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Subject: CRS: Daily Summary - 6/16/2000 - Longer Friday Version - Part 1 of 2
From: Peter Hagen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Fish-Sci-request <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 16 Jun 2000 12:15:43 -0800

text/plain (358 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 -- 6/16/2000 (updated

New info and changes since 6/9/2000 are bracketed {...}
New info and changes since 6/15/2000 are double-bracketed {{...}}


{Salmon Shark Research.  In early July 2000, NMFS scientists will begin a
2-year Alaska Salmon Shark Assessment Project to tag and investigate the
increasing salmon shark population in Prince William Sound, AK, and the Gulf
of Alaska.} [Assoc Press]

{{TX Shrimp.  On June 27 through July 20, 2000, the TX Parks and Wildlife
(TPW) Dept. has scheduled a series of public hearings on its Shrimp Fishery
Proclamation, proposing increased regulation of the fishery.  The
Proclamation has 5 major components dealing with 1) protection of smaller
shrimp through deferred harvest, 2) additional harvest efficiency and
opportunities, 3) increased spawning success of adult shrimp entering the
Gulf, 4) acceleration of a voluntary shrimp license buyback program, and 5)
restrictions to conserve other marine life affected by shrimp trawling.  The
TPW Commission is scheduled to consider the new proposals at its Aug. 31,
2000 meeting.}} [Houston Chronicle]

{Sea of Cortez.  On June 16, 2000, the Arizona-Mexico Commission, meeting in
Tucson, AZ, was scheduled to discuss a proposal by a non-profit organization
that would urge Mexico to create a Sonora Marine Park in the Sea of
Cortez/Gulf of California.} [Assoc Press]

{{Tuna Innovation.  On June 15, 2000, H. J. Heinz Co. announced that it will
begin marketing tuna in vacuum-sealed 7-ounce foil bags in late September
2000, to provide a firmer texture product that does not require draining.
This product packaging is to be done in Thailand and Ecuador.}} [Assoc
Press, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

{EU Fishery Policy.  In mid-June 2000, two Irish officials published a 379-
page study of EU fishery policy, concluding mismanagement of the European
Union's marine resources results in a loss of more than $2.8 billion
annually.  Other findings include uneven enforcement and insufficient
cooperation between EU-member states.  The study raises issues to be
discussed during the 2002 review of the Common Fisheries Policy.} [Irish

{New England Scallops.  On June 14, 2000, Secretary of Commerce William
Daley announced approval of a New England Fishery Management Council
recommendation that the southern part of Georges Bank Closed Area II be
opened to scallop harvesting on June 15.  Parts of two other presently
closed areas (Nantucket Lightship Closed Area and Closed Area I) will be
opened to scallop harvesting later in the summer and fall.  Vessel trips to
each area are limited, and the harvest will close when all allowable trips
have been taken, the yellowtail flounder bycatch limits are reached, or the
scallop total allowable catches have been taken.} [NOAA press release, Assoc

{{Red Snapper.  On June 9, 2000, NMFS proposed the indefinite continuation
of almost all current red snapper sport and commercial regulations.  Limited
changes include an adjustment to the starting date of the fall commercial
season and a minor change in the allocation of the commercial quota.  Public
comment will be accepted through July 10, 2000.}} [Fed. Register]

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

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

Invasive 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. Register]

Coral Protection.  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" was 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.  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.  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. [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,

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]

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]

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]

IUU Fishing.  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]

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