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CRS Summary - Part 1/3


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


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


Tue, 15 Apr 1997 19:33:50 GMT





text/plain (1 lines)

Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 08:38:27 -0400
From: Kate Wing <[log in to unmask]>

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 4/11/97
(available via e-mail; updated daily) Congressional Research

New info and changes since 4/4/97 are bracketed {...}. New info
and changes since 4/10/97 are in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Marine Fisheries

ICCAT Advisory Meeting. On Apr. 22-24, 1997, the advisory
committee to the U.S. section to the International Convention
for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) will meet in
Silver Spring, MD, to discuss 1996 ICCAT accomplishments, 1997
management and research activities, trade and compliance issues,
implementation of Sustainable Fisheries Act provisions, and
results of species working group meetings. [Federal Register]



{Glacier Bay Commercial Fishing. On Apr. 8, 1997, Glacier Bay
National Park (AK) officials announced that proposed regulations
would be published in late April 1997 gradually eliminating
commercial fishing in wilderness waters of the Park. Commercial
fishing would still be allowed in outer coastal areas. A March
1997 federal appeal court decision upheld a lower court ruling
that federal law prohibits commercial fishing in the park's
wilderness waters.} [Assoc Press]

{AK Seafood Tax Lawsuit. On Apr. 8, 1997, the American Factory
Trawler Assoc. (AFTA) announced that it was dropping its 1994
lawsuit in AK Superior Court challenging Alaska's 3.3% tax on
at-sea processors of seafood AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL, after the AK
Legislature changed the tax law in 1996 to address most of the
perceived inequities that concerned the AFTA. The AFTA decision
will release MORE THAN $13 million in taxes held in escrow while
the case was pending.} [Assoc Press, Reuters]

{Beach Renourishment and Sea Turtles. On Apr. 7, 1997, NMFS
halted hopper dredging in FL, SC, and NC after U.S. Corps of
Engineers projects to replenish beach sand killed 19 sea turtles.
NMFS allowed a $54 million Myrtle Beach, SC, project to resume on
Apr. 8 after the hopper dredge was replaced by a hydraulic
dredge. NMFS had agreed that the Corps could kill as many as 20
turtles during these projects; the Corps is seeking a
modification to allow as many as 30 turtles to be killed.} [Assoc

{Humane Society TEDs Survey. On Apr. 7, 1997, the Humane
Society of the United States reported that a July-November 1996
undercover survey of 32 shrimp trawlers in ports along the Texas
coast found 13 with TEDs tied shut. Shrimpers were reported to
have admitted tracking the Coast Guard by radio to determine when
enforcement could be anticipated. The Humane Society submitted
names and vessel identifications of alleged TED violators to
federal officials.} [Assoc Press]

NCRI Research Proposals. Apr. 7, 1997 was the deadline for
preliminary proposals for new project funding by the National
Coastal Resources Research and Development Institute (NCRI) in
Portland, OR, in 4 program areas: aquaculture and fisheries,
coastal business and community economic development,
environmental and marine technology, and seafood technology and
production. Projects can be anywhere in the coastal U.S.,
including the Great Lakes and U.S. Territories. [NCRI program

{Sea Turtle Protection. On Apr. 7, 1997, Fiji banned the
killing and molesting of sea turtles for 3 years, except for
traditional ceremonial purposes.} [Assoc Press]

{1996 U.S. Seafood Trade. In early April 1997, the Seafood
Market Analyst reported that the value of 1996 U.S. seafood
imports decreased more than 1% from the previous year to $6.6
billion, while U.S. seafood export value decreased nearly 8% to
$2.9 billion. This resulted in a U.S. seafood trade deficit of
about $3.7 billion, an increase of about 3% from 1995. U.S.
imports declined for shrimp and prawns (-5%); and increased for
farmed Atlantic salmon (+84% for fresh fillets and +10% for fresh
whole), tilapia (+41% for fresh fillets and +27% for frozen
whole), mussels (+34%), and oysters (+8%). Although the volume
of U.S. seafood exports increased nearly 5% in 1996, salmon
contributed significantly to the decline in export value. The
leading U.S. import was shrimp at $2.5 billion, while the
leading export was salmon at $620 million.} [Seafood Market
Analyst, Assoc Press]

{Combined HMS Plan. On Apr. 4, 1997, NMFS published a proposal
in the Federal Register soliciting comments on the benefits of
preparing one highly migratory species (HMS) fishery management
plan with one advisory panel. Such a consolidated plan would
combine management of Atlantic sharks, swordfish, and tunas.
Public comment will be accepted through May 15, 1997.} [Federal

{Summer Flounder Lawsuit. On Apr. 4, 1997, a group representing
NC commercial fishermen filed suit in U.S. District Court
(Norfolk, VA) against the federal government, claiming NMFS
summer flounder quotas determinations were arbitrary and
capricious. The group claims that NC is the only state where
NMFS uses the state catch in calculating the federal quota. The
group is asking the Court to order the Secretary of Commerce not
to reduce annual quotas to adjust for catch overages from the
previous year.} [Assoc Press]

Seagrass Restoration Agreement. On Apr. 4, 1997, city officials
of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, FL, will join
officials from Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Manatee counties in a
ceremony at the Florida Aquarium to announce an agreement to
restore 12,000 acres of seagrass and to protect 25,000 additional
acres of seagrass habitat. This agreement is part of the Tampa
Bay National Estuary Program. [Assoc Press]

{Kodiak Seafood Plant Fire. On Apr. 3-4, 1997, a Tyson Seafood
Group Inc. seafood plant and adjacent permanently docked cargo
ship were significantly damaged by fire in Kodiak, AK. At its
peak processing, about 750 employees work at the Tyson facility.
Damage is likely in the million dollar range. Alternative
markets are being sought for the catch of the 15 vessels that
previously supplied the plant with cod, pollock, and flatfish.}
[Assoc Press]

{Korean Oil Spill. On Apr. 3, 1997, the oil carrier Osong-Ho
sank off Tongyong, South Kyongsang Province, South Korea,
spilling about 189 tons of bunker C oil from one tank. Seven
other tanks appear not to have leaked. There was no immediate
damage to fish farms along the coast.} [Seoul Yonhap via Foreign
Broadcast Information Service]

Shrimp Embargo. On Apr. 3, 1997, the Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative will hold a briefing at its Washington, DC office
on the status of World Trade Organization dispute settlement
proceedings regarding U.S. sanctions on shrimp for the purposes
of sea turtle protection. [personal communication]

Gloucester Herring Plant? During April 1997, state and local
officials will review a proposal by the Dutch fishing
conglomerate Parevliet & Van Der Plas to construct and operate a
50,000 sq. foot processing plant for herring and some mackerel
at a state-managed pier in Gloucester, MA. About 20,000 tons of
herring would be packed, frozen, and shipped to European markets
annually, providing an estimated $10 million in economic benefits
to the community. The Dutch company is offering to fund the
conversion of Gloucester vessels for herring fishing. [Assoc

Japan-PRC Fishery Treaty. On Mar. 29, 1997, Japanese and
Chinese officials agreed to sign a new fisheries treaty without
defining their respective 200-mile economic zones, due to
territorial disputes. Talks on remaining issues will {begin on
Apr. 21, 1997, in Tokyo.} [Tokyo Kyodo via Foreign Broadcast
Information Service, Dow Jones News]

IFQ Advisory Panel. On Mar. 28, 1997, NMFS announced that it
was extending the deadline for nominations for two 15-member
advisory panels on individual fishing quotas (IFQs) until Apr.
14, 1997. The two panels, one for East Coast fisheries and one
for West Coast fisheries, will advise NMFS on the future use of
IFQs as a management tool and provide input for an IFQ study by
the National Research Council as directed by Congress. [NOAA
press release]

Saltwater Fish Consumption Advisory. On Mar. 28, 1997, ME
Bureau of Health officials, for the first time, recommended
limits on consumption of bluefish and striped bass due to
concerns about mercury contamination. [Assoc Press]

{EU Fishery Aid Guidelines. On March 27, 1997, the European
Commission published new guidelines for examining aid granted by
Member States for all fisheries (except sport fishing) and
aquaculture to assure that such aid is justified in respect to
the basic objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy.} [Agence
Europe via Reuters]

Gulf Drug Smuggling. On Mar. 27, 1997, U.S. and Texas state
officials announced a new anti-drug effort, Operation Gulf
Shield, focusing on small, swift fishing vessels (shark boats or
lanchas) smuggling drugs across the Gulf of Mexico to remote
Texas beaches. About 700 federal, state, and local employees are
scheduled to participate in this effort. [Assoc Press]

Coral. On Mar. 26, 1997, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature
(WWF) released a report on coral reefs citing the potential for
coral extinction due to their vulnerability to harmful effects of
global warming. The report indicates 60 major instances of coral
bleaching occurred between 1979 and 1990, compared to only 3
recorded cases in the previous 103 years. In early April 1997, a
controversial $6.5 million beach restoration project will begin
in Miami Beach, FL, where the Army Corps of Engineers will mine
sand from an offshore area between two coral communities. This
sand will be pumped through an underwater pipeline to replenish
eroded beaches in front of hotels and condos. Opponents of the
project fought it for three years in federal court, fearing
damage to corals. [Assoc Press, Reuters, Dow Jones News]

Louisiana Gillnets. On Mar. 26, 1997, the LA Seafood Management
Council and LA Chefs for LA Seafood released a survey of LA
resident attitudes on gillnet use by commercial fishermen. Sport
fishing groups attacked the validity of the survey, charging that
biased wording of questions influenced the survey outcome.
[Assoc Press]

{European Green Crabs Reach OR. In late March 1997, the first
European green crabs were discovered near the Coos Bay, OR,
estuary. This species has steadily migrated northward from San
Francisco Bay, where it was first detected in 1989. Residents
fear damage to oysters, clams, mussels, and native crab species.}
[Assoc Press]

Roe Herring Controversy. In late March 1997, controversy arose
over management of a British Columbia commercial roe herring
seine fishery by the Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans
(DFO) after harvest in aboriginal Heiltsuk Nation territory was
permitted to exceed an agreed-upon quota by more than 100%.
Heiltsuk Nation officials charged that DFO management was
unacceptable in condoning excessive catches by the seine fleet.
[Dow Jones News]

EU Fleet Restructuring. In late March 1997, the EU's Committee
of Permanent Representatives discussed a new draft compromise on
restructuring EU fishing fleets. The compromise proposes that
catches of endangered fish stocks be reduced by 30% while catches
of overfished stocks be reduced by 20% during the period
1997-1999. Member states could choose to achieve this reduction
through fishing vessel capacity reduction, reduced fishing
activity, or a combination of both. The Council of Fisheries
Ministers will discuss this compromise on Apr. 14, 1997.
[Agence Europe via Reuters]

Southern Hemisphere Bluefin Tuna. In late March 1997, Greenpeace
activists announced the launching of a campaign to suspend
fishing for southern hemisphere bluefin tuna, claiming the stock
is only about 2% of its former abundance in the 1960s. Although
a Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna sets
annual catch quotas, non-member nations do not abide by the
quotas. [Reuters]

New England Groundfish. In late March 1997, NMFS identified 3 ME
and 5 MA fishing vessels that will be purchased as part of NMFS's
$23 million buyback of New England fishing vessels. As many as
70 other vessels will be identified for purchase in the next few
weeks. On Apr. 3, 1997, U.S. Administrative Law Judge Peter A.
Fitzpatrick fined two Cape Cod, MA, fishermen and corporations
owned by them a record $4.33 million for more than 300 violations
of federal fishery laws and regulations for New England scallop
and groundfish fisheries between March 1994 and February 1995.
In addition, the two individuals were banned from fishing in
federal waters and had their 5 fishing-vessel and one fish-dealer
permits permanently revoked. Violations included catching more
fish than allowed, spending more days at sea than allowed, using
too many crew on vessels, buying or selling illegal fish, using
illegal gear, and making false statements to federal agents.
Twelve captains who worked for the two fishermen also paid fines
or were grounded for significant time periods. The 2 fishermen
indicate they will appeal the fine. [Assoc Press, NOAA press

Sharks. On Mar. 21-Apr. 28, 1997, NMFS will conduct a series
of 12 public hearings along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and in
the Caribbean on an NMFS proposal (Dec. 27. 1996, Federal
Register, p. 68202) to create a two-tiered (direct or incidental
catch) permit and limited access system for 39 species of sharks
in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean. NMFS
determined this fishery to be severely overcapitalized and
proposes to eliminate more than 2,300 of about 2,700 current
permits in this fishery; 134 fishermen regularly fish for and
land sharks. On Mar. 25, 1997, the VA Marine Resources
Commission received proposals to restrict shark fisheries in
Chesapeake Bay waters. A public hearing will be held on Apr.
22, 1997, on the proposals for a minimum length and closure of
state waters to shark fishing after a harvest quota is taken. On
Apr. 2, 1997, NMFS filed a final rule, effective immediately,
reducing the annual commercial quota for large coastal sharks in
the Atlantic by 50% (from 2,570 metric tons to 1,285 metric
tons), establishing a commercial quota of 1,760 metric tons for
small coastal sharks, reducing the recreational bag limits for
all Atlantic sharks to 2 sharks per vessel per trip, prohibiting
all directed fishing for 5 shark species (whale, basking, white,
sand tiger, and bigeye sand tiger), establishing a catch and
release only recreational fishery for white sharks, prohibiting
filleting of sharks at sea, and requiring species-specific
identification of all sharks landed. [CMC press release, NOAA
press releases, personal communication, Assoc Press, Federal

Seafood Industry's Principles for Responsible Fisheries. On Mar.
20, 1997, a coalition of U.S. seafood associations and companies
announced the development of a voluntary set of "principles for
responsible fisheries" to guide the U.S. seafood industry in
responsible resource use. The principles seek to improve the way
seafood is caught, processed, and distributed; to ensure
environmentally sound use of seafood resources; and to offer
guidance from the fishing industry to government managers.
Elements of the fishing industry adopting these principles are
anticipated to enter cooperative efforts with government managers
to improve resource use and management. [National Fisheries
Institute press release]
end Part 1/3

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