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CRS Summary - Part 1/4


Aldo-Pier Solari <[log in to unmask]>


Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>


Fri, 1 Aug 1997 20:34:37 GMT





text/plain (1 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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