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CRS: Daily Summary - 6/23/2000 - Longer Friday Version - Part 2 of 2


"Dr. William Silvert" <[log in to unmask]>


Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>


Mon, 26 Jun 2000 18:58:28 +0100





text/plain (1 lines)

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


{Salmon Symposium. On July 7-8, 2000, Portland State University is
sponsoring a conference "What We Don't Know About Pacific Northwest Fish
Runs: An Inquiry Into Decision-Making Under Uncertainty."} [personal

{4(d) Regulations. On June 21, 2000, NMFS released its final 4(d)
regulations for 14 salmon and steelhead trout populations between Central CA
and Puget Sound, WA. These regulations prohibit certain activities that
harm or kill salmon populations listed as threatened under the Endangered
Species Act. Certain state or local conservation efforts are exempted from
the ESA's "take" prohibition where NMFS-approved conservation plans are in
effect. The WA Environmental Council indicated it would likely notify NMFS
of its intent to file suit if the regulations were thought to be
inadequate.} [NOAA press release, Assoc Press]

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]


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]

{CT Oyster Farmers. On June 2, 2000, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Farm
Service Agency sent letters to 23 CT oyster farmers, requesting the return
of more than $1 million in federal disaster assistance paid to these
farmers. CT oyster farmers were deemed ineligible for the assistance since
the oysters were not grown in a controlled environment.} [Assoc Press]

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.


{Bighorn River Management Plan. On June 15, 2000, the management plan for
the Bighorn River and Bighorn Lake, MT, approved by negotiators for MT, the
Crow Tribe, and the federal government, was released. The plan is binding
on the state of MT, but the larger Montana Reserved Water Rights Compact
(which includes the management plan) must be approved by the U.S. Congress
and the Crow Tribe. A main focus of the management plan is protection of
the sport fishery and recreational opportunities below Yellowtail Dam.}
[Billings Gazette]

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]

{Cormorants. On May 30, 2000, about 500 cormorants nesting on Little
Charity Island in Saginaw Bay, MI, were shot and killed. State and federal
wildlife enforcement agents are investigating this illegal activity.}
[Syracuse Online]

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. 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]


{Discovery Cove. On July 1, 2000, SeaWorld Orlando's Discovery Cove is
scheduled to open to the public. Providing the opportunity to swim with
dolphins, the facility is sold-out for its first two months already. A
coral reef swim area has not been completed. Attendance will be limited to
800 to 1,000 people per day.} [Orlando Sentinel]

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]

{Caspian Seal Mortality. On June 21, 2000, an official of Kazakhstan's
Emergency Situations Agency reported that 11,000 Caspian seals have died
this spring of disputed causes. While environmental groups assert that the
mortality is related to oil pollution, officials blame unseasonable
weather.} [Assoc Press]

BC Aquaculture Kills. On June 14, 2000, the Vancouver, BC, Sun reported
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]

Cook Inlet Beluga Whales. 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. {{On June 22, 2000, NMFS
announced that it would not list Cook Inlet beluga whales as endangered
under the Endangered Species Act. Officials of the Center for Marine
Conservation announced that they intended to sue NMFS to force an endangered
listing. NMFS is currently investigating 2 cases of possible illegal
hunting of Cook Inlet beluga whales.}} [Anchorage Daily News, Fed. Register]

Dolphin-Safe Tuna. 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]

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. {On Aug. 14-15, 2000, the Ocean
Mammal Institute is sponsoring a symposium on low frequency active sonar, to
be held at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, ME. On June 22, 2000,
the journal Nature published results of a cooperative study with the U.S.
Navy, indicating that male humpback whales lengthen their vocalizations or
cease vocalization altogether in response to low-frequency active sonar. No
other extreme behavior was noted.} [Assoc Press, personal communication,
U.S. Navy press release, Animal Welfare Institute press release, MSNBC, ABC
News, London Times, Nature]

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

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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