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Subject: Info Summary for U.S. Congress and Staff
From: Aldo-Pier Solari <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Fri, 12 Jul 1996 18:48:04 GMT

text/plain (217 lines)

Date: Fri, 12 Jul 1996 11:08:58 -0500
From: Gene Buck <[log in to unmask]>
Fisheries Groups:
I'm appending part of a  regular  update I prepare for congressional
staff on fisheries and marine mammal public policy issues as  I  see
them  .   In  deference  to those who have to pay for communications
time, I am including only new items added since my last posting, and
a shortened introduction.  I  will  post  the entire summary and the
longer introduction on the first Friday of the month.
NOTE:  Archived  copies  of  "first  Friday"  longer  summaries  for
February 1994 through the present are now available at:
                               Gene Buck, Senior Analyst
                               Congressional Research Service
                               e-mail:  <[log in to unmask]>
Summary follows:
Marine Fisheries
Bumble Bee Seafoods.  On July 11, 1996, Questor Partners Fund,  L.P.
(Southfield, MI), announced that it was acquiring the brand name and
seafood  business  of  Bumble  Bee Seafoods, Inc.  of San Diego, CA,
from Unicord Public Co.,  Ltd.,  of  Bankok, Thailand.  In addition,
H.J.  Heinz Co.   (through  its  affiliate  Star-Kist  Foods,  Inc.,
Pittsburgh,   PA)   will   purchase  Bumble  Bee's  tuna  production
facilities in Maayaguez,  Puerto  Rico;  Sante  Fe  Springs, CA; and
Manta, Ecuador.  Star-Kist will co-pack tuna under  the  Bumble  Bee
label for a new Questor company being formed.  Questor is rumored to
have  paid  more  than $200 million for this acquisition, with Heinz
paying Questor between $50 million and $60 million.  The U.S.  Dept.
of Justice must  approve  this  consolidation  of the tuna industry.
[Reuters, Assoc Press, Questor-Heinz press release]
Coast  Guard  Boarding  Refusal.   On  July  11,  1996,  the   armed
individual  who had refused a Coast Guard boarding and inspection of
his fishing vessel off the California coast on May 19, 1996, pleaded
innocent to charges of forcibly  resisting a routine safety check as
well as intimidating and interfering with  Coast  Guard  inspectors.
Magistrate Judge Patricia Trumbull set a Sept.  16, 1996 trial date.
[Assoc Press]
High-Seas  Fishing  Vessel  Reflagging Agreement.  On July 11, 1996,
the EU Council agreed to  the  European Community's adherence to the
Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation  and
Management  Measures  by  Fishing Vessels on the High Seas.  [Agence
Europe via Reuters]
Tuna-Dolphin.  On July 10,  1996,  the  House Committee on Resources
reported H.R.  2823 (amendments to the Marine Mammal Protection  Act
of 1972 to support International Dolphin Conservation Program in the
eastern  tropical Pacific Ocean), with further amendments (H.  Rept.
104-665, Part 1), with referral  to  the House Committee on Ways and
Means for a period ending not later than  July  23,  1996.   [Congr.
Apalachicola  Bay  Reopens  to  Oystering.  On July 10, 1996, the FL
Dept.  of  Environmental  Protection  reopened  Apalachicola  Bay to
oyster harvesting after tests indicated no trace of red  tide.   The
Bay  had  been  closed to oyster harvesting on June 4, 1996.  [Assoc
Louisiana Gillnets.  In early July 1996, the Gulf Coast Conservation
Association of Louisiana  reported  a  study  by  Economics & Issues
Research Inc.  indicating that the State ban on gillnet use  had  no
impact   on   retail   and  restaurant  prices  for  seafood.   This
contradicted  the  results  of  a  Louisiana  Seafood  Promotion and
Marketing Board survey released in June 1996  contending  there  had
been widespread price increases and limited supplies of some fishery
products.  [Assoc Press]
Norton  Sound  Crab  Strike.  On July 9, 1996, Norton Sound, Alaska,
crabbers agreed to processors'  offer  of  $2   .25 per pound for red
king crab, and began fishing.  The  fishery  had  officially  opened
July  1,  but  fishermen declined to fish when processors offered $2
per pound.  [Assoc Press]
Canadian Flying Squid Fishery.  On  July 9, 1996, Canada's Dept.  of
Fisheries and Oceans released a  management  plan  for  a  1,500-ton
experimental  fishery  for  neon  flying  squid for export to Japan.
Fourteen fishermen will test  various harvesting techniques.  [Assoc
Illegal High Seas Driftnet.  On July 6, 1996, the U.S.  Coast  Guard
cutter  Boutwell  intercepted  an  unidentifiable  110-foot  fishing
vessel  using  a  2-mile  long illegal driftnet to catch salmon, 250
miles southwest of Attu Island in  the Aleutians.  As of July 8, the
Boutwell was 500 miles southwest of Attu  and  still  following  the
vessel,  which  had  cut  loose  its driftnet.  On July 9, 1996, the
vessel, now 700 miles southwest of Attu, ran up a Taiwanese flag and
identified itself as the  Chang  Fu  31.   The  U.S.  Coast Guard is
seeking permission from Taiwanese officials to board the vessel.  On
July 11, 1996, the U.S.  Coast Guard, now 1,200 miles  southwest  of
Attu,  continued  to  pursue  the Chang Fu 31, which was reported by
Taiwanese authorities to  have  been  prosecuted  in 1989 for salmon
violations.  The Taiwanese government reported it plans to prosecute
the owners of the Chang  Fu  31  for  driftnet  violations.   [Assoc
Lobster  Dragging.   On  July  1,  1996,  the Massachusetts House of
Representatives approved, by a 77-66  vote,  a bill that proposes to
limit the landing of  incidentally  caught  lobsters  by  groundfish
draggers to no more than 100 per day or 500 per week.  Proponents of
this  measure fear that groundfish draggers will increasingly target
lobster while groundfish stocks  are  depressed.  Earlier this year,
the MA Senate had passed a more stringent version  limited  draggers
to  no  more than 50 lobsters per day or 350 per week.  There are no
federal limits  on  lobster  bycatch  by  groundfish draggers.  [New
Bedford Standard Times]
New England Groundfish.  On July 10, 1996,  the  U.S.   Coast  Guard
observed  a  New Bedford, MA, scallop vessel fishing inside a closed
area east of Chatham, MA.   The vessel's catch of scallops, lobster,
and fish valued at more than $23,000 was seized and was to have been
sold, with the proceeds to be held  in  escrow  until  the  case  is
settled.  [Assoc Press]
San  Diego  Bay  Lawsuit.  On June 27, 1996, Environmental Advocates
and Save Our  Bay  Inc.   filed  suit  in  San Diego Superior Court,
charging the San Diego Unified Port  District  with  neglecting  its
responsibility   to   protect  natural  and  recreational  resources
resulting in environmental  decline.   [San  Diego Union-Tribune via
EU Halves Herring Quotas.  On July 2, 1996, the European  Commission
halved 1996 quotas for North Sea herring from 313,000 metric tons to
156,000  metric  tons.   In addition, herring quotas were reduced in
waters adjacent to Denmark, and bycatch allowances for young herring
were  substantially  reduced.   Commercial  fishing  groups demanded
compensation for loss of  potential  catch.   [Financial  Times  via
Salmon Along the Pacific Coast
Salmon  Processing  Labor  Shortage.   On  July 10, 1996, the Alaska
Labor Dept.  issued  a  call  for  additional  seasonal laborers for
Alaska seafood  processing  plants  to  process  unexpectedly  large
quantities  of salmon.  As many as 500 temporary workers are needed,
primarily in the  Anchorage,  Kenai,  Valdez, Petersburg, and Bethel
areas.  [Assoc Press]
Lake Washington Sport Sockeye Fishery.  On July 13,  1996,  a  3-day
sport  fishery for sockeye salmon will open on Lake Washington, near
Seattle, WA.  This is the first  opening of this fishery since 1988,
in response to an estimated return of  about  450,000  fish  to  the
Cedar River drainage.  An estimated harvest of 100,000 fish is to be
evenly  divided  between sport anglers and Indian treaty harvesters.
[Assoc Press, WA Dept.  of Fish and Game press release]
Record  Alaska  Chum  Salmon  Catch.   In  early  July  1996, Alaska
biologists reported that southeast Alaska chum salmon catch  may  be
twice  as  large  as  the  10  million  fish  originally  estimated.
Hatchery  programs  contributed  substantially to the increased chum
salmon abundance, and  the  abundance  has  depressed prices paid to
fishermen.  [Assoc Press]
Salmon Recovery Hearings.  On June 19,  1996,  the  Senate  Commerce
Committee's  Subcommittee  on  Science, Technology, and Space held a
hearing to examine the  status  of  salmon  recovery research on the
Snake and Columbia Rivers.  On June 18,  1996,  the  House  Commerce
Committee's  Subcommittee  on  Energy  and  Power  held an oversight
hearing on the  Pacific  Northwest  Power System, including concerns
relating to salmon recovery.  [Congr.  Record]
Pacific Salmon Treaty.  On  July  10,  1996,  the  10-day  Southeast
Alaska  commercial  troll  harvest  of  chinook salmon ended with an
estimated catch of 65,000 fish.   Once  the catch is more accurately
determined, a decision will be made on whether to reopen the fishery
in August.  Canadian officials announced they are considering random
inspections of U.S.  fishing vessels traveling  between  Alaska  and
Washington  State  and  possible  court  action  against  Alaska  to
indicate their displeasure and concern.  [Assoc Press]
Shellfish  Culture  Conflicts  with  Tomato Plasticulture.  Virginia
Institute of Marine  Science  researchers  announced that they would
begin testing waters on Virginia's Eastern Shore in late  July  1996
to  determine  if  chemicals  and  runoff  from tomato plasticulture
operations were  adversely  affecting  shellfish culture operations.
[Assoc Press]
Freshwater Fisheries
Atlantic Sturgeon.  On July 8, 1996, the State of Maryland  released
3,000 juvenile (year-old) Atlantic sturgeon into the Nanticoke River
in an effort to restore this species in the Chesapeake Bay drainage.
[Assoc Press]
Diesel  Fuel  Spill.  On June 27, 1996, a pipeline owned by Colonial
Pipeline Co.  ruptured and  spilled  about 420,000 gallons of diesel
fuel into the Reedy River,  SC.   Damages  reports  are  incomplete.
[Greenville, SC News via Greenwire]
Draft Kootenai River Sturgeon Recovery Plan.  In late June 1996, the
U.S.   Fish and Wildlife Service released a draft recovery plant for
endangered Kootenai River  white  sturgeon.   Management options for
sturgeon have the potential for conflicting with management  options
for   threatened   and   endangered   Columbia  River  basin  salmon
downstream.  [Assoc Press]
Umpqua Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout.  In  early July 1996, U.S.  District
Judge Donald C. Ashmanskas made public  an  order,  in  response  to
December 1995 lawsuit by fishing and environmental groups, that NMFS
decide  by  July 31, 1996, whether it will list Umpqua River sea-run
cutthroat trout under the Endangered Species Act.  [Assoc 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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