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Subject: CRS Summary 1/6
From: Aldo-Pier Solari <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 1 May 1997 19:12:45 GMT

text/plain (300 lines)

From: Kate Wing <[log in to unmask]>

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 4/25/97
(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 4/18/97 are bracketed {...}.  New info
and changes since 4/24/97 are in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Marine Fisheries

{AK Halibut Charter Boat Fishery.  On Apr.  23, 1997,  the  North
Pacific  Fishery  Management  Council voted to release for public
review a condensed version of  a  900-page report on proposals to
regulate the AK halibut charter boat fishery.  The proposals will
be discussed at the Council's Sept.  1997 meeting.} [Assoc Press]

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]

{French Port Blockade.  On Apr.  22, 1997, French fishing vessels
blockaded the French ports of Calais, Boulogne, and Dunkirk, in a
protest of new EU regulations INCREASING MESH size FOR FIXED SOLE
NETS FROM 80 MM TO  120  MM.   ON  APR.  23, 1997, A FRENCH COURT
Jones News]

{Navy Pays for Coral Reef Damage.  On  Apr.   22,  1997,  the  FL
Dept.   of Environmental Protection signed a settlement agreement
with the U.S.  Navy,  whereby  the  Navy  will pay FL $750,000 to
settle a $2 million lawsuit over coral reef damage by  a  nuclear
submarine on Feb.  25, 1993, near Hollywood, FL.} [Assoc Press]

{Japan-China  Fishery  Agreement.  On Apr.  21-22, 1997, Japanese
and Chinese negotiators conducted  working-level discussions on a
new provisional bilateral fishery agreement.  Negotiators  agreed
to  consider  a  fishery  agreement  separately  from territorial
disputes.  Negotiators will  resume  discussions  in  May 1997 in
Beijing, with the objective of concluding an agreement by  summer
1997.} [Dow Jones News]

{SEAFOOD   FRAUD.   ON  APR.   21,  1997,  THE  U.S.   DEPT.   OF

{AK  IFQ Case.  On Apr.  21, 1997, the U.S.  Supreme Court denied
a hearing on the lawsuit of the Alliance Against IFQs (individual
fishing quotas) against  the  U.S.   Dept.   of  Commerce and the
North Pacific Fishery Management Council,  wherein  the  Alliance
argued   that   the  federal  quota  system  unfairly  eliminated
fishermen  from  AK's  halibut  and  blackcod  fisheries.} [Assoc

Japanese Fisheries White  Paper.   On  Apr.   18,  1997,  Japan's
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries released a white
paper  on  fisheries,  calling  for  international cooperation in
fishery management  and  enhanced  measures  to protect fisheries
from oil spill damage.  [Dow Jones News]

Tri-Tech  Fishing  Services  Sale.   On  Apr.   17,  1997,  Smith
International, Inc.  announced that it had completed  acquisition
of Tri-Tech Fishing Services, LLC (Lafayette, LA).  Tri-Tech is a
supplier  of  fishing services in the Gulf of Mexico, TX, and LA,
and had 1996 revenues of about $13 million.  [Dow Jones News]

Servac Sale.  On Apr.  17, 1997, Dow Jones reported that Ira Food
Brokers Inc.   had  agreed  to  acquire  Servac  Inc.  and Servac
International Inc.; Servac is a commercial fishing business  with
assets of about $14 million and 1996 sales of about $2.2 million.
[Dow Jones News]

Mississippi  Floodwaters.  On Apr.  17, 1997, the last 18 bays of
the  Bonnet  Carre   Spillway   were   scheduled  to  be  closed,
terminating a one-month release of Mississippi  River  floodwater
into Lake Pontchartrain, LA.  [Assoc Press]

{CITES  Proposal - Sharks.  On Apr.  16, 1997, the U.S.  Fish and
Wildlife Service  (FWS)  announced  that  it  would  not submit a
proposal to list western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico  populations
of  requiem  sharks  and  spiny  dogfish  on CITES (Convention on
International Trade in Endangered  Species  of Wildlife Fauna and
Flora) Appendix II, although FWS believes these species meet  the
requirements  for inclusion on this Appendix.  As an alternative,
the United  States  is  submitting  a  draft resolution proposing
establishment  of  a  Marine  Fishes  Working  Group  to  address
implementation issues associated  with  placing  marine  fish  on
Appendix  II.   The  United  States  anticipates  proposing shark
species for Appendix  II  at  the  1999  CITES meeting.} [Federal

{CITES Proposal - Sawfishes.  On Apr.  16, 1997, the  U.S.   Fish
and  Wildlife  Service announced that it had submitted a proposal
to list all sawfishes on CITES (Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species of  Wildlife  Fauna and Flora) Appendix I.}
[Federal Register]

Subsistence Halibut Fishery.  On Apr.  16,  1997,  the  AK  House
voted  24-13 to approve a resolution calling on the North Pacific
Fishery Management  Council  to  reject  a  proposal  to create a
subsistence fishery for halibut in state and federal  waters  off
AK.  [Assoc Press]

Canadian  Atlantic  Groundfish.   On Apr.  16, 1997, the Canadian
government  announced  that  selected  Atlantic  cod  stocks have
recovered sufficiently that a limited commercial fishing will  be
allowed  to  resume.  Details of this reopening were presented by
Fisheries Minister Fred Mifflin on Apr.  17, with limited fishing
to be allowed  off  the  southern  coast  of Newfoundland (10,000
metric tons) and in the northern Gulf  of  St.   Lawrence  (6,000
metric tons).  [Assoc Press, Dow Jones News, Reuters]

Atlantic  Bluefin  Tuna.   On  Apr.   16,  1997, NMFS proposed to
increase general commercial category  (from  531 metric tons (mt)
to 633 mt) and angling recreational category (from 222 mt to  265
mt)  quotas  for Atlantic bluefin tuna for the 1997 season.  This
increase  responds  to  a   slight   (33   mt)  increase  in  the
international quota granted to  the  United  States  (unallocated
quota  held  in  reserve  by the U.S.  was reduced to provide the
remainder of the harvest  quota  increases), and seeks to reflect
scientific monitoring requirements  and  recent  changes  in  the
fishery.   A  series  of 9 public hearings is scheduled along the
Atlantic and  Gulf  Coasts  between  Apr.   22  and  May 8, 1997.
[Assoc Press, NMFS press release]

EU Fleet Restructuring.  On Apr.  15, 1997,  the  EU's  Fisheries
Council  approved, by a 13-2 qualified majority vote (Britain and
France opposed),  a  new  5-year  program  to  reduce  catches of
endangered fish stocks by 30% while catches of overfished  stocks
would  be  reduced 20% by the end of 2001.  Individual EU Members
would retain flexibility  in  choosing  whether to remove fishing
vessels from the fleet, reduce fishing vessel time at sea,  or  a
combination  of  both.   Fishing vessels {less than 12 meters} in
length are exempt  from  the  new restrictions.  [Reuters, Agence
Europe via Reuters, Assoc Press, Dow Jones News]

Van Camp Sale.  On Apr.  15, 1997, Van  Camp  Seafood  Co.   Inc.
announced  that  it  had  entered  into  an agreement to sell its
assets to Tri-Union Seafoods LLC,  and  that Van Camp had filed a
voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the U.S.  Bankruptcy  Code
in  the  U.S.  Bankruptcy Court to facilitate the sale.  Van Camp
markets "Chicken of the  Sea"  brand  seafood.  [Van Camp Seafood
press release via Dow Jones News]

National Undersea Research Center Proposals.  In mid-April  1997,
the  National Undersea Research Center (Univ.  of NC, Wilmington)
announced a  search  for  research  proposals  to  fund  in 1998.
Research   priorities   include   fisheries   oceanography    and
recruitment  processes, evaluation of ichthyofauna in the Florida
Keys  National  Marine   Sanctuary   (FKNMS),  factors  affecting
recruitment of conch and lobster within FKNMS, hardbottom  reefs,
reef  fish  communities in Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary,
and  coral  habitat  in   the  Oculina  Banks  Research  Reserve.
[National Undersea Research Center announcement]

Italian Driftnets.   On  Apr.   14-15,  1997,  the  EU  Fisheries
Council  was scheduled to consider a co-financing plan to convert
the Italian swordfish fishery  away  from driftnet use during the
1997-1999 period.  The  proposed  plan  would  provide  financial
incentives  for  fishermen and vessel owners to encourage them to
cease or  modify  their  driftnet  fishing.   [Agence  Europe via

Chesapeake Bay.  On Apr.  14, 1997, Virginia Institute of  Marine
Science  researchers  reported  that  the  1997  aerial survey of
Chesapeake Bay indicated a 6% increase (3,500 more acres) in area
covered by sea  grasses,  reversing  a  2-year trend of declining
acreage.  [Assoc Press]

Galilee Redevelopment.  On Apr.  10, 1997,  RI  Governor  Lincoln
Almond  announced  plans for redevelopment of the fishing port of
Galilee and selection of a planning firm to develop a master plan
within 6 months.  [Assoc Press]

Herring Spotter Accident.   On  Apr.   9, 1997, two single-engine
planes  carrying  spotters  of  spawning  herring  for  fishermen
collided over Prince William Sound, AK, killing  two  individuals
in one of the planes.  [Assoc Press, Reuters]

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.  Proposed  regulations  were  published in the
Federal Register on Apr.  16, 1997, and a 6-month public  comment
period  is  provided.   The  proposal  would phase-out commercial
fishing over a 15-year period  in Glacier Bay proper with fishing
prohibited annually from May  through  September,  but  authorize
commercial   fishing   in   outer  marine  waters  of  the  Park.
Commercial  fishing  in  wilderness  waters  would  be prohibited
immediately upon publication of final regulations.  [Assoc Press,
National Park Service press release, Reuters]

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]

Seabird Protection.  In early April  1997, the Commission for the
Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna adopted a program to reduce
the incidental mortality of seabirds in longline fisheries  under
the Commission's jurisdiction.  [personal communication]

Coral.   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]

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]
End of Part 1/6

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