reduction Program. On May 18, 2000, NMFS published final interim
framework regulations specifying procedures for requesting and conducting
fishing capacity reduction programs. Comments are being accepted through
June 19, 2000. [Fed. Register]

Native Fishery. As of May 17, 2000, Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans
enforcement officers had confiscated 38 lobster traps bearing Burnt Church
fisheries management tags. On May 18, 2000, the Atlantic Policy Congress of
First Nation Chiefs met with federal fishery officials, but no consensus was
reached on whether the aboriginal treaty right to fish or the federal right
to regulate takes precedence. On June 1, 2000, federal fisheries
enforcement officers confiscated at least 40 lobster traps marked with tags
issued by the Burnt Church First Nation. [Canadian Press, National Post,
Halifax Herald, Assoc Press]

Striped Bass. Between May 15, 2000, and June 1, 2000, the Atlantic States
Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has scheduled 19 public hearings to
gather comments on preferred long-term management measures for striped bass
along the Atlantic coast, from ME to NC. [personal communication, ASMFC
press release]

Invasive Species. In mid-May 2000, delegates to the 5th meeting of the
Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity, meeting in Nairobi,
Kenya, called for formal talks to develop a protocol to address the threats
from alien, non-native species. On May 19, 2000, NOAA and the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (FWS) published a request for proposals for innovative
research, outreach, and demonstrations projects that would address the
problems of aquatic invasive species in U.S. waters. In this program, Sea
Grant will have about $700,000 and FWS about $300,000 to support projects to
improved ballast water treatment and management. Proposals are to be
submitted no later than June 19, 2000. [Panafrican New Agency, Fed.

CT Nuclear Complex Lawsuit. In mid-May 2000, CT Superior Court Judge
Seymour Hendel is expected to rule on a motion by Northeast Utilities to
dismiss a lawsuit by the CT Coalition Against Millstone, seeking to shutdown
the Millstone 3 nuclear power complex during the winter flounder spawning
season. In mid-May 2000, the CT Supreme Court took a case from the CT
Appellate Court related to the Millstone 2 nuclear power complex possibly
damaging Long Island Sound winter flounder fisheries. Three hours of
initial arguments were scheduled for May 23, 2000. [Assoc Press]

Coral Protection. On May 12, 2000, NOAA received a report of the Danish
freighter Caroline K was anchored inside a "no anchoring zone" within the
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Upon investigation, about 220
square feet of coral damage was found to have been caused by the vessel's
anchor and its chain. The case is being reviewed for possible prosecution.
On May 18, 2000, NOAA published proposed regulations to expand the Florida
Keys National Marine Sanctuary by 96 square nautical miles and establish a
151 square nautical mile "no-take" reserve to protect corals in the Tortugas
area. A series of 6 public hearings on the proposal is scheduled, with
comment accepted through July 31, 2000. On May 26, 2000, President Clinton
directed the Secretaries of Commerce and the Interior to jointly, in
cooperation with the state of HI and the Western Pacific Fishery Management
Council, develop a plan and recommendations within 90 days, with public
input, that would permanently protect the coral reefs of the Northwestern
Hawaiian Islands. The June 2000 edition of the journal "Global
Biogeochemical Cycles" is scheduled to contain a report on the potential
harm of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to coral. By
mid- century, the article's authors believe, a 30% reduction in carbonate
ion concentration in surface ocean waters will result in significant
reduction in calcification rates for coral and coralline algae. Reef
organisms were not found able to acclimate after prolonged exposure to
reduced carbonate levels in experiments in the 700,000-gallon artificial
seawater aquarium at Columbia Univ.'s Biosphere 2 Center in AZ. On June
21-22, 2000, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) has
scheduled two public hearings on the proposal to establish the Tortugas
South and Tortugas North marine reserves, for a period of at least 10 years.
The Council will accept comment on the proposal through June 30, 2000, and
is scheduled to take action on the amendment establishing these reserves at
its July 12, 2000 meeting in Key Largo, FL. {{In early June 2000, Governor
Sunia of American Samoa issued an Executive Order banning the collection and
export of live rock, coral containing living organisms often used in
aquariums.}} [American Geophysical Union press release, Columbia Univ. press
release, Environmental News Network, White House press release, personal
communication, Fed. Register, NOAA press release, GMFMC press release,

IUU Fishing. On May 12, 2000, activists from the Greenpeace were reported
to have blocked transhipment of tuna from the Belize-flagged Hau Shen 202 to
the Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel Toyou, about 400 miles west of Angola.
In addition Greenpeace activists documented the activities of 2 other
Belize- flagged vessels fishing in violation of ICCAT guidelines, and has
called on the government of Belize to take enforcement action against these
vessels. On May 15-19, 2000, the government of Australia, in cooperation
with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, was scheduled to
hold an expert consultation on IUU fishing in Sydney, with a view to
preparing the first draft of an International Plan of Action to deal
effectively with all forms of IUU fishing. [personal communication]

Sea Turtles. On May 12, 2000, NMFS ordered a 30-day emergency closure to
large-mesh gillnet fishing in waters off VA and NC to protect sea turtles.
On May 17, 2000, U.S. Coast Guard personnel responded to reports of illegal
gillnet fishing south of Chincoteague Island. One vessel was issued a
violation, while 10 other vessels received verbal warnings after requesting
time to retrieve illegal nets as soon as weather allowed. In late May 2000,
NMFS ordered shrimp trawlers operating off GA and southern NC to use,
through June 2, 2000, modified turtle excluder devices with larger escape
hatches to better protect leatherback sea turtles. An article in the June
1, 2000 issue of Nature reported that the population of Pacific leatherback
sea turtles may be as low as a few thousand individuals. This compares with
NMFS's previous estimate of a population of 85,000 individuals. This
information may affect Judge Ezra's action on modifying waters closed to the
Hawaiian longline fishery, expected in June 2000. [Assoc Press, MSNBC,
International Fund for Animal Welfare press release, Fed. Register,
Virginian-Pilot, personal communication, Center for Marine Conservation
press release, Reuters]


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]

{{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 before a final version is chosen later this year.
Option B is more stringent and would meet protection requirements for salmon
recovery. Option A would allow local governments more flexibility in
creating their own regulations.}} [Seattle Herald]

{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 harvest. The
restrictions, implementing the Pacific Salmon Treaty with Canada, were
announced a week earlier. 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.} [Anchorage Daily News]

{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 Hanford Reach of the
Columbia River as a new national monument.} [Seattle Times, Environmental
News Network]

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]

Illegal Driftnetting. On May 12, 2000, Honduras authorized U.S. seizure of
the Arctic Wind for prosecution for illegal driftnet fishing 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. {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, Reuters]

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