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


Peter Hagen <[log in to unmask]>


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


Mon, 12 Jun 2000 14:50:36 -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]


{JSA Meeting. On June 8, 2000, the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture is
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]

{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.

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]


{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]

AK Subsistence Fishing. 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]

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]

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

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]

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 (NASCO) in Miramichi, New Brunswick. {{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.}} [Assoc Press, personal communication, Canadian Press]

Cormorants. 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]


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]

Makah Whaling. On June 12, 2000, an 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, Reuters, Seattle Post-
Intelligencer, APB Multimedia]

{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]

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

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]

Cook Inlet Beluga Whales. 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.

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]

Right Whale Protection. 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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