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Subject: CRS: Daily Summary - 6/23/2000 - Longer Friday Version - Part 1 of 2
From: "Dr. William Silvert" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 26 Jun 2000 18:56:51 +0100

text/plain (313 lines)

Forwarded Message from: Gene Buck
Sent: Friday, June 23, 2000 3:21 PM

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 6/23/2000 (updated

Eugene H. Buck, Senior Analyst
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Congressional Research Service

New info and changes since 6/16/2000 are bracketed {...}
New info and changes since 6/22/2000 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]

{Gulf Dead Zone.  On June 20, 2000, representatives of 2 environmental
groups accused Iowa officials of stalling action by a federal task force
seeking to address nutrient concerns that contribute to creating an 8,000
square mile "dead zone" off the mouth of the Mississippi River in the Gulf
of Mexico.} [Assoc Press]

{MA Sea Urchin Dredging.  On June 19, 2000, the MA Legislature's House
Committee on Natural Resources and Agriculture held a public hearing on
House No. 5227, proposing to ban the taking of sea urchins by dredging to
protect bottom habitat and lobster pots.} [Assoc Press, personal

{Shark Fin.  On June 16, 2000, Thai Airways International announced that it
was responding to passenger concerns by taking shark fin soup off its
menus.}  {{On June 22, 2000, HI Governor Benjamin Cayento signed a bill
prohibiting the landing or possession of shark fins in HI without the entire
carcass.}} [Assoc Press, Environment News Service, San Jose Mercury News]

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.  {{On June 20,
2000, H. J. Heinz Co. announced that it had sold its can-making operations
in the United States, American Samoa and Puerto Rico to Amsterdam-based
Impress Metal Packaging Holdings.}} [Assoc Press, Pittsburgh Tribune-
Review, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

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.  {{On June 14, 2000, NMFS
initiated civil action against a New Bedford scallop vessel, alleged to have
been identified by the satellite vessel monitoring system (VMS) as having
entered a Georges Bank area closed to scalloping in December 1998.}} [NOAA
press release, Assoc Press]

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

Native Fishery.  On June 1, 2000, Canadian federal fisheries enforcement
officers confiscated at least 40 lobster traps marked with tags issued by
the Burnt Church First Nation.  {In mid-June 2000, about 80 fishermen
representing different First Nation bands gathered in Shubenacadie, Nova
Scotia, to form an alliance that would encourage Native reserves from
signing fishing agreements with the Canadian federal government.} [Canadian
Press, National Post, Halifax Herald, Assoc Press]

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 542.5 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. 15, 2000. [personal
communication, Fed. Register]

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.  {On June 19, 2000, NMFS implemented
regulations to prevent overfishing of gag, black, and red grouper in the
eastern Gulf of Mexico, including closing two grouper aggregation areas,
totaling 219 square miles, to all fishing except for highly migratory
species.} [White House press release, Fed. Register, NOAA press release]

Coral Protection.  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) held 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, Reuters]

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]

Sea Turtles.  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]

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]

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