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Subject: CRS Summary - Part 1/3
From: Aldo-Pier Solari <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 12 May 1997 12:15:31 GMT

text/plain (289 lines)

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

Fisheries   and   Marine   Mammals:   Most   Recent  Developments
Congressional Research Service

New info and changes since 5/01/97 are bracketed {...}.  New info
and changes since 5/8/97 are in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Marine Fisheries

NOAA Environmental Valuation Workshop.  On May 14-15,  1997,  the
National   Oceanic  and  Atmospheric  Administration  (NOAA)  has
scheduled a free workshop  on environmental valuation for coastal
and marine resource managers, planners, and decision  makers,  to
be  held  in  Orlando,  FL.   The  workshop  will focus on modern
economic  methods  and  tools  to  address  problems  of  valuing
environmental  amenities,   such   as   wetlands,   beaches,  and
recreational activities.  [NOAA announcement]

{Abalone Harvesting Ban.  On May 6, 1997, the CA  Fish  and  Game
Commission   approved   a  four-month  moratorium  on  sport  and
commercial harvesting of red  abalone  from  San Francisco to the
Mexican border.  Biologists report the  population  has  declined
75%  in  the last two decades.  Red abalone retail for as much as
$85 per pound in southern CA.} [Assoc Press]

Coral  Reef  Hearing.   On  May  6,  1997,  the  House  Resources
Subcommittee  on  Fisheries  Conservation,  Wildlife,  and Oceans
{held a hearing} on H.Res.  87, expressing the sense of  Congress
that  the  United  States  and the United Nations condemn harmful
coral reef fisheries and  promote  sustainable coral reef fishery
practices.  [Federal Register]

{Shells Seafood Restaurant Expansion.  On  May  5,  1997,  Shells
Seafood  Restaurants,  Inc.   opened  its first Shells restaurant
outside FL, in Florence,  KY,  a Cincinnati, OH, suburb.} [Shells
Seafood Restaurants press release]

{Tribal  Shellfish  Harvesting.   On  May  5,  1997,  three  U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals judges heard 3 1/2  hours  of  arguments
wherein  the  state of WA, coastal property owners, and shellfish
growers are challenging Tribes and the U.S.  government, in hopes
of modifying portions of  a  1994  ruling by U.S.  District Judge
Edward Rafeedie giving 16 Tribes the right to  harvest  half  the
shellfish on Puget Sound, WA, beaches.} [Assoc Press]

{Vibrio  Vulnificus.  On May 5, 1997, LA State Univ.  researchers
reported, at a meeting of the American Society of Microbiology in
Miami Beach, FL, the  discovery  of  a  new cold and low salinity
treatment that kills Vibrio vulnificus bacteria.} [Assoc Press]

{Summer Flounder.  In early May  1997,  the  state  of  CT  filed
notice  of  intent  to  sue  with  the  Dept.   of  Commerce over
perceived inequities  in  the  state-by-state  commercial harvest
quotas for summer flounder (fluke).} [Assoc Press]

{Bumble Bee Seafoods Sale.  On May 2, 1997, officials  of  Bumble
Bee  Seafoods  Inc.   announced  that the firm had been purchased
from its parent Thai  corporation,  Unicord  PLC, by Hicks, Muse,
Tate  &  Furst  Inc.   (Dallas,  TX)  through   its   subsidiary,
International  Home  Foods Inc.  for $163 million plus assumption
of liabilities.   Bumble  Bee  filed  for  Chapter  11 bankruptcy
protection  to  allow  operation   while   the   transaction   is
completed.} [Assoc Press, Reuters]

Non-Profit  Fishermen's  Associations.  On Apr.  30, 1997, the AK
House voted 36-3 to  approve  a  bill  allowing dive fishermen to
form non-profit associations that could tax themselves to provide
funds for state management of the fishery.  [Assoc Press]

Toothfish Overfishing.  On Apr.  29, 1997, S.  African  officials
reported  that  enforcement  would be increased to better control
the Patagonia  toothfish  fishery  around  Prince Edward Islands,
between S. Africa and the Antarctic.  The fishery,  initiated  in
1995, is thought to be rapidly overfishing this species for Asian
AS "MERO" FOR $7,000 PER METRIC TON.} In April 1997, French naval
forces  intercepted  3 vessels suspected of poaching toothfish in
the vicinity of Crozet Island.  Britain was reported to have sent
naval ships to  the  Antarctic  to  control  overfishing for this
species,  and  New  Zealand  has  increased  aerial  surveillance
flights.  Reflagged vessels from Spain, Norway,  and  the  United
thought  to  be among vessels participating in this fishery.  {ON

Pfiesteria  in  NC.   On  Apr.   28,  1997,  researchers  at East
Carolina Univ.  released preliminary findings  in a study of more
than 250 crab fishermen and  more  than  490  coastal  residents,
concluding  that  Pfiesteria piscicida poses no serious threat to
humans.  On Apr.  30, 1997, the NC Dept.  of Environment, Health,
and Natural  Resources  issued  guidelines  and  instructions for
local health officials warning of possible  dangers  to  swimmers
and  fishermen  associated  with  Pfiesteria  piscicida,  a toxic
dinoflagellate linked to heavy  fish  kills in eastern NC waters.
However, officials acknowledged the absence of  scientific  proof
that  exposure  to  Pfiesteria  poses  any  serious public health
threat.  [Assoc Press]

VA Oyster Lawsuit.  In late April 1997, a group of Chesapeake Bay
watermen filed suit  in  Richmond  Circuit  Court  against the VA
Marine Resources Commission (VMRC), seeking  to  halt  an  oyster
growing  experiment  that  would  close  3 acres of public oyster
beds.  The group  charges  that  VMRC  is  using state funds from
oyster taxes to illegally benefit a few select individuals and is
closing public oyster beds without  a  required  public  hearing.
[Assoc Press]

Russia  Ratifies Straddling Stocks Agreement.  On Apr.  25, 1997,
the Russian  press  reported  that  President  Boris  Yeltsin had
signed a federal law on ratification of  the  Agreement  for  the
Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention
on the Law of the Sea Relating to the Conservation and Management
of  Straddling  Fish  Stocks  and  Highly  Migratory Fish Stocks.
[ITAR-TASS via Foreign Broadcast Information Service]

Italian Driftnet Reconversion.  On  Apr.   25, 1997, the European
Parliament  approved,  with  amendments,  proposed  funding   for
reconversion   of   the   Italian  swordfish  driftnet  fleet  to
alternative  gear.    Italy   and   the   EU   will  co-fund  the
reconversion, together contributing as much as 100  million  ECUs
during a 3-year period.  The Parliament stressed that the problem
is  not resolved as certain other countries continue to use drift
nets in the  Mediterranean.   {On  May  2,  1997,  the EU Council
approved the financing of the Italian  plan  to  reconvert  their
swordfish  fleet  to eliminate driftnet use.  However, Greenpeace
is concerned  that  Italy  may  simply  sell  driftnets  to other
Mediterranean countries where they would still be used.}  [Agence
Europe via Reuters]

Herring  Roe Price Protest.  On Apr.  25, 1997, fishermen decided
not to harvest herring in  a  30-minute  Lower Cook Inlet sac roe
fishery opening in Kamishak Bay, AK, after Japanese buyers quoted
prices of $300 or less per ton.  In 1996, sac  roe  herring  from
this  fishery  reportedly were sold for $1,800 to $2,000 per ton.
[Assoc Press]

Essential  Fish  Habitat.   On  Apr.   23,  1997,  NMFS published
proposed regulations for  describing  and  identifying  essential
fish  habitat  in  fishery  management  plans, adverse impacts on
essential fish  habitat,  and  actions  to  conserve  and enhance
essential fish habitat.   Proposed  regulations  also  provide  a
process  for coordination and consultation with federal and state
agencies on activities that  may  adversely affect essential fish
habitat.  Public comment is being accepted through May 23,  1997.
{Four  public  meetings on the proposed regulations are scheduled
in NJ (May 12),  LA  (May  13),  WA  (May  20), and AK (May 21).}
[Federal Register]

NC Commercial Fishery Moratorium.  On  Apr.   23,  1997,  the  NC
House  Committee  on  Environment unanimously passed a package of
fishery  reform  measures,  including  a  cap  on  the  number of
commercial fishing licenses, increased commercial fishing license
fees,  a  reduction  in  membership  of  the   Marine   Fisheries
Commission  from  17  to 9, strengthened fishery law enforcement,
restrictions on the  type  of  net  that  could  be fished, and a
mechanism for  involving  various  environmental  commissions  in
drafting  plans  to  improve fish habitat.  The proposal does not
include license fees for  saltwater  sport anglers.  This measure
moves next to  the  House's  Judiciary  and  Finance  Committees.
[Assoc Press]

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]

Sharks.  On Apr.  22, 1997, the VA  Marine  Resources  Commission
voted  to  prohibit the commercial landing of sharks less than 58
inches in length.  {On  May  2,  1997,  a coalition of commercial
fishermen filed suit against the  U.S.   Dept.   of  Commerce  in
federal  District  Court,  arguing that catch limits for Atlantic
sharks are  arbitrary  and  capricious  and  contending that NMFS
violated its regulatory procedures.} [Assoc Press]

French Port Blockade.  On Apr.  22, 1997, French fishing  vessels
blockaded the French ports of Calais, Boulogne, and Dunkirk, in a
protest  of  EU  regulations  increasing mesh size for fixed sole
nets from 80 mm to 120  mm  in  Jan.  1998.  On Apr.  23, 1997, a
French court ordered the fishermen to  lift  the  blockade.   The
fishermen  complied  on Apr.  24, after French officials promised
to raise fishermen's concerns at  a June 17 EU ministers' meeting
and  negotiated  for  shipping  companies  to  drop  claims   for
compensation  from  the fishermen for losses during the blockade.
[Dow Jones News, Reuters]

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]

New  England  Groundfish.  On Apr.  21, 1997, the U.S.  Dept.  of
Commerce/NOAA charged 2 New  Bedford,  MA, seafood companies with
113 violations for illegally buying and  selling  groundfish  and
scallops  over  an  18-month  period.   NOAA  alleges  that false
reporting permitted vessels to  fish  longer  than allowed and to
land more fish than permitted.  NOAA is seeking $4.7  million  in
civil  penalties  and  revocation of dealer permits held by the 2
companies.  {On May 3,  1997,  the  U.S.   Coast Guard seized the
catch from 2 vessels found fishing in closed waters off Cape Cod,
MA.} [Assoc Press, NOAA press release]

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.  On Apr.  25,
1997, Japanese officials  were  reported  to  be  opposed to this
proposal on the grounds that it would  cause  undue  pressure  on
Japan's  fishing  industry,  and  that CITES was an inappropriate
forum for discussion  of  fishery management.  [Federal Register,
Tokyo Kyodo via Foreign Broadcast Information Service]

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
SENATE.} [Assoc Press]
End of Part 1/3

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