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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, 1 Aug 1997 20:34:37 GMT

text/plain (241 lines)

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

-->   A note to everyone  receiving  Gene's summaries: Congress will
      be on its recess schedule during August, and  due  to  various
      folks  taking their vacations, the summaries may not always be
      right on  time.   We'll  try  and  keep  them  as  punctual as
      possible.  Thanks, your friendly congressional staffer

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent  Developments  --  8/01/97
Environment  and  Natural  Resources  Policy  Division Congressional
Research Service

New info and changes  since  7/25/97  are bracketed {...}.  New info
and changes since 7/31/97 are double bracketed {{...}}

Marine Fisheries

{Coral Reef Protection.  On  July  31,  1997,  the  House  Resources
Subcommittee  on  Fisheries  Conservation,  Wildlife, and Oceans has
tentatively  scheduled  a  markup  of  H.R.   2233,  the  Coral Reef
Conservation Act of 1997.} [personal communication]

{LA Oil Spill Lawsuit.   On  July  31,  1997,  three  LA  commercial
fishermen filed a lawsuit in LA state district court against Texaco,
Texaco  Pipeline,  and  9  oil cleanup companies, seeking damages to
brown shrimp and oyster harvests  and  habitat  from a May 16, 1997,
oil spill from a ruptured pipeline at Lake Barre.  The lawsuit seeks
to have a class-action declaration  and  alleges  negligent  cleanup
activities.   A  hearing  on  the lawsuit was scheduled for Aug.  1,
1997, before Judge Timothy Ellender.}  {{On July 31, 1997, LA public
health officials announced that oyster beds  closed  since  the  May
1997  oil spill were scheduled to be reopened for harvesting on Aug.
1, 1997.}} [Assoc Press]

{{UK Quota Hopper Court  Decision.   On  July  31, 1997, the British
High Court ruled that foreign trawlers illegally denied the right to
fish in British waters were entitled "in principle" to  compensation
from  the  British government, but could not claim punitive damages.
The suit was filed by  97  vessel  owners and managers, most of them
from Spain, after the 1988  Merchant  Shipping  Act  outlawed  quota
hopping, wherein foreign vessels registered for an allocation of the
UK  fish  harvest.   The 1988 Merchant Shipping Act was subsequently
overturned in 1992 by the European Court of Justice -- the first law
by the British Parliament reversed by a EU court.}} [Dow Jones News]

{{EU Bans Bangladesh Shrimp Imports.  On July 30, 1997, EU officials
announced  that  the  European  Community's  Veterinary  Council had
imposed a  temporary  import  ban  on  shrimp  from  Bangladesh  for
non-compliance  with  EU health standards; no shrimp from Bangladesh
will be accepted for 3 months  after Aug.  15, 1997.  After a review
on Nov.  30, 1997, by EU officials, the import ban will  be  removed
or extended.}} [Reuters]

{AL  Crab  Processor  Probe.   On July 30, 1997, the Mobile Register
published a story reporting that  business  records of about a dozen
South AL crab processors had been subpoenaed in a federal  probe  of
alleged sales of undersize blue crabs.} [Assoc Press]

{Southern  Bluefin Tuna.  On July 30, 1997, TRAFFIC Oceania, a trade
monitoring program of the  World  Wide  Fund  for Nature, released a
report  "The  Review  of  the   Southern   Bluefin   Tuna   Fishery:
Implications  for  Ecologically  Sustainable  Management." The study
concluded that southern bluefin  tuna  are below a biologically safe
level (the population mature southern bluefin tuna is  estimated  to
be less than 9% of its 1960 abundance) and are at risk of commercial
extinction   if   fishing  continues  at  the  current  high  level.
Unregulated  fishing  by  Taiwan,  Indonesia,  and  South  Korea was
identified as particularly problematic since it occurs  outside  the
guidelines  of  the  Convention  for  the  Conservation  of Southern
Bluefin Tuna.} {{In addition, the  study called for quota reductions
by the Commission for the Conservation of Southern  Bluefin  Tuna.}}
[Assoc Press, Dow Jones News, Reuters]

{Minimata  Bay  Declared  Safe.   At  a press conference on July 29,
1997, Kumamoto  Governor  Joji  Fukushima  declared  fish in Japan's
Minimata Bay safe  for  human  consumption.   This  declaration  was
necessary  before  nets  could  be  removed to allow fish to migrate
beyond the Bay; consumption of  Bay  fish  was  linked by a May 1973
report to possible mercury poisoning and death of  local  residents.
The  net  is  scheduled  to  be  removed  by the end of Sept.  1997.
Results of  a  fish  survey  were  released  earlier  in  July 1997,
indicating that mercury levels in fish were below  safety  standards
for the third year in a row.} [Dow Jones News, Reuters]

{Canadian Groundfish.  On July 29, 1997, Canada's Fisheries Resource
Conservation  Council  released a report on efforts to save Atlantic
groundfish.} [personal communication]

{Hurricane Danny Aftermath.  In late July 1997, LA and AL commercial
shrimp trawlers requested  that  NMFS  temporarily  exempt them from
using turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in light  of  the  debris  from
Hurricane  Danny.   The shrimpers contend that abundant debris clogs
TEDs and allows shrimp to escape.} [Assoc Press]

{NJ Horseshoe Crab Regulations.  On July 24, 1997, NJ officials were
reported to be considering  new  regulations  to permit a restricted
horseshoe crab harvesting to  better  protect  migratory  shorebirds
that  feed on horseshoe crab eggs.  On July 29, 1997, Gov.  Christie
Whitman imposed new restrictions prohibiting horseshoe crab trawling
for the  remainder  of  1997,  replacing  an  emergency  ban  on all
horseshoe crab harvesting.  Limit hand-harvesting will  be  allowed,
and no new crabbers will be licensed in 1998.} [Assoc Press]

NMFS  Oversight  Hearing.   On  July  24  1997,  the House Resources
Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation,  Wildlife, and Oceans {held}
an oversight hearing to review  the  authority  and  decision-making
processes of NMFS's Northwest Region.  [Congr.  Record]

Swordfish  Quotas.   {{On  July  25,  1997,  NMFS published proposed
regulations outlining}}  more  stringent  swordfish  quotas  to help
restore overfished stocks, with different regulations for  fisheries
in  the  North  and  South  Atlantic.  While the 1997 North Atlantic
quota would be reduced to  2,458  metric  tons  from a 1996 quota of
2,625  metric  tons,  a  separate  South  Atlantic  quota  for  U.S.
fishermen would be set at 187.5 metric tons.  North Atlantic  quotas
would  decline  further in 1998 and 1999.  Four public hearings will
be held on this  proposal,  with  written  comments due by Aug.  21,
1997.  [Assoc Press, NMFS press release, Federal Register]

CITES Hearing.  On July 17, 1997, the House  Resources  Subcommittee
on  Fisheries  Conservation,  Wildlife, and Oceans held an oversight
hearing on the results of the recent meeting of CITES (Convention on
International Trade in Endangered  Species  of Wild Fauna and Flora)
Parties in Zimbabwe.  [Congr.  Record]

Atlantic Herring and Mackerel Fishery.  On July 16, 1997, the  House
Committee   on  Resources  marked-up  on  H.R.   1855,  proposing  a
moratorium on the  use  of  large  fishing  vessels  in the Atlantic
herring and mackerel fisheries, and ordered this  measure  reported.
{On  July 28, 1997, the U.S.  House approved H.R.  1855, proposing a
moratorium on the  use  of  large  fishing  vessels  in the Atlantic
herring and mackerel fisheries, by voice vote.}  [Federal  Register,
Assoc Press]

PRC   Fishery  Agreement.   On  July  16,  1997,  President  Clinton
transmitted to Congress an  agreement  between the United States and
the People's Republic of China concerning fisheries off  the  coasts
of  the  United  States,  extending  a  1985 governing international
fishery agreement until July 1, 1998.  [White House press release]

Kemp's  Ridley  Sea  Turtle  Nesting.   On  July  16,  1997,  a U.S.
Geological Survey biologist reported that  nine  Kemp's  ridley  sea
turtle  nests  have  been  found  along  the TX coast between Corpus
Christi and South  Padre  Island  so  far  this  summer.  This is an
increase over the 6 nests found in 1996, and  the  4  discovered  in
1995.  [Assoc Press]

NMFS  Candidate  Species  List  Revisions.   On  July 15, 1997, NMFS
announced that it was updating and revising its list of species that
are candidates for possible addition  to  the List of Endangered and
Threatened Species.  While the 1991 version of the List contained 44
candidate species under NMFS jurisdiction, 37 are being removed  and
15  are  being  added,  including  6  species  of Pacific salmon and
anadromous trout,  for  a  new  total  of  22  species.  [NOAA press

NC Commercial Fisheries Moratorium.  On July 15, 1997, the NC Senate
Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and Natural  Resources  began
consideration  of  the  package  of fishery reform measures recently
passed by the NC  House.   The Committee continued its consideration
on  July  17.   On  July  22,  1997,  the  NC  Senate  Committee  on
Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources approved the package
of fishery reform measures.  The package next must be considered  by
two  additional  Senate  Committees.   {On July 29, 1997, the Senate
Finance Committee approved an  amendment  to  the package of fishery
reform measures, reducing proposed  license  fees  for  out-of-state
fishermen.} [Assoc Press]

New  England  Groundfish.  On July 10, 1997, the New England Fishery
Management Council received a  report  indicating the first signs of
cod, haddock, and yellowtail  flounder  stock  recovery  on  Georges
Bank.   Similar signs of recovery are not yet reported to be evident
in the Gulf of  Maine.   {On  July  29,  1997, the U.S.  Coast Guard
intercepted, boarded, and seized the catch of an NC  fishing  vessel
found fishing in a closed area 133 miles southeast of Cape Cod.  The
catch  was  to have been sold with the proceeds held in escrow while
the case is prosecuted.} [Assoc Press]

Internet Seafood Exchange.   On  July  9, 1997, International Custom
Pack Inc., a shrimp processor, announced  that  it  had  reached  an
agreement  in  principal  to  acquire  Innovative Internet Marketing
Systems Inc.  (Anchorage, AK;  Seattle,  WA; Boston, MA), with plans
to launch an interactive worldwide Fishmart Seafood Exchange on  the
Internet  using  Innovative  Internet  Marketing  System's  on-line,
real-time  auction  software.  The Exchange will allow buyers to bid
on lots being auctioned  by  seafood producers and processors.  [Dow
Jones News, International Custom Pack press release]

Red Tide Virus.  On July 9,  1997,  the  Japanese  Fisheries  Agency
announced  that  it  had  succeeded  in  cultivating  a  Heterosigma
akashiwo  virus  (HAV)  capable  of killing the Heterosigma akashiwo
plankton responsible for certain  red  tides.   Within 10 years, the
Agency aims to cultivate large quantities of  HAV  and  be  able  to
spread  it  on  marine waters to selectively kill only this red tide
plankton.  [Dow Jones News]

European Fleet  Restructuring.   On  July  9,  1997,  the EU Council
formally confirmed, by a qualified majority, its decision on the new
phase in restructuring eu fishing fleets.  For the period from  Jan.
1,  1997,  through  Dec.  31, 2001, a reduction in fishing effort of
30% will be the objective for fish stocks threatened with extinction
and 20% for overexploited  stocks.   On  July 11, 1997, the European
Commission released  its  annual  report  on  restructuring  of  the
European fishing industry (MAGP III), confirming that the UK and the
Netherlands  failed  to achieve fleet tonnage reduction goals by the
end of 1996.  In addition, France  and Italy failed to achieve their
obligations for  reducing  engine  power.   At  the  other  extreme,
Portugal,  Spain,  Denmark,  and  Germany  reduced their fleets well
below Multi-Annual  Guidance  Programme  (MAGP)  requirements.  As a
whole, between 1991 and 1996, the European fishing fleet was reduced
15% in tonnage  and  9.5%  in  engine  power.   [Agence  Europe  via

Striped  Bass Reauthorization.  On July 8, 1997, the House Resources
Committee reported H.R.  1658,  reauthorization and amendment of the
Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act.  [H.Rept.  105-169]

Van Camp Seafood Sale.  On July 8, 1997,  International  Home  Foods
Inc.   (the  recent  purchaser  of Bumble Bee Seafoods) offered $110
million for Van Camp Seafood  Co.   Inc.'s  assets.  The sale of Van
Camp to  IHF  would  require  Dept.   of  Justice  approval  due  to
concentration of the canned tuna market.  A Tri-Union Seafoods offer
for Van Camp expires on July 12, 1997.  [Dow Jones News]

Small-Scale  Fishing  Assistance.   On  July  8,  1997, the European
Commission announced a  pilot  program  to  fund  projects to assist
small-scale  coastal  fishing.   The  program's  objectives  include
encouraging   vocational   training,   reinforcing    representation
structures,  exchanging experiences between fishermen, and promoting
women fishermen.  Two calls for proposals will be made, with a total
budget of 4 million ECUs.  [Agence Europe via Reuters]

Bycatch  Reduction  Device  Settlement.    On  July  8,  1997,  U.S.
District Judge Anthony A. Alaimo announced a settlement in a federal
lawsuit against the GA Dept.  of Natural Resources over  regulations
requiring  shrimpers  to  use  bycatch reduction devices.  Under the
settlement, GA shrimpers will  be  required to use bycatch reduction
devices, but will be allowed to test a different model to  determine
if shrimp loss can be reduced.  [Assoc Press]
End of Part 1/4

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