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Subject: CRS Summary - Part 1/4
From: Aldo-Pier Solari <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 23 May 1997 20:46:32 GMT
Content-Type:text/plain
Parts/Attachments:
Parts/Attachments

text/plain (307 lines)


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

Fisheries   and   Marine   Mammals:   Most   Recent  Developments
Congressional Research Service

New info and changes since 5/09/97 are bracketed {...}.  New info
and changes since 5/15/97 are in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Marine Fisheries

{AK Tax Loan Program Terminating.  On May 25,  1997,  AK's  state
loan  program  to assist commercial fishermen in paying off debts
to the U.S.  Internal Revenue  Service will terminate, having not
been extended  by  the  State  Legislature.   Under  this  3-year
program,  about  220  fishermen  obtained  loans  for IRS debts.}
[Assoc Press]

{DEVELOPING EL NINO.  ON MAY  15, 1997, NOAA ANNOUNCED THAT EARLY
INDICATIONS HAD BEEN DETECTED OF, AND MODELS APPEARED TO CONFIRM,
A DEVELOPING EL NINO CONDITION IN THE  TROPICAL  PACIFIC.}  [NOAA
PRESS RELEASE]

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]

{MENHADEN  RESTRICTIONS.   ON MAY 14, 1997, THE NY STATE ASSEMBLY
AND SENATE APPROVED  LEGISLATION  TO RESTRICT MENHADEN HARVESTING
IN LONG ISLAND SOUND, DUE  TO  INCREASING  CONFLICTS  WITH  SPORT
FISHING.   THE  MEASURE  POSTPONES THE ANNUAL OPENING OF MENHADEN
SEASON FROM MAY  TO  JULY  4,  AND  PROHIBITS MENHADEN FISHING ON
WEEKENDS AND HOLIDAYS.} [ASSOC PRESS]

{U.S.-Russia Maritime  Boundary.   In  mid-May  1997,  U.S.   and
Russian  negotiators decided to postpone further talks until late
summer or early fall  on  resolving continuing questions that are
stalling Russian ratification of a 1990 Treaty between the United
States and  the  former  Soviet  Union  establishing  a  maritime
boundary in the Arctic Ocean and Bering and Chukchi Seas.} [Assoc
Press]

{UNTREATED SEWAGE FINE.  ON MAY 12, 1997, AK SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE
FRED TORRISI FINED A SEATTLE-BASED SEAFOOD PROCESSING COMPANY FOR
DISCHARGING  UNTREATED  SEWAGE  INTO BRISTOL BAY, AK, WATERS, AND
USING UNSANITARY WATER TO PROCESS FISH.} [ASSOC PRESS]

{EU Fishing Fleet Restructuring.   On  May  12, 1997, new British
Agriculture  Minister  Jack  Cunningham  announced  that,   while
Britain  will continue work to eliminate "quota hoppers," it will
not  veto  a  June   1997   review   of   the  EU  treaty  by  an
inter-governmental conference in Amsterdam.} [Reuters]

{Rotten Shrimp Fine.  On May 12, 1997, U.S.  District Judge Susan
C. Bucklew fined a St.  Petersburg, FL, company  $1  million  and
sentenced  two of its executives to prison sentences for treating
imported rotting shrimp  with  chemicals  and  distributing it to
U.S.  markets.} [Assoc Press, REUTERS]

{Seafood Inspection.  On May 12, 1997, officials of  the  Clinton
Administration proposed that more seafood inspectors be hired, as
part  of  a broad plan to increase surveillance of imported foods
and improve U.S.  food safety.} [Reuters]

{Oil  Terminal  Blockade.   On  May  12,  1997,  fourteen fishing
vessels began a blockade of the Sullom Voe loading port for Brent
crude oil in the UK's Shetland Islands in protest  of  a  dispute
with  the  International  Oil  Pollution  Compensation  Fund over
suspension of compensation  payments  for  the  1993 Braer tanker
spill.  Compensation payments ceased in  October  1995  when  the
compensation  limit  for a single claim was reached.  Late on May
12, the  Shetland  Islands  Council  issued  a  special directive
ordering the protesters to leave the harbor or be charged with  a
criminal  offense.   On  May  13, 1997, the 14 protesting fishing
vessels dispersed after being informed that they would be charged
by police and could  be  liable  for demurrage costs.} [Dow Jones
News, Reuters]

{EU Troops Clash with Puerto Rican Fishermen.  On May  11,  1997,
about  35  Puerto Rican fishermen from the island of Vieques were
reported to have clashed with  troops aboard 6 naval vessels from
Belgium and the Netherlands anchored in a  popular  fishing  area
which the fishermen claimed was reserved for civilian activities.
The  U.S.  Navy owns portions of Vieques and allows other nations
to conduct exercises there.} [Dow Jones News]

Subsistence  Halibut  Fishery.   On  May  8,  1997,  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 was approved by the AK Senate.  [Assoc
Press]

{ME Herring.  In early May 1997, ME Governor Angus King announced
that 6,000 metric tons of herring could be caught by ME fishermen
in  the  Gulf  of   Maine   and  delivered  to  offshore  foreign
"internal-waters" processors, beginning  in  July  1997.}  [Assoc
Press]

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.  {ON MAY 15,  1997,  THE  CA  STATE
SENATE  VOTED  25-6  TO  APPROVE  A  BILL  IMPOSING AN INDEFINITE
MORATORIUM ON HARVESTING  RED  ABALONE  SOUTH  OF SAN FRANCISCO.}
[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]

Chesapeake Bay.  On May 5, 1997, NOAA released the results of the
first Bay-wide blue crab stock assessment by 9 state and  federal
scientists, concluding that Chesapeake Bay's blue crab population
has  remained stable since the 1950s, despite increasing harvest.
While the blue crab  stock  is providing near maximum sustainable
yield, the fishery is severely overcapitalized  and  operates  at
extremely low levels of economic efficiency.  Since 1945, fishing
effort has increased five-fold.  {On May 7, 1997, VA Institute of
Marine  Science  biologists  began  an  experiment  transplanting
sterile  Japanese  oysters  at  9 sites (600 oysters per site) to
test their ability to survive and grow in Chesapeake Bay.} [Assoc
Press, NOAA press release]

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]

Kodiak Seafood Plant Fire.  In early  May  1997,  Tyson  Seafoods
officials  canceled  their plans to relocate a floating processor
vessel to Kodiak for  the  June  pollock  season, saying their 15
Kodiak-based vessels had found other temporary  markets.   [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.  {This measure was
approved by the AK Senate on May 11, 1997.} [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
and  American markets.  This species is reported to sell in Japan
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
States, based in Madagascar,  Mauritius, and Namibia, are thought
to be among vessels participating in this  fishery.   On  May  8,
1997,  New  Zealand  officials  announced  that  they would query
Chinese officials on a  report  by the conservation group TRAFFIC
that China was preparing a 200-vessel fleet to harvest  toothfish
in  the Southern Ocean.  Toothfish overfishing is scheduled to be
discussed  at  an   Antarctic   Treaty  consultative  meeting  in
Christchurch, NZ, in late May 1997.  [Reuters, Assoc Press]

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]

{Dump  Site  Cleanup.  In late April and early May 1997, the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers  paid  six  shrimp trawlers to trawl near
Oak Island and Bald  Head  Island,  NC,  to  recover  and  remove
underwater  debris  originating  from  a  dump  site  for a Corps
dredging  project  after  shrimpers  complained  that  debris was
damaging their nets.  In two weeks' work, the 6 trawlers  removed
more than 600 tons of wood and debris.} [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]

CITES Proposal - Sharks.  On Apr.  25, 1997,  Japanese  officials
were reported to be opposed to the U.S.  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,  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.   [Tokyo  Kyodo  via Foreign
Broadcast Information Service]

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.  {ON MAY 15,
1997, THE NC HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE APPROVED  THE  PACKAGE  OF
FISHERY  REFORM MEASURES.  THIS MEASURE MOVES NEXT TO THE HOUSE'S
FINANCE COMMITTEE.} [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]
....
End of Part 1/4

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