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Info Summary for U.S. Congress and Staff


Aldo-Pier Solari <[log in to unmask]>


[log in to unmask]


Fri, 12 Jul 1996 18:48:04 GMT





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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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