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CRS: Daily Summary - 4/2/98 - Longer Friday Version - Part 4 of 4


"Field, John" <[log in to unmask]>


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


Thu, 2 Apr 1998 17:01:01 -0500





text/plain (1 lines)

> Lake Washington Fish Kill. On Mar. 10, 1998, boaters on WA's Lake
>Washington reported 200-300 dead and dying fish, likely peamouth chub, at
>several locations. Concern was expressed that the initiation of joint
>U.S.-Canadian earthquake research, the Seismic Hazards Investigations in
>Puget Sound (SHIPS) project, using airguns. The project started on Lake
>Washington on this date, reportedly the first time large airguns have been
>used in freshwater ecosystems. [Assoc Press]
> .
> VT Endangered Mussels. In early March 1998, VT officials proposed
>adding several freshwater mussel species to the state's list of endangered
>species as well as an additional mussel species as a threatened species.
>[Assoc Press]
> .
> Battenkill Floater Restrictions? On Mar. 5, 1998, Friends of the
>Battenkill has scheduled a community meeting to discuss a proposed petition
>to the VT Water Resources Board to restrict canoe and inflatable tubes on the
>Battenkill. Sport anglers and landowners seek to limit the number of
>on weekends, ban floating altogether on three days (Tuesday through
>Thursday) each week, and impose user fees of $5 per canoe or inflatable tube
>on commercial liveries. [Assoc Press]
> .
> Sport Fish Restoration Program. On Mar. 3, 1998, the House
>Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans
>held a hearing on H.R. 2973, proposing to amend the Federal Aid in Sport
>Fish Restoration Act. On Mar. 5, 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
>announced that a total of $272,028,441 in 1997 excise tax revenues had been
>distributed to states under the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration
>(Dingell-Johnson/Wallop-Breaux) Program. This was slightly less than the
>$273.2 million distributed last year. On Mar. 12, 1998, the U.S. Senate
>approved S. 1173, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of
>1997, as amended to authorize the transfer of non-highway motor fuel tax
>revenues for use by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program through
>the end of FY2003 and to include modified language of H.R. 2973, the
>Sportfishing and Boating Improvement Act of 1997. [Fish and Wildlife Service
>press release, personal communication, Congr. Record]
> .
> Flood Cleanup Damage. On Mar. 2, 1998, federal Environmental
>Protection Agency officials wrote a letter to the USDA's Natural Resources
>Conservation Service, stating that cleanup of flood damage along the Doe
>River, TN, and tributaries went beyond what was needed or legal under the
>Clean Water Act without a permit. Bulldozers allegedly removed boulders,
>damaged fish spawning beds, widened and straightened streams, and stripped
>streambanks of shading vegetation. A mitigation plan for the damage is being
>developed. [Assoc Press]
> .
>Marine Mammals
> .
> {Sea Lion Research Grant. On Mar. 26, 1998, officials of Premier
>Pacific Seafoods, a company active in Bering Sea fisheries, announced the
>donation of $120,000 to the Univ. of Alaska's Fishery Industrial Technology
>Center, of which $20,000 will be used to fund sea lion population census
>work.} [Assoc Press]
> .
> Gray Whale Release. SeaWorld San Diego anticipated releasing a
>juvenile gray whale on Mar. 26, 1998. This animal had been under SeaWorld's
>care since stranding on Jan. 11, 1997, on Venice Beach near Los Angeles,
>CA. The U.S. Coast Guard will assist in the release, timed to coincide with
>the annual northward migration of gray whales along the CA coast. Having
>reached about 9 tons, this whale is considered the largest mammal ever held
>in captivity. {On Mar. 31, 1998, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Conifer and the
>U.S. Navy assisted SeaWorld San Diego in releasing a juvenile gray whale
>into the Pacific Ocean, after recovering for 14 months from stranding.}
>Press, American Zoo and Aquarium Assoc press release, SeaWorld San
>Diego press release]
> .
> NZ Sea Lions. On Mar. 24, 1998, the Squid Management Company
>ordered its vessels to stop fishing for squid near New Zealand's Auckland and
>Campbell Islands to avoid exceeding the incidental quota of 63 Hooker sea
>lion deaths. On Mar. 25, 1998, NZ officials announced the squid fishery
>be officially closed on Mar. 27, 1998, to avoid exceeding the incidental
>for Hooker sea lions. The Hooker sea lion incidental quota earlier had been
>reduced from 79 animals to 63 animals after mass mortalities of undetermined
>cause killed about 1,400 pups and as many as 1,000 adults from a total
>population of about 15,000 individuals. [Reuters]
> .
> BC Whale Watching Fatalities. On Mar. 22, 1998, the captain and a
>German tourist were killed and two other passengers injured when a series of
>heavy waves swamped a whale-watching vessel several miles offshore of
>Tofino, British Columbia, Canada, despite compliance with regulations
>requiring all whale-watching participants to wear coldwater survival suits.
>[Assoc Press]
> .
> Portuguese Whalers. On Mar. 18, 1998, Portuguese officials donated
>$500,000 to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, MA, for a permanent exhibit
>to honor Portuguese/Azorean whalers and their contribution to New Bedford's
>maritime heritage. [Assoc Press]
> .
> Australian Whale Protection. On Mar. 16, 1998, Australian officials
>announced that sei and fin whales were being listed by Australia as
>species, obligating the government to the development of species recovery
>plans. [Assoc Press]
> .
> International Whaling Commission. On Mar. 16, 1998, Australian
>officials announced that Australia would seek approval for a global whale
>sanctuary at the IWC annual meeting in Oman in May 1998. [Assoc Press]
> .
> Whale Protection Appeal. On Mar. 12, 1998, MA state officials
>announced that they would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review an October
>1997 federal appeals court ruling directing MA to take steps to prevent
>gear and fishing nets from harming northern right whales. [Assoc Press]
> .
> AK Eskimo Whaling Captains' Convention. On Mar. 11-13, 1998,
>the 1998 AK Eskimo Whaling Convention is scheduled to convene in Barrow,
>AK, to consider weapons' improvements, quota allocation, and legislative
>resolutions. Whaling captains from 10 villages are expected to attend.
> .
> North Atlantic Blue Whale. On Mar. 7, 1998, scientists converged on
>Narragansett Bay, RI, to study the first complete north Atlantic blue whale
>carcass available since the late 19th century. The young male, one of an
>estimated population of only 300 individuals in the north Atlantic, may have
>been killed by collision with a ship. [Assoc Press]
> .
> Japanese Whaling. During an early March 1998 visit to Japan, New
>Zealand's Prime Minister Jenny Shipley agreed to open discussions on New
>Zealand's opposition to Japan's request for a resumption of commercial
>whaling. [Reuters]
> .
> Canadian Sealing. On Mar. 5, 1998, the International Fund for Animal
>Welfare (IFAW) announced that it had filed suit against the Canadian
>government, seeking to block the export of seal penises to Asian markets on
>the basis that it is against Canadian law for non-physicians to sell
>testosterone. In mid-March 1998, the Canadian Sealers Association sought
>to encourage increased acceptance of the seal hunt by distributing a
>15-minute video in Britain, depicting the various uses of seal products. The
>Canadian seal hunt is scheduled to begin in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in late
>March 1998, and continue off the east coast of Newfoundland, with a season
>quota of 275,000 seals. [Assoc Press, Reuters]
> .
> Low Frequency Active Sonar. On Mar. 5, 1998, Nature published an
>article noting the unique occurrence of mass stranding of Cuvier's beaked
>whales in the eastern Mediterranean coincident with 1996 tests of low
>frequency active sonar. The article raises the question of a possible
>cause-and-effect relationship between these events. On Mar. 9, 1998, U.S.
>District Court Judge Helen Gillmore denied an injunction requested by
>environmental groups seeking to halt U.S. Navy tests of a low frequency
>sonar system in Hawaiian waters. Environmental activists threatened physical
>disruption of testing. On Mar. 18, 1998, the HI County Green Party filed a
>petition in U.S. District Court requesting a temporary restraining order on
>tests, claiming evidence that the Navy has violated the terms of its testing
>permit, including an apparent migration of whales from the test area. On
>18, 1998, U.S. District Judge Alan Kay denied a request by a HI religious
>practitioner for a temporary halt in Navy testing. [personal communication,
>Assoc Press, Reuters]
> .
> World Council of Whalers. On Mar. 2-6, 1998, the World Council of
>Whalers held its first General Assembly in Victoria, British Columbia,
> Eighteen nations were represented at this meeting, and adopted a resolution
>supportive of efforts by Iceland, the Nuu-Chah-Nulth First Nations of British
>Columbia, and four small-type whaling communities in Japan to sustainably
>use whales. [World Council of Whalers press release]
> .
> Keiko. On Mar. 2, 1998, the Free Willy Keiko Foundation unveiled the
>design for a $350,000 floating net enclosure or sea pen, which is planned for
>an unnamed sheltered North Atlantic location where Keiko will be acclimated
>to a more natural environment. Components for the net enclosure will be
>fabricated, beginning in mid-March 1998. The Foundation hopes to be able to
>move Keiko to the net enclosure by spring 1999. In early March 1998,
>Foundation representatives met with officials in Iceland and Ireland to
>possible net enclosure sites. Officials in both nations were reportedly
>receptive and enthusiastic about arranging a location for placement of
>net pen. [Assoc Press, Free Willy Keiko Foundation press release]
> .
> Items in this summary are excerpted from a variety of information
>sources. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is not responsible
>for the accuracy of the various news items.

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