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Part 3 - Info Summary for U.S. Congress and Staff


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


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Sun, 8 Dec 1996 05:42:24 GMT





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Date: Fri, 06 Dec 1996 10:58:02 -0500
From: Gene Buck <[log in to unmask]>

Info Summary for U.S. Congress and Staff - Part 3.

Tilapia Imports. In early November 1996, the Seafood Market
Analyst reported that U.S. imports of fresh or chilled tilapia
fillets were almost 50% higher for Jan.-Aug. 1996 than the same
8 months in 1995. Costa Rica (647 metric tons) and Ecuador (320
metric tons) are the major suppliers for the U.S. market --
together accounting for more than 70% of the import volume. The
value of these imports has increased 58% from a year earlier.
About 97% of these tilapia imports enter the United States
through Miami. [Seafood Market Analyst]

Farm Fresh Catfish Sale. In early November 1996, Hormel Foods
Corp. (Austin, MN) announced that it has an agreement to sell
its Farm Fresh Catfish Co. unit (Hollandale, MS) to an
undisclosed buyer. The sale is anticipated to be final by the
late December 1996. [Wall Street Journal]

Freshwater Fisheries

{Lower Talarik Creek Protection. On Dec. 5, 1996, The Nature
Conservancy of Alaska completed a 155-acre land purchase along
lower Talarik Creek, a well-known rainbow trout steam in Alaska's
Lake Iliamna watershed.} [Reuters]

{Corps Wetlands Permitting. In early December 1996, the Army
Corps of Engineers anticipates publishing modifications of its
wetlands permitting regulations to reduce the minimum tract size
that would have to be reviewed by NMFS, FWS, and EPA. Currently,
developers can fill wetlands of less than an acre without review;
the new regulations would require review of all wetland projects
exceeding one-third of an acre. More extensive review has been
required for modifying wetlands exceeding 10 acres, but the new
regulations will lower this threshold to 3 acres.} [Los Angeles
Times via Greenwire]

{WI Panfish Limit. On Dec. 4, 1996, the WI Dept. of Natural
Resources' Natural Resources Board approved a reduction in the
daily limit for panfish (bluegills, crappies, perch, and
pumpkinseeds) from 50 fish to 25 fish, effective in 1998. This
action was taken in response to concerns about diminishing fish
populations in WI lakes.} [Assoc Press]

{Elk River Settlement. On Dec. 2, 1996, the U.S. Forest
Service and environmental groups announced settlement related to
a lawsuit filed in September 1996 by the Sierra Club, Heartwood,
and Trout Unlimited seeking to stop a timber sale in the
Monongahela National Forest, WV, with concern for the possible
effects of sedimentation in streams feeding into the Upper Elk
River. The Forest Service agreed to reduce the timber sale size
by 1,000 acres and decrease the harvest by about 3 million board
feet, streams would be monitored during timber harvesting, and a
buffer would be maintained between the harvested lands and
private property.} [Assoc Press]

{TX Fishing License System Problems. On Dec. 2, 1996, an
official of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. announced that
the contractor working on a new hunting and fishing license
system for the state has not been paid yet because the contractor
has not met minimum requirements of the contract and the system
is not yet operating. The new system is supposed to generate
hunting and fishing licenses electronically, saving time and
money for the state and retailers. In addition, the system is
supposed to allow the state to suspend licenses of persons behind
in child-support payments.} [Assoc Press]

{VA Coal Waste Spills. On Nov. 27, 1996, the third coal waste
spill in less than 4 months sent water and fine coal to blacken
about 20 miles of streams in southwest VA. Although a fish kill
was not reported, the VA Dept. of Mines, Minerals, and Energy
anticipated disciplinary action.} [Richmond Time-Dispatch via

{Brine Shrimp Harvest Halted. On Nov. 23, 1996, the Utah Div.
of Wildlife Resources halted the annual brine shrimp (Artemia
sp.) egg harvest in the Great Salt Lake after monitoring
indicated almost as many eggs had been gathered as in the entire
season last year. The season was to remain open until Jan. 31,
1997 but, after 14,679,498 pounds of brine shrimp eggs had been
harvested, regulators stopped the harvest to avoid overfishing.
Until the 1995-1996 season, the average annual harvest was around
10 million pounds. Brine shrimp eggs are exported to southeast
Asian prawn farmers.} [Assoc Press]

Lake Mead Pollutants. On Nov. 19, 1996, U.S. Geological Survey
scientists released a report at the annual meeting of the Society
of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry indicating that common
chemical pollutants, acting as hormone disrupters, may be harming
the reproductive success of fish in Lake Mead and 20 other
locations across the United States. [Greenwire]

Menominee Treaty Fishing Rights. On Nov. 15, 1996, U.S.
District Court Judge Barbara Crabb has declined to reconsider her
September 1996 decision that the tribes had surrendered their
fishing and hunting privileges on public lands in eastern and
central Wisconsin. The tribes have filed a notice of appeal with
the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. [Assoc Press]

Grazing Lawsuit. In mid-November 1996, U.S. District Court
Judge James Parker approved an agreement between the Bureau of
Land Management and the environmental group Forest Guardians in
partial settlement of a May 1996 lawsuit charging that BLM was
not timely in preparing a biological opinion on the effects of
cattle grazing on riparian-dependent species in New Mexico. As
part of the agreement, BLM will complete a study by March 1997 on
how cattle grazing along NM streams may affect several species of
fish and birds listed as threatened or endangered. [Santa Fe New
Mexican via Greenwire]

Fish Creek Restoration. On Nov. 14, 1996, state and federal
agencies were to hold a public informational meeting in Edgerton,
OH, to discuss the recently released draft plan's 3 alternatives
for restoring Fish Creek. This drainage was extensively damaged
in 1993 when about 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from a
broken underground pipeline into the Creek. Under a negotiated
settlement with pipeline owners and operators, about $2.5 million
is available to restore and rehabilitate Fish Creek and its
resources. [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service press release]

St. Croix Mussels. On Nov. 13, 1996, the Sierra Club's North
Star Chapter held a news conference in Prescott, WI, asking that
the MN and WI Depts. of Natural Resources and the U.S. Coast
Guard take action to restrict the spread of zebra mussels from
the Mississippi River into the lower St. Croix River to protect
rare native mussels species in the St. Croix. [Assoc Press]

Oregon ESA Suit. On Nov. 13, 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court
heard oral arguments in a case wherein 2 OR ranchers and 2 OR
irrigation districts sought the right to sue the federal
government to limit protection for the Lost River sucker and the
shortnose sucker under "citizen suit" provisions of the
Endangered Species Act. The Court's ruling should be available
in July 1997. [Greenwire, NY Times via Greenwire]

Wastewater Hormones. On Nov. 12, 1996, UK government
researchers reportedly published results wherein they found that
very minute levels of natural human female hormones in wastewater
were causing the sex of fish to be altered. [London Guardian and
London Independent via Greenwire]

Neuse River Hearings. On Nov. 12, 1996, the NC Environmental
Management Commission is scheduled to hold the first of 4 public
hearings on its plan for reducing pollution in the Neuse River.
Under the plan, cities would be required to reduce the dissolved
nitrogen content in sewage discharges by 30% and farmers would
have to plant vegetation buffers along streams or use other
methods to reduce fertilizer and animal waste runoff. [Assoc

Sturgeons and Caviar. On Nov. 11, 1996, the World Wildlife Fund
released a report discussing increasing threats to sturgeons that
are likely to reduce the availability of high quality caviar.
The report recommends stronger U.S. import controls to limit
illegal trade, bans on trawling for sturgeon and more protective
laws in Russia, Iran, and countries around the Caspian Sea, and a
labeling system to identify the products of legal sturgeon
fisheries. On Nov. 14, 1996, fishing industry representatives
from Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan,
meeting as an international committee on Caspian Sea biological
resources, signed a protocol banning fishing for sturgeon in the
Caspian Sea beginning in 1997. Sturgeon fishing will be
permitted in the lower reaches of the Volga and Ural Rivers.
[Assoc Press, Interfax]

Whirling Disease. On Nov. 8, 1996, WA state officials announced
the first detection of whirling disease parasites in the state --
in the Grand Ronde River drainage in SW Washington. [Assoc

Yellowstone Lake Trout. In November 1996, National Park Service
biologists reported conclusion of a successful year in beginning
to eradicate lake trout from Yellowstone Lake. A major
accomplishment was discovery of a spawning ground near Carrington
Island in the West Thumb of the Lake. A total of 180 mature lake
trout were netted from this spawning ground and removed. [Assoc

Illegal Mussel Harvesting. In early November 1996, an Illinois
man was sentenced to 27 months in prison and fined almost $8,300
for illegally taking Mississippi River mussels in Illinois and
transporting them to Iowa. [Assoc Press]

Sandtrap Mitigation. In early November 1996, the Michigan Dept.
of Natural Resources announced an agreement with an excavating
company for construction of a 180-foot long, 5- to 6-foot deep
sandtrap in a streambed to catch silt in a popular trout and
salmon stream entering Lake Superior. The excavating company is
installing the trap as compensation for allowing sand to enter
the stream from an upstream sandpit; the sandtrap will require
regular cleaning to maintain its efficiency. [Assoc Press]

Bull Trout. On Nov. 1, 1996, U.S. District Judge Robert Jones
released a draft opinion in response to a lawsuit filed by the
Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Inc. and Friends of the Wild
Swan, that would require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS) to reconsider its decision not to list bull trout as a
threatened or endangered species. The draft opinion finds USFWS
in violation of its procedures by failing to explain why requests
for emergency listing of bull trout were rejected. If after
reconsideration, the USFWS does not change its 1994 and 1995
findings, the agency would be required to issue an emergency
listing for the fish. On Nov. 13, 1996, U.S. District Judge
Robert Jones released his 32-page ruling citing the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service for failure to provide an adequate
explanation of its denial of an application for emergency
protection of bull trout and ordering the Service to reconsider
its refusal to list this species as a threatened or endangered
species. {Judge Jones gave the USFWS 4 months to act on this
ruling.} [Assoc Press, Greenwire]

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.
End of Part 3.

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