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Info Summary for U.S. Congress and Staff


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


Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>


Mon, 2 Dec 1996 21:35:40 GMT





text/plain (1 lines)

Date: Mon, 02 Dec 1996 09:57:43 -0500
From: Gene Buck <[log in to unmask]>

Info Summary for U.S. Congress and Staff

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

Swordfish and Shark Limited Access. On Jan. 6-23, 1997, NMFS
will conduct a series of 10 public hearings along the Atlantic
coast on a proposed limited access system for Atlantic swordfish
and Atlantic sharks. [personal communication]

Highly Migratory Species Management. On Dec. 9-11, 1996, NMFS
will hold 3 public hearings (Silver Spring, MD; St. Petersburg,
FL; and Danvers, MA) on proposed regulations modifying management
of Atlantic bluefin tuna, billfishes, and sharks, published in
the Federal Register on Nov. 6, 1996. This proposal would
consolidate several different sets of regulations (50 CFR Parts
285, 644, and 678) into 50 CFR Part 630. The proposed
regulations revise reporting and monitoring requirements,
redefine the "incidental" catch permit category for Atlantic
tunas, address enforcement concerns, and remove inconsistent or
outdated language. [personal communication]

Atlantic Swordfish Drift Gillnet Closure. On Nov. 29, 1996,
NMFS announced a 6-month closure (Dec. 1, 1996 through May 29,
1997) of the drift gillnet fishery for swordfish in Atlantic,
Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean waters under U.S. jurisdiction to
better protect endangered right whales and loggerhead turtles.
[personal communication]

Japanese-Russian Fishery Negotiations. On Nov. 25, 1996, Japan
and Russia began an anticipated 2 weeks of negotiations under a
1984 bilateral agreement on 1997 quotas for fish harvests within
the other's exclusive economic zone. Japan is expected to
discuss that nation's move to use of a quota system based on
total allowable catch. [Dow Jones News]

ICCAT Meeting. On Nov. 29, 1996, NMFS announced that ICCAT had
adopted a program for compliance with bluefin tuna and swordfish
catch quotas by member nations. Nations will be required to
repay 100% for any overharvest as an initial penalty, with
repeated overharvesting resulting in quota reductions of 125% of
the overharvested volume and, as a last resort, import bans. In
addition, ICCAT authorized nations to impose import bans against
non-members Belize, Honduras, and Panama for undermining ICCAT's
conservation measures for bluefin tuna. Non-member Trinidad and
Tobago was to be notified of ICCAT concern that swordfish
activities may be jeopardizing ICCAT's conservation programs and
that continued fishing could lead to an import ban. ICCAT
increased the annual quota for western Atlantic bluefin tuna by
150 metric tons to 2354 metric tons, with the U.S. share being
1344.4 metric tons. The 1997 quota for north Atlantic swordfish
is 11,300 metric tons, with declining quotas for 1998 and 1999.
[Assoc Press, Reuters, NOAA press release]

EU Fleet Restructuring. On Nov. 22, 1996, EU Fisheries Council
met in Brussels to discuss a draft Irish compromise suggesting a
20% reduction over 3 years for most threatened fish stocks
(mackerel, herring, hake, and North Sea cod) and a 15% reduction
for less threatened stocks (such as haddock), with considerable
flexibility in how member states choose to reduce fish harvests
through reducing fishing or reducing capacity. France, the
Netherlands, and the United Kingdom requested that the 1992-1996
fleet reduction program be extended an additional year; Portugal,
Spain, and Denmark claim to be the only nations to have met their
capacity reduction targets under the 1992-1996 program. The
meeting concluded without agreement; EU Fisheries Commissioner
Emma Bonino expressed disappointment that the Council was unable
to come to a decision as the EU would not be able to continue
paying aid to restructure fishing fleets if no agreement is
reached by the end of the year. [Reuters, Agence Europe via
Reuters, Financial Times via Greenwire]

EU Satellite Monitoring. On Nov. 22, 1996, the EU Fisheries
Council discussed a generalized system of satellite monitoring of
fishing activities beginning Jan. 1, 1997. The proposal would
affect only vessels exceeding 24 meters in length, and would
exclude short-term, inshore fishing. Whether or not to include
the driftnet fleet in the initial monitoring scheme was
discussed. The discussion was concluded without agreement; a
decision will be made at the December 1996 Fisheries Council
meeting. The preliminary satellite tracking system is scheduled
to begin June 30, 1998. [Agence Europe via Reuters]

Canada-Chile Agreement. In Ottawa on Nov. 18, 1996, Canada
signed a trade agreement with Chile, who seeks membership in the
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In response to this
agreement, Chilean fishmeal and salmon are among commodities that
will enter Canada without tariff or duties. The agreement must
be approved by both Canada and Chile. [Santiago El Mercurio via
Foreign Broadcast Information Service]

LA Gillnet Ban Protest. On Nov. 17, 1996, 30 Louisiana chefs
held a benefit to express their concern to the public that the
Louisiana gillnet ban is decreasing the amount and availability
of local fresh fish. Proceeds of the benefit were to be donated
to the Louisiana Seafood Management Council. [Assoc Press]

Russian Fishery Concerns. In mid-November 1996, the Northeast
Atlantic Fishing Commission, meeting in London, passed a
resolution reducing Russia's Atlantic perch quota by 10,000 to
14,000 tons. The deputy chairman of the Russian State Fisheries
Committee stated that Russia would continue to harvest these fish
at what Russia considered its rightful and legal interest. On
Nov. 26, 1996, Russia received an official protest from the
Icelandic government after Russia expressed concerns and
increased efforts to exclude Icelandic trawlers from cod fishing
in the international waters of the Barents Sea. In its protest,
Iceland threatened to close its ports to Russian perch trawlers.
Russia is concerned over Iceland's increasing cod harvests since
1993 from international waters in the Barents Sea. Russia and
Norway have both also asked Iceland to cease fishing for cod in
the central Barents Sea in trilateral discussions. In October
1996, Russia recommended that its fishermen cease delivering cod
to Icelandic processors. [Interfax]

Essential Fish Habitat. On Nov. 8, 1996, NMFS published an
advanced notice of proposed rulemaking requesting comments by
Dec. 9, 1996, on proposed guidelines for implementing the
provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and
Management Act relating to identification and protection of
essential fish habitat. [Federal Register]

Hardhead Catfish Deaths. In early November 1996, a large number
of hardhead catfish were found dead near the border between
Cameron and Willacy Counties, TX. This appears to be related to
other instances of hardhead catfish mortality across the Gulf of
Mexico that cannot be directly attributed to red tide. The cause
of the mortalities is unknown. [Assoc Press]

Salmon Along the Pacific Coast

Copper River Salmon. On Nov. 23-24, 1996, the Alaska Board of
Fisheries held hearings in Fairbanks to take public comment on
possible changes in salmon allocation between subsistence, sport,
and commercial users on the Copper River. [Assoc Press]

WA Salmon Habitat Protection. In mid-November 1996, the WA
Forest Practices Board adopted a stream-protection rule developed
as a compromise by Timber, Fish and Wildlife, an association
formed to seek consensus on controversial habitat issues. The
new rule makes it a presumption that a stream with certain
physical characteristics supports fish, unless proven otherwise.
Such a rule could make it easier to protect fish habitat from
streamside logging. [Assoc Press]

Canadian Salmon Fleet Restructuring. On Nov. 25, 1996, Canadian
government officials confirmed that the assistance announced on
Nov. 6, 1996, was from existing unemployment insurance funds and
not any new funds. [Assoc Press]

WA Timberlands Habitat Conservation Plan. On Nov. 5, 1996, the
WA Board of Natural Resources signed an agreement for a habitat
conservation plan with NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service for management of 1.63 million acres of state timberlands
as a cohesive ecosystem of watersheds for at least 70 years. On
Nov. 26, 1996, a coalition of local governments filed suit with
the WA Supreme Court asking that the state be blocked from
entering into the habitat conservation plan, contending that the
Board of Natural Resources filed to consider important
information concerning the state's duty to manage state timber
resources appropriately for generating revenues to finance public
schools and other programs. [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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