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Rule: CRS Summary - 1/9/98 - Part 2 of 3


Kate Wing <[log in to unmask]>


Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>


Fri, 9 Jan 1998 13:12:22 -0500





text/plain (1 lines)

     Raw Shellfish Warnings. On Dec. 12, 1997, the NC Commission for
Health Services voted unanimously to adopt a proposal that requires all NC
restaurants and seafood houses to post signs warning about the health risks
of eating raw shellfish. [Assoc Press]
     PSP Funding. On Dec. 11, 1997, the AK Science and Technology
Foundation voted to issue a request for proposals for applied research projects
to control paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in AK, focusing on improved
beach or sea monitoring, better toxicity testing, and development of antitoxins.
[Assoc Press]
     1998 EU TACs. On Dec. 11, 1997, the European Commission
announced its proposed total allowable catch (TAC) levels for 1998, to be
examined by the Fisheries Council on Dec. 18-19, 1997. Large reductions in
TACs are proposed for saithe west of Scotland and hake off the Iberian
Peninsula, while increased TACs are proposed for sole in the Bay of Biscay.
TACs are proposed for the first time for anglerfish and sand-eel. {On Dec. 19,
1997, the Fisheries Council agreed, by qualified majority, to 1998 fishery
catch quotas. Generally, some higher quotas were provided for North Sea
stocks, while lower quotas were more common in the lower Atlantic and Bay
of Biscay. A quota on horse mackerel was imposed for the first time.}
[Reuters, Agence Europe via Reuters]
     Bering Sea Quotas. On Dec. 10, 1997, the North Pacific Fishery
Management Council voted 8-3 to reduce the 1998 Bering Sea pollock quota
1.7% from the 1997 quota. AK's representative on the Council had proposed
reducing the quota by 12%, due to uncertainty over the pollock stock's
strength, increased Russian harvest of U.S.-spawned pollock, and declining
Steller sea lion populations. In other action, the Council reduced the 1998
Pacific cod quota by 22% and the yellowfin sole quota by 4%. [Assoc Press,
     Fish Population Assessment Report. On Dec. 9, 1997, the National
Research Council issued a report, entitled "Improving Fish Stock
Assessments," on the difficulties of conducting useful fish population
assessments. This report was commissioned by NMFS in 1995. The report
cautioned that data underlying current stock assessments are inadequate for
precautionary management as required by the Magnuson Act, and
recommended that an independent panel of experts conduct a complete
review of how data are collected from commercial fisheries. [Assoc Press,
NOAA press release]
     CDQ Problems. On Dec. 8, 1997, AK officials asked NMFS to cancel
or revoke 1998 community development quota CDQ) fishing privileges for the
Coastal Villages Fishing Cooperative, representing 17 villages along the
Kuskokwim River, to avoid foreclosure on a factory trawler purchased in a
partnership deal. The Christiania Bank of Norway filed court papers in Seattle,
WA, on Dec. 8 to foreclose on the vessel, after the partnership was unable to
secure refinancing of a loan from Christiania and the AK Industrial
Development and Export Authority. Revocation of the CDQ rights would allow
AK to keep the benefits or redirect them to other CDQ efforts. [Assoc Press]
     Shark Fin Assassin. On Dec. 8, 1997, a businessman was arraigned
on attempted murder charges, alleging that he paid an undercover police
officer $5,000 to have a rival shark fin distributor killed. The two men were
conflict over control of shark fin retail distribution to Asian markets in the
Honolulu, HI, area. On Dec. 9, 1997, a second man was arrested for this
alleged plot. [Assoc Press]
     Canada-Spain ICJ Fisheries Hearings. On Dec. 8, 1997, the
International Court of Justice (ICJ) announced that it would hold hearings on
June 9-17, 1998, on the Spanish filing charging that the March 1995 Canadian
seizure of a Spanish trawler in international waters off the Canadian coast was
a breach of international law and that Canada should pay damages. These
hearings will be held to determine whether the ICJ has a valid basis for
jurisdiction over this incident. [Reuters]
     Canadian Crab Pots. On Dec. 8, 1997, WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
agents confiscated more than 100 Canadian crab pots and associated gear,
allegedly placed illegally in U.S. waters in Boundary Bay, WA. Canadian
fisheries officials participated in the enforcement operation. [Assoc Press]
     Russian Factory Trawler Plans. In early December 1997, an official of
the Russian union of fishing cooperatives, Rosrybakkolkhozsoyuz, reported
that discussions are underway for financing to construct 30 new $10 million
small factory freezer-trawlers in 1998 and 1999, to be used by fishing
cooperatives in the Arkhangelsk and Murmansk regions. Each new vessel is
to replace 4 existing vessels. [Interfax]
     Puget Sound PSP. In early December 1997, the WA Dept. of Health
reported continuing increases in levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP)
shellfish in southern Puget Sound -- an unusual occurrence this late in the
year and in harvest areas seldom affected by PSP closures. [WA Dept. of
Health press release]
     Swordfish Concerns. On Dec. 4, 1997, the SC Dept. of Natural
Resources released a report critical of federal and international regulations
limiting swordfish harvest along the Atlantic coast. Concerns include the
encroachment of commercial longline fishermen in nearshore waters leading to
increasing conflicts with sport fishermen. [Assoc Press]
     New England Groundfish. On Dec. 2, 1997, the New England Fishery
Management Council's Multispecies Monitoring Committee reported that
stocks of cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder are continuing to increase in
abundance on Georges Bank, but that cod in the Gulf of Maine continue to be
overfished. They recommended 8 strategies to improve Gulf of Maine cod, for
discussion at public meetings scheduled for Jan. 14-15, 1998. Options for
decreasing the 1998 harvest of cod in the Gulf of Maine an additional 63%
include closing as much as an additional 2,000 sq. miles to fishing, reducing
days-at-sea, or imposing cod trip limits. {On Dec. 19, 1997, a MA fisherman
was arrested and charged with making a false distress call, allegedly to
distract the Coast Guard from pursuing two vessels discovered fishing illegally
in a closed area. {On Jan. 7, 1998, the National Academy of Sciences'
National Research Council announced the results of an independent scientific
panel's review of federal groundfish regulations off New England (Review of
Northeast Fishery Stock Assessments), finding no evidence to support
assertions that current restrictions are too severe from a biological
perspective. They further concluded that any relaxation of management
measures may jeopardize the sustained recovery of these commercial
fisheries. However, the panel recommended more frequent stock
assessments involving fishermen in the process.} [Assoc Press, Reuters]
     Zapata Acquisition. On Dec. 2, 1997, Zapata Corp.'s subsidiary,
Marine Genetics Corp. (Hammond, LA), announced its acquisition of the
fishing and production assets of Gulf Protein Inc. (Amelia, LA). [Dow Jones
     Endangered Turtles and TX Shrimpers. On Dec. 1, 1997, the
National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and the Texas Shrimp Assoc. announced
that they would each match the NMFS $5,000 reward for information leading
to prosecution of individuals responsible for the mutilated sea turtles found
along the TX coast in early November 1997. [Assoc Press, NFI press release]
     Dutch Harbor Oil Spill. By Dec. 3, 1997, an estimated 41,000 gallons
of heavy (bunker) fuel oil had been spilled from damaged fuel tanks of the
Japanese bulk freighter Kuroshima that had run aground near Dutch Harbor,
AK. Damage to wildlife and fisheries appears minimal, with 9 oiled birds
reported dead. Sea otters and seals in the area appear not to be oiled.
[Assoc Press]
     Salmon Along the Pacific Coast
     {{Elk Creek Dam. On Jan. 8, 1998, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
officials announced a finding of "no significant impact" for breaching the
partially constructed Elk Creek Dam in the Rogue River drainage, OR, to allow
salmon to pass upstream to spawn. Thus, no environmental impact
statement will need to be prepared on the action, and the Corps may award a
contract for blasting a notch in the dam as early as March 1998, with work to
be completed by October 1998. The project is anticipated to cost about $7
million.}} [Assoc Press]
     {WA Steelhead Initiative. In late December 1997, WA Dept. of Fish
and Wildlife officials released a first draft of the state's "Lower Columbia
Steelhead Conservation Initiative," focusing on hundreds of options for possible
state activities to restore steelhead trout, and setting priorities for action.
second draft is anticipated in early February, incorporating local government
and private efforts to complement state actions.} [Assoc Press]
     {Umpqua Searun Cutthroat Trout Critical Habitat. On Dec. 19,
1997, NMFS officials announced the designation of portions of the Umpqua
River basin, OR, as critical habitat for Umpqua searun cutthroat trout.} [Assoc
     {Milltown Hill Dam Approval. On Dec. 19, 1997, NMFS announced
approval for Douglas County, OR, to construct Milltown Hill Dam on Elk Creek
in the headwaters of the Umpqua River, if certain conditions are met. These
conditions included restoration of at least 12 miles of degraded fish habitat,
including use of 100-foot buffer zones, elsewhere in the Elk Creek and
Umpqua River watershed to compensate for the loss of marginal headwater
habitat above the dam. In addition, the County will modify road culverts to
provide access to at least 4 miles of habitat in previously blocked areas, and
reduce mercury runoff from the abandoned Elkhead Mine. NMFS approval
cleared the way for the Bureau of Reclamation to provide $44 million for dam
construction.} [Assoc Press]
     {Salmon in the Press Award. On Dec. 19, 1997, the Seattle Times
announced that its June 8, 1997 editorial "Save the Columbia Salmon" had
been awarded the 1997 Opinion/Editorial Gold Award by the Association of
Opinion Page Editors and Penn State's College of Communications.} [Seattle
Times press release]
     OR Steelhead Strategy. On Dec. 18, 1997, OR officials released the
state's steelhead trout strategy (officially the "steelhead supplement to the
Oregon Plan for coho salmon"), relying on local watershed councils and
encouraging landowners to voluntarily restore fish habitat, in an effort to
forestall federal listing of additional steelhead trout populations as
or endangered species. NMFS is scheduled to decide the status of these
steelhead populations by Feb. 9, 1998. A state legislative oversight
committee approved $1.3 million to fund the steelhead strategy. [Assoc
     Columbia River Water Rights. On Dec. 9, 1997, the WA Dept. of
Ecology held the first of 6 scheduled hearings in eastern WA on developing
interim regulations to evaluate applications of new water rights on the
Columbia River. In 1992, WA imposed a moratorium on the issuance of new
water rights for Columbia and Snake River water in response to the initial
listing of several salmon populations as threatened or endangered. The WA
Legislature lifted the moratorium for Columbia River water earlier this year,
contingent on the implementation of amended regulations for water allocation
and in-stream flow. [Assoc Press]
     Bristol Bay Salmon Fishery. Dept. of Commerce officials were
scheduled to visit Bristol Bay and the Kuskokwim Delta regions on Dec. 8-10,
1997, to determine how a $7 million federal disaster appropriation should be
spent. [Assoc Press, Reuters]
     OR Waterway Protection. In early December 1997, a coalition of 3
OR conservation groups petitioned the OR Environmental Quality Commission
(EQC) to have 9 state rivers and 1 lake designated as outstanding resources
waters for enhanced protection under the Clean Water Act. As part of the
process, the OR Dept. of Environmental Quality will review the petitions and
make a recommendation to the EQC; the EQC will then proposed waterbodies
for statewide hearings and public comment. [Assoc Press]
     WA Wild Salmon Policy. On Dec. 5, 1997, the WA Fish and Wildlife
Commission unanimously adopted the state's Wild Salmonid Policy,
establishing guidelines for protecting and restoring wild salmon stocks. None
of the 20 western WA tribes involved in negotiations on the Policy has elected
thus far to sign the Policy, but half are anticipated to be willing to sign
the next month after various details are settled. In addition, the Commission
adopted documents to be used in negotiating specific cooperative watershed
agreements with tribes and local governments to improve management of
salmon stocks. [Assoc Press]
     Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout ESA Petition. On Dec. 5, 1997, a coalition
of conservation and sport fishing groups submitted a petition to NMFS
requesting the declaration of sea-run cutthroat trout along the Pacific coast as
endangered. Although NMFS responded that it is already reviewing this and
other trout species with an initial decision anticipated by December 1998, the
coalition chose to file a formal petition. [Assoc Press]
     OR Salmon Poll. In early December 1997, The Oregonian released
the results of a telephone poll of 514 Oregonians, indicating that 85% think
important to preserve salmon runs; 38% would pay $5 or more per month to
help salmon; while 29% of those in eastern, agricultural OR support removing
Snake River dams, 41% of those in Portland and the Willamette Valley would
support such an effort; 60% believe improving salmon runs should be a higher
priority than other commercial uses of the rivers; and 60% feel salmon
restoration funding has been ineffective. [Assoc Press]
     Anti-Barging Campaign. On Dec. 2, 1997, a coalition of seven ID
conservation and sport fishing groups announced the launching of a new
campaign to legislatively ban barging of juvenile salmon downstream around
Columbia and Snake River dams. [Assoc Press]
     Pacific Salmon Treaty. On Dec. 1, 1997, an official of BC's United
Fishermen and Allied Workers' Union assured AK officials that BC fishermen
have no intention of jeopardizing AK ferry service to Prince Rupert, BC, and
will not blockade any AK ferry. On Dec. 1, 1997, AK and Canadian authorities
met to discuss options for compensating AK for losses during the July 1997
AK ferry blockade by BC fishermen. On Dec. 2, 1997, AK Governor Knowles
confirmed that AK state ferry service to Prince Rupert, BC, would resume on
Dec. 4 as scheduled. On Dec. 8, 1997, the Federal Court of Canada ruled
that the names of 274 fishermen and companies identified in the AK ferry
blockade compensation lawsuit would remain, despite challenges by BC
fishermen. On Dec. 19, 1997, special envoys of Canada and the United
States are scheduled to meet in Seattle, WA, to continue discussions. BC
officials have indicated that they will participate in these discussions. The
special envoys are expected to report on their progress by the end of January
1998. {On Dec. 19, 1997, special envoys Ruckelshaus and Strangway met
with fishermen and industry representatives for almost 12 hours of discussion.}
[Assoc Press, Reuters, Dow Jones News, Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and
Oceans press release]

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