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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]>


Mon, 12 May 1997 12:15:31 GMT





text/plain (1 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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