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Subject: NEWCRS: Summary of new material - 8/18/2000
From: Peter Hagen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Fish-Sci-request <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 18 Aug 2000 13:30:51 -0800

text/plain (242 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.

 This posting consists of new material from these summaries, obtained
 by extracting only the material in {curly brackets}. In some cases,
 when new material is inserted into an existing paragraph, the new
 material may not make much sense by itself. Hint: if the lines in a
 paragraph are very uneven, it is probably because the new material
 was added to an existing paragraph, and the old stuff was cut out.


Lobster Lawsuit.  In late August 2000, Long Island Sound lobstermen are
reportedly planning to file suit in U.S. District Court (Brooklyn, NY)
seeking $75 million in damages from makers of malathion-based and pyrethoid-
containing pesticides and a methoprene-containing larvicide used during 1999
in CT and NY to kill mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus.  Lobstermen
blame the pesticides for an epidemic lobster mortality event.[Assoc

Illegal Scalloping.  On Aug. 17, 2000, Coast Guard personnel intercepted a
New Bedford, MA, scallop trawler fishing illegally in the Nantucket
Lightship closed area.  The vessel was boarded, 2 tons of scallop seized,
and the vessel escorted to New Bedford, where the case was to be transferred
to NMFS for possible prosecution.[Boston Globe]

AK Crab Fishery Closure.  On Aug. 15, 2000, the AK Dept. of Fish and Game
announced that the St. Matthew Island blue king crab fishery and the
Pribilof Islands red and blue king crab fisheries will remain closed during
2000 due to low crab abundance identified in the summer 2000 Bering Sea
research survey.  The projected harvest level for the October 2000 Bristol
Bay red king crab fishery was scheduled to be announced on Aug. 18,
2000.[Anchorage Daily News]

Illegal Shrimping.  On Aug. 12, 2000, personnel from the Coast Guard
Cutter Key Biscayne observed the Mexican vessel Vikingo I illegally
harvesting shrimp in U.S. waters 35 miles off the TX coast.  The documented
case is to be forwarded to Mexican authorities.[personal communication]

Chinese Trawler Seized.  On Aug. 12, 2000, personnel from a Coast Guard
Hercules aircraft observed 5 foreign vessels operating within U.S. waters
along the U.S.-Russia Maritime Boundary in the Bering Sea.  The 334-foot
Chinese trawler Ming Chang illegally fishing for pollock farthest inside
U.S. waters.  After pursuit by the Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton and the
first-ever joint boarding with Russian Federal Border Service agents (after
the trawler entered Russian waters) that has led to law enforcement action,
the trawler was seized on Aug. 14, 2000.  The Ming Chang with its catch of
more than 1,000 metric tons of pollock was escorted to Dutch Harbor, AK,
where it was expected to arrive by Aug. 18.[Coast Guard press release,
personal communication]

Seafood Fraud?  On Aug. 11, 2000, creditors charged in a state district
court affidavit that a defunct Galveston, TX, seafood wholesaler's alleged
fraud scheme may have caused losses of $5.3 million to a TX firm and another
$15 million in losses to a NJ firm.  Contested claims surround the alleged
loss of shrimp or Spanish sardines in a warehouse fire; the "shrimp" was
used as collateral in obtaining loans.  Also, it is alleged that about $80
million in fictitious seafood accounts receivable were sold.  Trial is
tentatively scheduled for March 2001.[Houston Chronicle]

New England Groundfish.  On Aug. 10, 2000, personnel from the Coast Guard
Cutter Grand Isle intercepted and seized the catch of a ME groundfish
trawler for illegal fishing in the Cashes Ledge closed area.  The vessel was
escorted to Gloucester, MA, where more than 5 tons of groundfish were to be
auctioned with the proceeds held in escrow until any prosecution of this
case by NMFS concludes.[New London Day, personal communication]

Glacier Bay Fisheries.  On Aug. 10, 2000, the Senate Energy and Natural
Resources Committee held an oversight field hearing in Juneau, AK, on issues
involving Glacier Bay National Park including the implications of
restrictions on commercial fishing in Glacier Bay.[personal communication]

Billfish.  On Aug. 9, 2000, NMFS published notice requesting comments on
options for reducing U.S. recreational landings of Atlantic blue marlin to
comply with recommendations of the International Commission for the
Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).  NMFS also requested comments on 1)
options to improve the monitoring of recreationally landed billfish and
swordfish, 2) prohibiting retention of Atlantic billfish onboard any
U.S.-flagged vessel that has been issued a commercial fishing permit for any
Atlantic highly migratory species, 3) the use of circle hooks or other gear
modifications to reduce mortality of released fish, and 4) the allowance of
exemptions to the minimum size for those anglers seeking fly rod/light
tackle records from certifying organizations.  Comments will be accepted
through Sept. 25, 2000.[Fed. Register]

Marine Debris Conference.  On Aug. 7-11, 2000, participants from the United
States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Russian met in Honolulu, HI, for the
"International Marine Debris Conference on Derelict Fishing Gear and the
Ocean Environment, seeking to develop an action plan to mitigate damage from
derelict fishing gear and reduce the impact on marine species and
habitats.[personal communication]

Mexican Lanchas.  On Aug. 7, 2000, personnel from the Coast Guard Cutter
Amberjack boarded and seized a Mexican lancha illegally fishing with
longline gear in U.S. waters 16 miles off the TX coast.  The case will be
transferred to Mexican law enforcement officials.
On Aug. 12 and 17,
2000, additional Mexican lanchas were intercepted off the TX coast by
personnel from the Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne and subsequently
transferred to Mexican law enforcement officials.[personal communication]

In response to the new regulations, in early August 2000,
two environmental groups, SeaWeb and the Natural Resources Defense Council,
ended their two- year campaign to discourage consumption of swordfish,
releasing 700 chefs nationwide from their pledge to not serve swordfish.[Assoc
Press, Fed Register]

On Aug. 13, 2000, Canadian
federal fisheries enforcement officials raided Native lobster fisheries in
Miramichi Bay, New Brunswick, confiscating 748 lobster traps alleged to be
illegal.   On Aug. 14, 2000, individuals of the Burnt Church First Nation
responded to the weekend trap seizure by establishing roadblocks on a major
highway through their reserve and setting more traps to replace those
seized.  The Burnt Church band is one of 5 bands (in a total of 34 bands)
which have refused or not yet completed negotiation of a fishery agreement
with the federal government.  On Aug. 14, 2000, the New Brunswick court
system released 4 aboriginal men charged with obstructing fisheries officers
during a the weekend raid and trap seizure.  The Canadian federal government
had sought to ban these individuals from fishing in Miramichi Bay, New
Brunswick.[Reuters, Canadian Press, Assoc Press, Halifax Herald]

On Aug. 8, 2000, Secretary of
Commerce Norman Mineta and DE  Governor Thomas Carper made a joint
announcement of a proposed federal preserve to protect horseshoe crabs in
state and federal waters off the mouth of Delaware Bay.  The proposed
closure would prohibit fishing for horseshoe crabs within approximately a
30-nautical- mile radius off the mouth of Delaware Bay.  In addition, NMFS
declared a moratorium on horseshoe crab fishing in VA state waters,
beginning in mid- September 2000, if VA fails to comply with fishing quotas
agreed to by other Atlantic coastal states.[ASMFC press release,
Virginian-Pilot, NOAA press release]


Kenai Peninsula Sockeye Disaster?  On Aug. 18, 2000, AK Governor Tony
Knowles' disaster policy cabinet was scheduled to meet local residents and
businesspeople in Soldotna, AK, to consider whether the poor return of Cook
Inlet red salmon and low salmon prices warrant a disaster declaration or
other assistance for the Kenai Peninsula region.[Anchorage Daily News]

On Aug. 3, 2000, Secretary of Commerce Norman Mineta
declared a fishery disaster under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act
for the Yukon, Kuskokwim, and Norton Sound regions of western AK, making
available low interest loans and other federal assistance.[Assoc Press,
Daily News]


BC Atlantic Salmon Escape.  In mid-August 2000, as many as 50,000 farmed
salmon escaped through an aquaculture operation's torn net into waters of
Johnstone Strait between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland.
Commercial fishermen caught about 4,500 of the escaped fish on Aug. 14 and
15.[Canadian Press]

Canadian Aquaculture Funding.  On Aug. 8, 2000, Canadian Fisheries Minister
Herb Dhaliwal announced that the federal government is pledging C$75 million
over the next 5 years to enhance sustainable aquaculture development in
Canada.  These funds will be spend on 1) aquaculture research and
development (C$32.5 million, including C$20 million for an Aquaculture
Collaborative Research & Development Program), 2) improved legislative and
management framework to streamline the regulatory processes (C$22.5
million), and 3) a program to enhance product quality and human helath
safety for the shellfish farming industry (C$20 million).[BC Salmon
Farmers Assoc press release]

Chilean Dumping of Salmon?  On Aug. 8, 2000, the International Trade
Administration, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, announced preliminary results of a
review of an existing antidumping order against fresh farmed Atlantic salmon
from Chile for 9 exporters.  The preliminary determination found sales at
below normal value.  If the preliminary results are adopted as final,
antidumping duties will be assessed.[Fed. Register]


AK Subsistence Fisheries Hearing.  On Aug. 23, 2000, the Senate Energy and
Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to hold an oversight field hearing
in Anchorage, AK, to receive testimony on the implementation of the federal
takeover of AK subsistence fisheries, and to examine the recent decision by
the Federal Subsistence Board regarding a "rural" determination for the
Kenai Peninsula.[personal communication]

Kennebec River PCBs.  In early August 2000, the ME Dept. of Environmental
Protection aided by the Friends of Merrymeeting Bay and consultants placed a
series of 27 underwater containers of live mussels in the Kennebec River
between North Augusta and the South end of Swan's Island.  After about 2
months the 1,500 mussels will be retrieved and analyzed to determine levels
of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contaminants and their source.[Assoc


Canadian Bowhead Whaling.  On Aug. 10, 2000, the Canadian Dept. of
Fisheries and Oceans approved whaling equipment of Inuit from Coral Harbor,
Nunavut, for bowhead whaling.  On Aug. 11, 2000, a bowhead whale was killed
and landed by the 10-member Coral Harbor hunt committee, near Expectation
Point on Southampton Island.  This was the third Canadian Inuit bowhead
whale hunt since the Nunavut land claims agreement of 1993; Canadian Inuit
are allowed to kill one bowhead whale every other year.[Northern News

Mexican Dolphin Consultation.  On Aug. 6, 2000, the Mexican Government
announced that it had made an urgent call to the U.S. Government for
political consultations to ensure compliance of commitments signed by the
United States in the Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation
Program and regarding the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission.  While
Mexico reports that substantial effort has been take to eliminate dolphin
deaths by the Mexican tuna industry, the United States has not yet lifted
the import ban nor changed the "dolphin-safe" definition, due to a case
before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The ruling by this Court is not
anticipated until mid-2001.  Thus, Mexico holds that the United States is
not in full compliance with the Panama Declaration, nor with the U.S.
International Dolphin Conservation Program Act.  Mexico states that it
reserves its right to use the dispute resolution mechanisms of the World
Trade Organization.[Embassy of Mexico press release]

In early August 2000, Japanese whalers were reported
to have killed their first Bryde's whale in their North Pacific research
whaling program.[Humane Society of the United States press release,
Reuters, London Times, Assoc Press, BBC News]

As of July 24, 2000, a total of 189 manatees had been
reported to have died during 2000, with 61 of these deaths attributed to
watercraft.[MSNBC, Bradenton Herald, personal communication]

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