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Subject: CRS Summary - Part 1
From: Aldo-Pier Solari <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 1 Apr 1997 03:49:12 GMT
Content-Type:text/plain
Parts/Attachments:
Parts/Attachments

text/plain (305 lines)


Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 08:10:05 -0500
From: Kate Wing <[log in to unmask]>

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 3/28/97
(available via e-mail; updated daily)

Eugene H. Buck, Senior Analyst
Environment and Natural Resources Policy Division
Congressional Research Service

     New info and changes since 3/21/97 are bracketed {...}.
     New info and changes since 3/27/97 are in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Marine Fisheries

NCRI Research  Proposals.   Apr.   7,  1997  is  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
announcement]

{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
WILL PARTICIPATE IN THIS EFFORT.} [ASSOC PRESS]

{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  CAN  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.} [Assoc Press]

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]

Early Swordfish Closure.   On  Mar.   20,  1997,  NMFS  published
notice  in  the  Federal  Register  that  the semiannual Atlantic
swordfish fishery would close  six  weeks  early  at noon on Apr.
12, 1997, due to recalculated, and larger, estimates for discards
of  incidentally  caught  swordfish  during  the  1995  and  1996
seasons.   In  addition,  the  swordfish  bycatch  allowance  for
longline vessels fishing for other species was reduced to no more
than 5 swordfish per vessel per trip.  [Federal Register]

EU  Fisheries  Promotion.   On  Mar.   18,  1997,  the   European
Commission  announced  the  launching  of  a year-long $2 million
information  campaign  to  promote  fish  consumption, especially
non-traditional species.  Emphasis will be place  on  nutritional
values  as well as the necessity to wisely manage fish resources.
[Agence Europe via Reuters]

Record World Fish Production.   On  Mar.   17, 1997, officials of
the UN Food and  Agriculture  Organization  announced  that  1995
world fish production reached a record 112.3 million metric tons.
Fish  farming  contributed to most of the recent growth, but also
was seen responsible for  environmental damage.  An additional 20
million metric tons of annual fish production was deemed feasible
if underdeveloped resources were  exploited,  bycatch  and  waste
were  reduced,  and  measures  were  taken to reduce overfishing.
However, bycatch in some  groundfish  fisheries is reported to be
as much as half the groundfish harvest.  [Reuters]

UN Code of Conduct Implementation Plan.  On Mar.  17, 1997,  NMFS
announced that a new draft U.S.  implementation plan for the UN's
Code  of  Conduct  for  Responsible  Fisheries  was available for
public comment through Apr.  28, 1997.  [NOAA press release]

Sea Turtle Land  Purchase.   In  mid-March  1997,  U.S.  Fish and
Wildlife Service officials announced  the  award  of  a  $500,000
grant  to  Volusia  County, FL, for purchasing land for off-beach
parking.  Off-beach parking is  intended  to reduce the number of
vehicles driving in sea turtle habitat  on  beaches.   The  pilot
grant  program  aims  to  assist states in buying land to support
habitat conservation.  [Assoc Press]

North Sea Ecosystem Meeting.  On Mar.  13-14, 1997, Norwegian and
EU commissioners and  ministers  for  fishing and the environment
met in Bergen, Norway, to discuss fishing and its impact  on  the
North  Sea  ecosystem.   The  meeting  sought to strike a balance
between meeting  environmental  objectives  and  safeguarding the
interests of the  fishing  industry.   On  Mar.   14,  1997,  the
assembled   parties   agreed   to  a  non-binding  "Statement  of
Conclusions" inviting competent authorities in respective nations
to take recommended steps to better protect North Sea fish stocks
from collapse due  to  overfishing.   [Reuters, Agence Europe via
Reuters]

Pacific Tuna Meeting.  On Mar.  13,  1997,  the  South  Pacific's
Forum  Fisheries  Agency announced that the United States, Japan,
Taiwan, South Korea, China,  and  other  tuna fishing nations had
been invited to a June 10-13, 1997 conference at Majuro, Marshall
Islands, to discuss management of South and Central Pacific  tuna
stocks.   The  Agency  is  concerned  with  better regulation and
control of overharvesting in  international waters and is seeking
ways to increase the revenue for Island nations from foreign tuna
harvesters.  [Assoc Press]

Mississippi Floodwaters.  On Mar.  12, 1997, the U.S.  Army Corps
of Engineers announced that it would  begin  opening  the  Bonnet
Carre  spillway,  north  of  New  Orleans,  on Mar.  17 to divert
rising Mississippi River waters into Lake Pontchartrain.  This is
the first large-scale opening of the Spillway since 1983.  The MS
Dept.  of  Marine  Resources  will  monitor  the  impact of lower
salinity waters on oyster reefs and shrimp in Mississippi  Sound.
[Assoc Press]

Sharks.   On  Mar.   12, 1997, the Center for Marine Conservation
(CMC) and TRAFFIC International released a study, "Managing Shark
Fisheries:   Opportunities   for   International   Conservation,"
outlining a blueprint  for  action  by international and national
fishery  managers  to  promote  shark  conservation.   The  study
evaluates the potential for shark conservation under  9  existing
international  regimes using the standards of the UN agreement on
highly migratory fish stocks.   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.}   [CMC  press  release,  NOAA  press  releases,  personal
communication, Assoc Press]

Florida Net Ban.  On Mar.   12,  1997, the FL Senate Committee on
Natural Resources approved a bill (CS-SB 412) that would make the
Marine  Fisheries  Commission  the  final  authority  on  fishing
regulations (no longer would the state governor and cabinet  have
to approve any regulations), prohibit substitutes for traditional
nets  that  have  been  restricted,  and  increase  penalties for
violations.  [Assoc Press]

Contaminated NC Fish and Crabs?  On  Mar.  11, 1997, NC Dept.  of
Environment, Health, and Natural  Resources  officials  announced
that  they  are  investigating  preliminary  reports  of elevated
mercury levels in fish  and  elevated  arsenic and lead levels in
crabs from Brinson Creek, found during a  contractor's  Superfund
assessment  of  a  waste  site  on  the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps
facility.  [Assoc Press]

Clam Contract Award.  On Mar.  10, 1997, the Supreme Court of New
Jersey overturned an appeals court decision and reinstated a 1993
lower  court  jury  verdict  for  $738,000  against  Borden  Inc.
(Columbus, OH), in a  case  wherein  Borden had been charged with
not acting in good faith under a 1984 contract to buy clams  from
a Cape May, NJ fishing operation, by urging the company to assume
debt  and then not purchasing clams from it, even though Borden's
contract to buy clams  was  legally canceled.  [Assoc Press, Wall
Street Journal]

Red  Snapper  Peer  Review  Panels.   On  Mar.   10,  1997,  NMFS
announced that it is seeking nominations for 3 peer review panels
authorized under section 407(a) of the  Magnuson-Stevens  Fishery
Conservation  and  Management  Act to review of red snapper stock
management in the Gulf of Mexico.  [Federal Register]

Canadian Groundfish  Enforcement.   On  Mar.   10, 1997, Canadian
Fisheries Minister Fred Mifflin reported that the Spanish trawler
Hermanos Gandon IV was fined  and  had  its  license  revoked  by
Spanish  authorities after it was reported by Canadian inspectors
on Feb.  27 and confirmed  by  EU  inspectors  on Mar.  1 to have
underlogged its catch of Greenland halibut (turbot) in waters off
Canada's east coast.  [Reuters]

Russia  Seizes  Polish  Trawler.   On  Mar.   9,  1997,   Russian
authorities  in Moscow announced that the Polish vessel seized in
the Sea of Okhotsk had been ordered released.  However, Kamchatka
regional authorities ordered the Aquarius to Petropavlovsk, where
the local prosecutor's office was investigating the incident.  On
Mar.  20, 1997, Polish officials delivered an official protest to
Russia on detention of  the  Aquarius  and demanding its release.
On Mar.  21, 1997,  Kamchatka  authorities  released  the  Polish
fishing  vessel Aquarius, after Poland agreed to pay $100,000 for
its release.  [Warsaw  PAP,  Warsaw  Polskie  Radio First Program
Network, and Warsaw  Third  Program  Radio  Network  via  Foreign
Broadcast Information Service, Reuters, Interfax]

Tuna  and  Consumers.   On  Mar.   7,  1997,  U.S.  Food and Drug
Administration  officials  warned  that  consumers  sensitive  to
sulfites should temporarily  avoid  canned albacore (white) tuna,
after the tuna industry reported on Mar.   6  that,  without  its
knowledge,  sulfites  had  been  added to a vegetable protein raw
material used in canning tuna.  Tuna industry officials announced
that special labels would be immediately placed on canned tuna to
provide warning, but that tuna  will again be sulfite-free within
a short time.  On Mar.  19, 1997, British doctors  wrote  in  the
Journal  of  Accident  and Emergency Medicine that food poisoning
(scombrotoxin poisoning)  from  tuna  and  related  fish  is more
common  than  formerly  believed   because   the   condition   is
mis-diagnosed.  [Reuters]

Fishing  Gear  Review.   On  Mar.   7,  1997,  Canada's Fisheries
Resource Conservation Council  released  a report concluding that
new fishing technology and equipment  should  be  reviewed  by  a
special panel before being allowed in the fishery, to assure that
new  gear  is conservation-friendly and does not adversely affect
fishery resources or their  habitat.   The report also recommends
strategies for  each  gear  type  to  better  protect  groundfish
stocks.  [Assoc Press]

Illegal Scallop Labeling.  On Mar.  7, 1997, a VA seafood company
agreed  to pay a $54,272 fine in U.S.  District Court for alleged
mislabeling of scallops, switching uninspected seafood into boxes
marked as  "FDA  approved"  and  not  noting  the  use  of sodium
tripolyphosphate to increase the moisture content in scallops  on
labels.   U.S.   Customs  agents indicated that other individuals
and corporations may be charged for similar activities within the
next few months.  [Assoc Press]

NC Shrimp Trawl Ban.   On  Mar.   7, 1997, NC officials announced
that a ban on shrimp trawling  south  of  Cape  Hatteras  was  no
longer  necessary,  and  was  being dropped.  In response to this
action, the  NC  Fisheries  Assoc.   agreed  to  drop its lawsuit
against the State.  [Assoc Press]

SC Shrimping  Moratorium?   On  Mar.   7,  1997,  the  SC  Marine
Advisory  Committee  voted to support a resolution drafted by the
SC Shrimpers  Assoc.   calling  for  a  2-year  moratorium on new
shrimping licenses.  The proposal would be submitted to the State
Legislature in an effort to forestall an influx  of  out-of-state
trawlers,  make  licensed  trawlers  more  profitable, and better
protect sea turtles.  [Assoc Press]

CA Abalone Fishery.   On  Mar.   6,  1997,  the  CA Fish and Game
Commission ordered a  detailed  environmental  study  of  abalone
fisheries  (to  be  completed  by  December  1997)  and scheduled
consideration of a ban on red abalone harvesting for its May 1997
meeting.  [Assoc Press]

Joint  Venture  Protest  in  India.   On  Mar.   6,  1997, Indian
fishermen  ended  harbor  blockades  begun  Mar.   5  to  protest
government licensing of foreign  joint  venture  trawlers,  after
Indian  government  officials  gave  assurances  that  all  joint
venture  licenses  would  be  canceled  and  trawlers would cease
fishing by Apr.  9, 1997.  Fishermen were concerned that trawlers
might be depleting  fish  stocks  and  unfairly competing against
smaller coastal vessels.  [Reuters]

Heinz Tuna Reorganization.  In early March 1997,  as  part  of  a
major  corporate  reorganization plan, H.J.  Heinz Co.  announced
plans to scale back operations at  or  close  as many as 3 of the
company's tuna canneries.  [Assoc Press]

Heroes of Reinvention -- Hammer Award.  In early March 1997,  the
FL Dept.  of Environmental Protection's Bureau of Marine Resource
Regulation and Development was notified that it had received Vice
President Gore's "Heroes of Reinvention" Hammer Award for it blue
crab  partnership  with  the  U.S.  Food and Drug Administration.
The partnership developed  a  mechanism  to  share inspection and
analytical data as well as regulatory information to  allow  more
accurate  and  timely  decisions improving consumer protection in
FL's   blue   crab    meat    processing   industry.    [personal
communication]

TEDs and Biodegradable Panels on  Crab  Traps?   In  early  March
1997,   the   NJ   Dept.    of  Environmental  Protection  issued
regulations  that  would  require  installation  of biodegradable
panels as well as devices to prevent diamondback terrapin  turtle
entry  on most crab traps by Jan.  1, 1998.  Although diamondback
terrapins are neither  endangered  nor  protected  in NJ, between
17,000 and 40,000 are reported to die each year  in  crab  traps.
[Assoc Press]
....
end of Part 1

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