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Subject: Part 1 - Info Summary for U.S. Congress and Staff
From: Aldo-Pier Solari <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sun, 8 Dec 1996 05:36:19 GMT

text/plain (583 lines)

Date: Fri, 06 Dec 1996 10:29:21 -0500
From: Gene Buck <[log in to unmask]>

Info Summary for U.S. Congress and Staff - Part 1


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 -- a selection of issues which I view as
having  potential  public   policy   implications  for  the  U.S.
Congress.   My  role  is  to  provide  objective,   non-partisan,
unbiased public policy analysis for Congress.  Thus, it is useful
weekly  to pass this summary by those subscribing to this list to
solicit input about areas where my objectivity could be improved,
where someone's bias shows  through  and  should be adjusted, and
where there are simply  other  issues  of  which  I  am  unaware.
Anyway,  what  follows  is  today's summary.  Generally I add new
items every morning, and remove items after they have been on the
summary for about a month.  Items  in the summary are modified as
I receive new information.

In deference to those who have to pay for communications time,  I
post  the  entire  summary once each month on the first Friday of
the month, for those who  do  not  monitor the group each week or
wish the more complete format.  This is longer the  first  Friday
posting for ......

NOTE:  Archived  copies  of  "first  Friday" longer summaries for
February 1994 through the present are now available at:


I would  appreciate  your  feedback  on  this  summary.  Comments
should be directed to me ([log in to unmask]).  I will  post  this
summary each Friday on this list as long as I continue to receive
helpful feedback on issues.

To  further  assist  me in providing a broad scope of information
resources to Congress,  I  would  appreciate  being  added to any
mailing lists of publications, news releases,  newsletters,  etc.
relevant  to  marine  mammals  and  fisheries.   Where there is a
subscription cost,  a  sample  copy  would  provide  a  basis for
deciding whether  or  not  a  subscription  could  be  justified.
Thanks for your assistance in this matter.

                            Gene Buck
                            Congressional Research Service - ENR
                            Library of Congress
                            Washington, DC  20540-7450
                            e-mail:  [log in to unmask]

Summary follows:

New info and changes since 11/29/96 are bracketed  {...}.

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]

{Bluefin  Tuna  Conference.   On Dec.  13, 1996, the NC Sea Grant
Program has scheduled an Atlantic bluefin tuna conference at Nags
Head, NC.} [NC Sea Grant brochure]

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, published in the
Federal  Register  on  Nov.   6,  1996,  modifying  management of
Atlantic bluefin tuna, billfishes,  and  sharks.   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]

{Passamaquody  Saltwater  Fishing  Claims.   On  Dec.   3,  1996,
District Judge John  Romei  agreed  to  delay  arraignment  until
February  1997  of  a  Passamaquody  man  charged with taking sea
urchins Oct.  12, 1996, during  Maine's fall closed season, after
tribal  officials  claimed  aboriginal  rights  to   unrestricted
saltwater  fishing  had  not  been  relinquished.   The  tribe is
negotiating with the state.} [Assoc Press]

{Shark Protection.  On Dec.   3,  1996, the fisheries minister of
Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state declared the great  white
shark  to be a protected species along Australia's east coast.  A
substantial fine and  jail  sentence  could  be imposed on anyone
killing or possessing a great white shark in  NSW  waters.   This
species   is   already  protected  in  Tasmania  state  and  from
commercial fishing in South Australia state with protection under
consideration by Victoria  state.   On  Dec.   5, 1996, a TRAFFIC
Network report entitled "An Overview of World Trade in Sharks and
Other Cartilaginous Fishes" was released.  This report  discusses
how  limited controls and monitoring of harvest and international
trade in shark  products  threaten  shark populations worldwide.}
[Reuters, World Wide Fund for Nature press release]

{Lower Bering Sea Pollock Quota.  On Dec.  2, 1996, North Pacific
Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) biologists  announced  that  a
60,000  metric  ton  (about  5%)  decrease in the 1997 Bering Sea
pollock quota  will  be  recommended  at  the  Dec.   11-15 NPFMC
meeting.  The new quota would be 1.13 million metric  tons.   The
Council is also expected to consider emergency measures to better
protect seabirds from longline fisheries.} [Assoc Press]

Texas  Shrimper  License Buyback.  Nov.  30, 1996 is the deadline
for Texas-licensed commercial shrimpers to submit applications to
the Texas  Parks  and  Wildlife  Dept.   for  a voluntary buyback
program for shrimping licenses.  The buyback  was  authorized  by
1995  Texas law and potentially affects 3,300 licensed shrimpers.
[Assoc Press]

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]

{Industrial  Fishing  Concerns.   On Nov.  28, 1996, politicians,
lobbyists, and  scientists  joined  in  a  London news conference
announcing the release of a Unilever-sponsored report critical of
industrial fishing practices and demanding more  restrictions  on
industrial  fishing  in  the  North Sea.  Unilever officials have
expressed concern for the  sustainability  of fish stocks such as
cod,  haddock,  and  whiting  that  feed  on  species  caught  by
industrial fishing.} [Reuters]

{Coral Reef Damage.  On Nov.  27, 1996, Egyptian port authorities
announced that, as of Nov.  22, they had impounded the  Ukrainian
ferry  Moldova  that  ran aground and damaged the Woodhouse coral
reef in the Strait of Tiran in October 1996.} [Reuters]

{Sea Turtle Migration Routes.  On Nov.  27, 1996, a Cornell Univ.
scientist and colleagues reported in Nature that migrating female
leatherback sea turtles,  followed  by  satellite telemetry for 4
years, appear to follow a very narrow path between Costa Rica via
the Galapagos Islands into the mid-Pacific.} [Reuters]

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]

Fishing for  Educational  and  Cultural  Purposes.   On Nov.  25,
1996, the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission will begin a series
of public meetings on the Kahoolawe Ocean Management  Plan,  that
proposes  to  restrict  fishing  around  the  Hawaiian  island of
Kahoolawe to permit only  those  on  the  island for education or
cultural purposes to subsistence fish in adjacent waters.  [Assoc

Coral Reef Protection.  The Nov.  25, 1996 issue  of  U.S.   News
and  World  Report  announced the beginning of a $21 million U.S.
Agency for International  Development  project (Coastal Resources
Management Project) in the Philippines to combat  destruction  of
coral  reefs by detonating dynamite and spraying cyanide to catch
fish.  The project will attempt  to  create a local coalition for
sustainable management to preserve the  coastal  environment  and
defeat  forces  earning  money  by  destroying it.  [U.S News and
World Report via Greenwire]

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]

Clinton at the Great Barrier Reef.  On Nov.  22, 1996,  President
Clinton  visited Australia's Great Barrier Reef where he promoted
the International Coral Reef Initiative, commented on Australia's
success in  reef  protection,  and  warned  of  dangers  to reefs
worldwide from overfishing, pollution, and  sedimentation.   [San
Francisco Chronicle/Examiner via Greenwire, Assoc Press, Reuters]

Exxon  Valdez  Compensation.   On  Nov.   21,  1996, the 9th U.S.
Circuit Court  of  Appeals  voted  3-0  to  uphold  a lower court
decision that loss of customers, attributed  to  the  1989  Exxon
Valdez  oil  spill's impact on commercial fishing, was not direct
physical harm  and  is  not  eligible  for  compensation.  [Assoc

Chilean Trawler Protest.  On  Nov.   21,  1996,  Chile's  Foreign
Investment  Committee  rejected an application by a local fishing
company to  replace  3  small  vessels  with  the world's largest
factory trawler, the  American  Monarch  of  Norwegian  registry.
Greenpeace  had  protested  the  proposal  to  use this vessel to
harvest and process  as  much  as  1,000  tons  of fish daily off
southern Chile.  [Reuters]

Degradable Nets in  Mississippi.   On  Nov.   19,  1996,  the  MS
Commission  on Marine Resources adopted a regulation requiring MS
fishermen to use nets made  of degradable material after Jan.  1,
1997.   Fishermen  protest  that  such  nets  are  not  made   in
commercial  quantities, such material is difficult to distinguish
from non-degradable materials,  and  that costs are significantly
higher than non-degradable nets.  [Assoc Press]

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]

Russia-Iceland  Fishery  Concerns.   In  mid-November  1996,  the
Northeast Atlantic Fishing Commission,  meeting in London, passed
a resolution {increasing Russia's Atlantic deep sea  ocean  perch
(redfish)  quota  on the Reykjanes Ridge} by 5,000 tons.  {Quotas
for other  nations  were  unchanged.   Russia  opposed  the quota
allocation and was reported to have exceeded its  1996  quota  by
July.   In  response,  Iceland  closed its ports to Russian perch
trawlers.} 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  (loophole)  of  the  Barents Sea.
Russia is concerned over  Iceland's  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 Barents
Sea loophole in trilateral  discussions.  In October 1996, Russia
recommended that its fishermen cease delivering cod to  Icelandic
processors.  [Interfax, personal communication]

Alaska   Seafood   Center.   In  mid-November  1996,  the  Alaska
Industrial  Development  and   Export   Authority  (AIDEA)  began
reviewing a  proposal  for  a  $100  million  seafood  processing
facility in Anchorage.  AIDEA could decide to sell as much as $50
million  in  bonds  to  partially  fund  the  project,  which has
attracted $16 million from Taiwanese investors.  [Assoc Press]

Baltimore Harbor Contamination.  In  mid-November 1996, Univ.  of
Maryland researchers reported,  in  a  study  completed  for  the
Chesapeake  Bay  Foundation  and the Baltimore Urban League, that
blue crabs, eels, and catfish collected from the Baltimore Harbor
between 1983 and 1990  were  contaminated with heavy metals (lead
and cadmium) and could be harmful if consumed.  MD Dept.  of  the
Environment  officials  reported that harbor crabs tested in 1995
contained  much  less  lead.   [Assoc  Press,  Baltimore  Sun via

ICCAT Meeting.  On Nov.  15, 1996,  a  U.S.   ICCAT  Commissioner
indicated that the United States may seek ICCAT approval of trade
sanctions  against non-ICCAT Member nations Belize, Honduras, and
Panama for  harvesting  bluefin  tuna  in  the  Mediterranean Sea
without regard to ICCAT guidelines.  On Nov.  20, 1996,  Panama's
Commerce  Minister denied any violations of ICCAT guidelines.  He
reported that Panamanian vessels  were  told in October 1996 that
their registry would be canceled  if  they  fished  for  Atlantic
bluefin tuna.  On Nov.  22-29, 1996, the International Commission
for  the  Conservation  of  Atlantic  Tunas  (ICCAT)  met  in San
Sebastian, Spain.  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.
{Belize and Honduras  were  given  6  months  to  respond  before
sanctions  would be imposed; Panama was given until Jan.  1, 1998
to provide proof that  actions  already taken have been effective
in controlling illegal fishing.} Non-member Trinidad  and  Tobago
was to be notified of ICCAT concern that its swordfish activities
jeopardize  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.  {On Dec.  3,
1996, the  Japanese  Fishery  Agency  announced  that,  if  ICCAT
conditions  are  not  met,  Japan  would  ban imports of Atlantic
bluefin tuna from  Belize,  Honduras,  and  Panama.  Tuna imports
from these 3 nations accounts for about  10%  of  Japan's  annual
consumption.}  [Assoc  Press,  Reuters, NOAA press release, Kyodo
via Foreign Broadcast Information Service]

Canadian Shellfish  Fees.   On  Nov.   15,  1996,  WA Sen.  Patty
Murray wrote to the Office  of  the  U.S.   Trade  Representative
requesting  an  investigation  of  new  fees imposed by Canada on
shellfish imports from the United States.  While Canada considers
these to be permitted  as  inspection fees, Sen.  Murray believes
they may constitute an unfair  trade  practice  in  violation  of
NAFTA.  [Assoc Press]

Halibut  and  Sablefish  IFQs.   On  Nov.   15,  1996,  the  1996
southeast  Alaska halibut/sablefish IFQ season ended; in the week
before the season closed, about 6%  of the quota for each species
was not yet harvested, compared to 14% of the halibut  quota  and
11% of the sablefish quota unharvested in 1995.  [Assoc Press]

Volusia County Sea Turtle Nesting.  On Nov.  15, 1996, U.S.  Fish
and  Wildlife  Service  officials  endorsed  Volusia County, FL's
application for an  incidental  take  permit under the Endangered
Species Act that would allow driving on selected  Volusia  County
beaches  as  long as the county takes steps outlined in a habitat
conservation plan  to  minimize  the  threat  to turtles.  [Assoc
Press, Orlando Sentinel via Greenwire]

NJ Shellfish Waters.  On Nov.  14, 1996, the Commissioner of NJ's
Dept.  of Environmental Protection announced the opening of 4,794
acres to shellfishing, due to decreased pollution in NJ bays  and
ocean waters.  This results in 87% of available state waters open
to  shellfishing.   Only  6 acres of new closures were announced.
[Assoc Press]

Shrimp Bycatch Reduction.  On Nov.   14, 1996, the Gulf of Mexico
Fishery Management Council voted  11-1  (with  1  abstention)  to
recommend  that  shrimpers  be  required to use bycatch reduction
devices (BRDs) when trawling  in  Gulf  of  Mexico waters west of
Cape San Blas, FL, between  10  and  100  fathoms  deep.   [Assoc

San  Onofre Kelp Reef.  On Nov.  13, 1996, the California Coastal
Commission  was  scheduled  to  consider  a  request  by Southern
California Edison to approve a 16.8 acre experimental  kelp  reef
to  mitigate  the  impact  of its San Onofre nuclear power plant,
instead of a larger reef agreed to in 1991.  The utility contends
the larger reef is not needed.  [Greenwire]

Gulf of Mexico Red Tide.  On  Nov.  13, 1996, the LA state health
officials suspended oyster harvesting in LA waters  east  of  the
Mississippi  River  Gulf  Outlet  after toxic red tide algae were
discovered for the first time  in  LA waters.  Harvesting from MS
and AL oyster reefs has also been prohibited;  Mississippi  Sound
oyster  reefs  were closed on Nov.  7, 1996, while Mobile Bay and
adjacent AL waters  were  closed  on  Nov.   10.  According to AL
Dept.  of  Conservation  and  Natural  Resources  biologists,  no
historical  record  is  known of red tides in AL waters.  {Waters
along about two-thirds of  the  Texas coast between Matagorda Bay
and the Rio Grande River have been closed  since  early  November
1996.} [Assoc Press]

Invasive  Species.   On Nov.  13, 1996, NOAA will hold a national
Forum on Coastal and Marine  Aquatic  Nuisance Species as part of
the fall Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force meeting at  the  San
Francisco  Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  [The Nature Conservancy
press release via Greenwire, Congr.  Record, NOAA press release]

NC Fisheries Moratorium.  On  Nov.   12,  1996, the NC Moratorium
Steering  Committee   submitted   its   155-page   final   report
recommending  changes  to  overhaul NC marine fisheries to the NC
Joint Legislative  Commission  on  Seafood  and Aquaculture.  The
Commission  will  meet  Dec.   9-10,  1996,   to   consider   the
Committee's report.  [Assoc Press]

Pfiesteria  problems.  On Nov.  11, 1996, USA Today reported that
Duke Univ.  neurologists  had  found  a  link  between the algae,
Pfiesteria piscida, and short-term memory loss in rats,  and  may
be  responsible  for painful illness and amnesia in humans.  [USA
Today via Greenwire]

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]

Shrimp Embargo.  On Nov.  8, 1996, the United States  lifted  its
embargo  on importation of shrimp from Thailand in recognition of
Thailand's enactment of turtle  protection measures on Sept.  15,
1996.  On Nov.  11, 1996, Thai officials announced that  Thailand
would  not  retract  its  earlier  complaint  to  the World Trade
Organization concerning the U.S.   shrimp  embargo.  On Nov.  19,
1996, representatives of nations filing the WTO complaint against
the United States will meet with U.S.  officials  in  Geneva  for
discussions.  [NFI press release, Dow Jones News]

Japan-South  Korea Fisheries Talks.  On Nov.  7-8, 1996, Japanese
and South Korean officials will  meet  in Tokyo for a third round
of  discussions  to  review  the  bilateral  fisheries  agreement
between these nations.  Japan is expected to seek adoption  of  a
new   understanding   that   the  authority  to  control  illegal
operations by fishing vessels should be granted to the country in
whose waters the illegal operations occur.  [Dow Jones News]

Florida Net Ban.   On  Nov.   7,  1996,  Governor  Chiles and his
Cabinet  voted  to  adopt  a  recommendation  by  the  FL  Marine
Fisheries Commission for a 90-day emergency ban  on  the  use  of
tarp  nets to harvest mullet.  [Tampa Tribune and St.  Petersburg
Times via Greenwire]

Commercial Fishing License Fraud.   On  Nov.   7, 1996, NC Marine
Patrol officers announced that they had recently  arrested  eight
commercial  fishermen  for fraud, after they were alleged to have
purchased resident NC  commercial  fishing licenses without being
state residents, and that more arrests on  similar  charges  were
anticipated.  [Assoc Press]

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]

Coast Guard Boarding Refusal.  On  Nov.   5, 1996, a federal jury
convicted a commercial salmon fisherman  of  2  misdemeanors  for
refusing  to  allow  Coast  Guard  personnel to board his fishing
vessel  off  central  California  in   May  1996  for  a  routine
inspection, but without a warrant; the fisherman was acquitted on
3 felony charges.  Sentencing is scheduled  for  Feb.   3,  1996,
with  as  much  as  a  year  in  jail and $100,000 fine possible.
[Assoc Press]

FL Keys Sanctuary Referendum.   On  Nov.   5, 1996, 52% of Monroe
County, Florida, voters  voted  against  retaining  the  FL  Keys
National  Marine  Sanctuary  in  a non-binding referendum; 42% of
voters favored the Sanctuary.  [Assoc Press]

New England Groundfish.   As  of  Nov.   1,  1996,  the Dept.  of
Commerce had received applications from  164  groundfish  vessels
(109  from  Massachusetts  and 38 from Maine) for its $23 million
vessel buyout program,  with  bids  totalling $58.25 million.  In
early November 1996, NMFS managers  announced  that  New  England
fishermen had significantly exceeded the 1996 annual target quota
for  cod -- 7.1 million pounds caught in the Gulf of Maine versus
a target of 6.1 million pounds (17% over) and more than 8 million
pounds caught on  Georges  Bank  versus  a  target of 4.1 million
pounds (nearly double).  Speculation  is  that  the  New  England
Fishery  Management  Council may be forced to consider additional
options to  limit  groundfish  harvest.   Dec.   15,  1996 is the
deadline for  receipt  of  applications  from  groundfish  permit
holders  to  participate in a Jan.  2 to Mar.  31, 1997 NMFS test
of  a  new  satellite   system  that  will  automatically  report
days-at-sea.  {On Dec.  1, 1996, the U.S.  Coast Guard seized the
catch of a New  Bedford,  MA  scallop  vessel  allegedly  fishing
inside  a  closed  area  east  of Cape Cod.  The catch, valued at
$12,000, will be sold and  the  proceeds held in escrow until the
case is resolved.  On Dec.  11, 1996,  the  New  England  Fishery
Management  Council  is  scheduled  to  discuss  its Multispecies
Monitoring  Committee's  report  concluding  that  two  years  of
commercial fishery restrictions have been insufficient to restore
groundfish stocks, and that  commercial  vessels would have to be
limited to 14 days of fishing annually to eliminate  overfishing.
The  Committee  report  presents  4  options  for  addressing the
continuing problem;  the  most  restrictive  option  would reduce
groundfish  harvest  by  74%  to  eliminate   overfishing.    The
Committee  observes  that, while haddock stocks are showing signs
of recovery, cod stocks remain near historic lows.} [Assoc Press,
Fed.  Register]

Salmon Along the Pacific Coast

{March 1996 Salmon Suit.  On  Dec.   6, 1996, the ten fishermen's
and environmental groups that filed a Mar.  14, 1996  lawsuit  in
federal  court  charging  that NMFS, the Army Corps of Engineers,
and the  Bureau  of  Reclamation  were  violating  the Endangered
Species Act by developing salmon restoration measures  that  fell
short of what is required for operating 8 dams along the Columbia
and Snake Rivers to meet flow targets, and failing to follow even
their  flawed  restoration  plan, were scheduled to file a motion
for summary judgment.  These  groups  are claiming that there was
no scientific justification for  "last  minute"  changes  to  the
federal  biological  opinion  on  measures  of  success in salmon
recovery, and that such  changes  were inappropriate.  The groups
seek to open new consultation with states and tribes  leading  to
development  of  a  modified salmon recovery plan.  Judge Malcolm
Marsh is hearing this case and the motion.} [Assoc Press]

{Dworshak  Dam  Drawdown.   On  Dec.   4,  1996,  Army  Corps  of
Engineers officials announced that they planned to lower Dworshak
Reservoir (Idaho)  by  100  feet  by  mid-September  1997 to seal
bedrock cracks beneath the dam on the  Clearwater  River.   Water
levels  will start being lowered after the July 4 holiday, and be
lowered 70 feet by Aug.  15.} [Assoc Press]

{New Habitat Conservation  Plan  Guidelines.   On  Dec.  3, 1996,
NMFS and  FWS  officials  jointly  announced  new  guidelines  to
streamline  and  expedite  the  habitat  conservation  plan (HCP)
permit process  under  the  Endangered  Species  Act.   A new HCP
handbook outlines a special "low-effect" HCP category  for  small
landowners  and  other minor- or negligible-impact projects.  The
new  guidelines  aim   for   greater  flexibility  in  procedural
decisions and target approval deadlines.} [FWS press release]

{Pacific Salmon Treaty.   On  Dec.   2,  1996,  British  Columbia
scientists  reported that 1996 BC Fraser River sockeye salmon run
totalled 4.3  million  fish,  significantly  higher  than the 1.6
million initial forecast.  An excellent run of 7 million  sockeye
was  reported for the Skeena River.  However, coho salmon returns
along the south coast were near record lows.} [Assoc Press]

{Central CA Coho  Salmon.   Dec.   2,  1996  was the deadline for
comments on NMFS interim forestry guidelines to  protect  central
CA  coho salmon habitat.  The interim guidelines are developed to
assist landowners in  complying  with  the Endangered Species Act
when the listing of central CA coho salmon becomes  effective  on
Dec.  30, 1996.} [NMFS news release]

{Gas Bubble Research Meeting.  In late November 1996, researchers
met  in  Portland,  OR,  to  review  gas  bubble  research in the
Columbia-Snake  River   drainage   over   the   past  year.}  [NW

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]

{Payette River Council.  On Nov.  21, 1996, the Payette Watershed
Council met for  its  initial  meeting.   This new public-private
group seeks to resolve water release scheduling concerns  in  the
Payette  watershed  to  provide  water from Cascade Reservoir for
Snake River salmon migration  in  a  manner  that is sensitive to
other water use and quality concerns  in  the  drainage.}  [Assoc

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.  {Timber, Fish and Wildlife is coordinating a
long-term,  comprehensive study of ways to better protect fish in
waterways  on  forested  land,  seeking  to  forestall additional
endangered and  threatened  species  listings  of  fish.}  [Assoc
Press, Tacoma News Tribune via Greenwire]

Alaska Salmon Waste.  On Nov.  12-13, 1996, the AK Dept.  of Fish
and  Game  coordinated  an  Anchorage meeting of fishing industry
representatives, salmon hatchery  operators, state officials, and
charity managers to consider  how  to  better  deal  with  excess
salmon  that  cannot  be  marketed.   AK  Governor  Tony  Knowles
requested  this  meeting  in  a  September  1996  letter to Earth
activists who protested waste during  the 1996 salmon season.  On
Nov.  13, 1996, an Earth activist filed suit in  Alaska  Superior
Court  against  the  state  of Alaska seeking to void regulations
permitting fish  carcasses  to  be  dumped  after  roe stripping.
[Assoc Press, Reuters]

Cook Inlet Salmon.  On Nov.  11-18, 1996,  the  Alaska  Board  of
Fisheries  was  scheduled to meet to consider revisions to all 13
upper  Cook  Inlet  salmon  management  plans.   No  oral  public
testimony will  be  taken,  but  testimony  is  being sought from
various advisory committees.  On Nov.  12, 1996, the Alaska Board
of Fisheries voted 6-1 to postpone  discussion  of  controversial
Cook  Inlet  salmon  management  issues until March 1997.  [Assoc
End of Part 1

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