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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]>


Fri, 20 Dec 1996 20:07:08 GMT





text/plain (1 lines)

Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 12:54:47 -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]

NOTE: There will be no weekly summary provided on Dec. 27, 1996. The
next weekly summary will be the longer version provided on Jan. 3,

Summary follows:

Marine Fisheries

Proposed Shark Regulations. ON DEC. 19, 1996, NMFS ANNOUNCED new
proposed regulations to better protect and rebuild Atlantic shark
populations. The new regulations propose to reduce the annual
commercial quota for large coastal sharks by 50%, prohibit directed
commercial fishing for five species of sharks (basking, whale, sand
tiger, bigeye sand tiger, and white sharks), reduce the sport catch of
sharks, establish an annual commercial quota for small coastal sharks,
establish a tag-and-release sport fishery for white shark, prohibit
filleting of sharks at sea, and improve shark data collection.
[Center for Marine Conservation press release, personal communication,
NOAA press release]

New TED Regulations for Shrimpers. On Dec. 18, 1996, the Dept. of
Commerce published new regulations for turtle excluder devices (TEDs)
that establish Shrimp Fishery/Sea Turtle Conservation Areas within 10
nautical miles of the coasts of Texas and Louisiana (west of the mouth
of the Mississippi River) as well as the coasts of Georgia and South
Carolina. After Mar. 1, 1997, and within these Conservation Areas,
use of soft (flexible) TEDs will be prohibited, modifications of
bottom-opening hard TEDs will be required, and hard (rigid) TEDs will
be required in trynets with headrope lengths exceeding 12 feet. NMFS
researchers will continue to work on improving the performance of soft
TEDs. [NOAA press release, Assoc Press, Center for Marine
Conservation press release]

Oregon Crab Price-Fixing Lawsuit. On Dec. 17, 1996, the State of
Oregon filed suit against two crab fishermen, alleging participation
in a price-fixing conspiracy to keep crabbers from negotiating with
processors for the best available price during the 1995-96 crabbing
season. Ten other individuals are alleged to have reached an
out-of-court settlement with the state, each paying $9,100. The
lawsuit seeks an injunction against future unlawful conduct, as much
as $100,000 in penalties for each violation, a one-year suspension of
each fishing license, and reimbursement for court and investigation
costs. [Assoc Press]

        Right Whale Protection. On Dec. 16, 1996, the State of
Massachusetts, in response to a federal court order, submitted plans
to require a modification to weaken lobster fishing buoy lines used in
Cape Cod Bay that might entangle right whales. Lobstermen would be
required to weaken buoy lines by February 1997, with the State
developing a special weak buoy line to be required by January 1998.
Floating lines will also have to be replaced by sinking lines. Gear
restrictions to protect whales would be required from January through
mid-May annually. U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock must
approve the state's proposed plan. Gillnet fishing would also be
banned in state waters frequented by whales. On Dec. 16, 1996, NMFS
announced its intention to close the Great South Channel east of Cape
Cod to gillnet and lobster fishing from April 1 to June 30 annually to
protect right whales. [Assoc Press, Boston Globe via Greenwire]

Canadian Fisheries Violations Down. On Dec. 16, 1996, Canadian
Fisheries Minister Fred Mifflin announced that foreign fishing
violations along Canada's Atlantic EEZ had declined from 58 two years
ago to only 3 this year. [Assoc Press]

Canadian Shark Violation. On Dec. 13, 1996, the Japanese vessel,
Shoshin Maru No. 38, and its crew were released on C$115,000 bail
after being questioned about alleged illegal dumping of dead sharks.
The court ruling on this case may not be delivered until May 1997.
[Dow Jones News]

        Frozen Atlantic Cod Fillet Imports. On Dec. 13, 1996, the
Seafood Market Analyst reported that frozen Atlantic cod fillet
imports had increased 4.8% by volume (and increased 6.2% in value) for
the first 9 months of 1996, compared to a similar period in 1995.
Iceland, Canada, and Norway are the primary suppliers, together
accounting for about 95% of all such imports. [Seafood Market

Chesapeake Bay. On Dec. 17, 1996, the VA Marine Resources Commission
voted to continue pot limits in effect during 1995 and 1996 for
crabbers during the 1997 season. [Assoc Press]

Bering Sea/Gulf of Alaska Pollock Quotas. On Dec. 13, 1996, the
NPFMC decreased the 1997 Bering Sea pollock quota by 5%; on Dec. 14,
1996, the NPFMC increased the much smaller 1997 Gulf of Alaska pollock
quota by 45% (from 54,810 metric tons to 79,890 metric tons). [Assoc
Press, Anchorage Daily News via Greenwire]

EU Fleet Restructuring. On Dec. 19, 1996, the EU's Fisheries Council
agreed to postpone until Apr. 30, 1997, its decision on the new fleet
restructuring phase. On Dec. 20, 1996, the Fisheries Council agreed
to measures easing 1997 catch quota reductions -- the quota for North
Sea sole was not cut in half (to 12,000 metric tons) but this quota
was reduced to 18,000 metric tons. Italy and Greece were successful
in defeating quotas on tuna in the Mediterranean. [Reuters, Agence
Europe via Reuters]

EU Satellite Monitoring. On Dec. 19, 1996, The EU Fisheries Council
agreed, by a qualified majority, to establish a satellite monitoring
system to monitor fishing vessel location. Italy supported the
proposal after receiving a pledge of 100 million ECUs aid over 3 years
for converting driftnet fishermen to other gear. The Spanish,
Italian, and Dutch fleets would be the largest in the tracking system.
[Agence Europe via Reuters]

Salmon Along the Pacific Coast

Columbia Basin Ecosystem Report. On Dec. 18, 1996, a team of U.S.
Forest Service/Bureau of Land Management scientists released their
"Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project" report,
concluding that wild salmon populations inhabit less than 33% of their
historic range, but that enough habitat remains to possibly rebuild
healthy populations. In addition, the report concluded that habitat
restoration and protection alone will not ensure healthy fish
populations, but that the effects of dams, hatcheries, and fish
harvest must be addressed. Wild salmon are doing best in areas with
the fewest roads. [Assoc Press]

WA Timberlands Habitat Conservation Plan. On Dec. 13, 1996, the WA
Supreme Court rejected the plaintiffs request for injunctive relief,
ruling that the petitioners had failed to show they would suffer any
actual and substantial injury. [Assoc Press]

Canadian Salmon Fleet Restructuring. On Dec. 13, 1996, a report by
the President of Memorial Univ. of St. Johns, Newfoundland was
released, recommending that fishermen be given a stronger role in
catch allocation decision-making, that sport fish license fees be
increased, that recreational fishing be given a higher priority when
fish stocks are low in abundance, that a long-term allocation policy
be developed to give all sectors knowledge of future catch sharing,
and that commercial fishermen should be fairly compensated if
displaced by new salmon allocation rules. [Assoc Press]

Freshwater Fisheries

Basin Creek Restoration. Jan. 6, 1997 is the deadline for public
comment on a proposal by Bridger-Teton National Forest (WY) officials
to destroy and relocate a portion of Basin Creek Road to allow
restoration of 680 feet of Basin Creek to restore natural flow and
improve habitat for eastern brook trout. [Assoc Press]

Indiana Suspends Yellow Perch Fishing in Lake Michigan. On Dec. 19,
1996, Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources officials announced that
Indiana would join Wisconsin to prohibit commercial fishing for and
reduce the sport harvest of yellow perch in Lake Michigan in 1997.
The Lake Michigan perch population is reported to have decreased 80%
since 1990. [Assoc Press]

Bull Trout. In mid-December 1996, U.S. Forest Service officials
approved a land swap to protect bull trout spawning habitat on Elk
Creek, near Flathead National Forest, MT. In exchange for 960 acres
of Forest Service land, Plum Creek Timber Co. will give the Forest
Service 1,574 acres around Elk Creek. [Assoc Press]

Apalachicola River Water Shares. In early December 1996, the states
of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida agreed to appoint a commission to
decide by December 1998 how the water in the Apalachicola River
drainage should be allocated among competing interests. Oyster
harvesters in Apalachicola Bay are critically dependent upon
sufficient freshwater runoff to maintain the proper salinity balance
in the estuary. After state legislatures approve any allocation plan,
Congress must approve the compact. [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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