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CRS: Daily Summary - 3/26/99 - Longer Friday Version - Part 1 of 2


"Suchman, Cynthia" <[log in to unmask]>


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


Fri, 26 Mar 1999 15:24:00 -0500





text/plain (1 lines)

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 3/26/99 (updated

Environment and Natural Resources Policy Division
Congressional Research Service

New info and changes since 3/19/99 are bracketed {...}
New info and changes since 3/24/99 double-bracketed {{...}}


New England Groundfish. On Apr. 16-17, 1999, the CT College Center for
Conservation Biology & Environmental Studies and the CT Sea Grant College
Program have scheduled a conference on *The History, Status, and Future of
the New England Offshore Fishery* in New London, CT. [Center for
Conservation Biology & Environmental Studies press release]

{Atlantic Shark Commercial Fishery Closure. On Mar. 31, 1999, NMFS will
close the Atlantic large coastal shark commercial fishery, estimating that
the first semiannual quota of 642 metric tons will be landed by that
date.}[personal communication]

{{Butyltin Contaminants. On Mar. 24, 1999, scientists reported at a
meeting of the American Chemical Society that butyltin compounds, used in
anti-fouling paints and other uses, disrupt the functioning of the human
immune system blood cells that destroy tumor cells. The International
Maritime Organization has scheduled a conference in 2000 to consider a
draft protocol to minimize the harmful effects of anti-fouling
paints.}}[Environment News Service]

Blue Crab Management. A series of public hearings on effort management
proposals for the NC blue crab fishery was scheduled for Mar. 22-24, 1999,
in a variety of coastal NC locations. {On Mar. 23, 1999, the VA Marine
Resources Commission voted unanimously to order an updated report on blue
crab populations trends for its Apr. 27, 1999 meeting, concerned with
reports of low harvests and declining populations.}[Carteret News-Times,
Richmond Times-Dispatch]

{NC Inshore Trawling Ban? On Mar. 22, 1999, the NC Marine Fisheries
Commission received a 118-page report on the impacts of inshore trawling,
in consideration of a possible ban on bottom-dragging shrimp or blue crab
trawls in coastal rivers and sounds. No action was taken on the proposed
ban.}[Jacksonville Daily News, Carteret News-TImes]

Coast Guard Inquiry into Clam Vessel Sinkings. On Mar. 19, 1999, the
Coast Guard panel investigating the December 1998-January 1999 sinkings of
5 mid-Atlantic clam vessels was scheduled to release its recommendations.
The Associated Press reports the panel is expected to recommend licensing
of fishing vessel skippers and request mandatory inspections for fishing
vessels. If adopted by the panel, the Coast Guard commandant could
present the recommendations to Congress. [Bergan (NJ) Record, Assoc Press]

NMFS FY2000 Budget. On Mar. 18, 1999, the House Resources Subcommittee on
Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has scheduled an oversight
hearing on the FY 2000 budget request of NMFS. [personal communication]

Swordfish Imports. On Mar. 16, 1999, NMFS published final regulations
prohibiting the sale and import of undersize (less than 33 pounds dressed
weight) north Atlantic swordfish, implementing a 1995 recommendation of
the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.
Certificates of eligibility will be required for every imported swordfish,
identifying ocean of origin and flag of fishing vessel. These regulations
will be enforced beginning June 17, 1999, after an outreach program to
inform importers, exporters, and government officials of exporting
nations. [Fed. Register, NOAA press release]

Fishing Industry Subsidies. On Mar. 12, 1999, Clinton Administration
officials announced that the United States will join Australia, Iceland,
New Zealand, and the Philippines at the High-Level Symposium on Trade and
the Environment sponsored by the World Trade Organization, scheduled for
Mar. 15-18, 1999, in Geneva, Switzerland, in proposing to reduce or
eliminate government subsidies to the commercial fishing industry. [Assoc
Press, Reuters]

Shrimp Blinding. The Mar. 11, 1999 issue of Nature present results of a
study concluding that retinal damage in deep-sea shrimp near hydrothermal
vents may be caused by exposure to flood lights from manned submersibles.
This damage does not appear to harm the shrimps* survival. [Fox News]

House Resources Fishery Hearing. On Mar. 11, 1999, the House Resources
Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans held a
hearing on reauthorization of the Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967, and
the Intergovernmental Consultative Committee Agreement Between the
Government of the United States and the Government of the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics on Mutual Fisheries Relations of May 31, 1988, as
amended (the United States-Soviet Comprehensive Fisheries Agreement --
obligations of the former Soviet Union under this agreement have devolved
on the Russian Federation). [personal communication]

ICCAT Advisory Committee Meeting. On Mar. 9-10, 1999, the International
Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Advisory
Committee will meet in Washington, DC, to discuss 1998 ICCAT meeting
results and U.S. implementation of ICCAT decisions, NMFS/ICCAT research
and monitoring activities, precautionary approach, upcoming meeting of
ICCAT*s Working Group on Allocation Criteria, U.S. requirement to identify
countries that are diminishing the effectiveness of ICCAT, and the results
of the Committee*s Species Working Groups. [Fed. Register]

Greenpeace Factory Trawler Protest. On Mar. 8, 1999, Greenpeace activists
held a protest in Rotterdam, Netherlands, preventing the new Dutch factory
trawler, Afrika, from departing for sea trials. The trawler departed
after dark that night, completing sea trials before sailing on Mar. 12 to
fish Sardinella and horse mackerel off west Africa. [personal

Non-Point Source Pollution. On Mar. 8, 1999, the New England Aquarium
released the report *Pointless Pollution* focusing on continued problems
with contaminated shellfish beds, polluted beaches, and damaged coasts
caused by pollutants from non-point sources. [Boston Globe]

Italy and Driftnet Sanctions. On Mar. 5, 1999, the U.S. Court of
International Trade ruled that the Secretary of Commerce had violated U.S.
law by failing to identify Italy as an illegal driftnetting nation despite
evidence of large-scale driftnetting by Italian vessels. On Mar. 15,
1999, the Secretary of Commerce identified Italy as an illegal
driftnetting nation. If negotiations to end Italian large-scale
driftnetting are not successful by July 15, 1999, the United States would
impose sanctions against Italian fish and fish products. [Humane Society
of the United States press release, NOAA press release]

Lobster Lawsuit. On Mar. 5, 1999, a hearing was held in U.S. District
Court (Albany, NY) on the lawsuit filed in April 1998 by CT, charging that
NY was enforcing illegal barriers to interstate commerce by preventing CT
fishermen from harvesting lobsters near Fishers Island in Long Island
Sound. [Assoc Press]

Glacier Bay Fisheries. On Mar. 4, 1999, AK Governor Tony Knowles
announced that AK intended to sue the federal government to allow
commercial and subsistence fishing within Glacier National Park to
continue. [Anchorage Daily News, MSNBC]

U.S.-Canada Lobster Summit. On Mar. 3-4, 1999, more than 200 lobster
fishermen, marketers, management biologists, and other scientists gathered
in Rockport, ME for the U.S.-Canada Lobster Summit III. Sponsored by the
New England Aquarium, the Summit focused on reaching a consensus on
methods of lobster stock assessment and efforts to improve data
collection. [Bangor Daily News]

Toothfish. On Mar. 2, 1999, the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise
discovered an unmarkeded vessel, likely fishing illegally for toothfish,
45 miles northeast of Kerguelen Island in France*s sub-Antarctic
territory. Greenpeace officials believe the vessel is the
Belize-registered Salvora, previously found guilty by Australian
authorities of poaching toothfish in October 1997. On, Mar. 5, 1999, the
Greenpeace vessel was continuing to shadow the Salvora. On Mar. 14, 1999,
Greenpeace reported that Mauritius officials have indicated they will take
action against the Salvora, should this vessel arrive in Mauritius. In
addition, Greenpeace identified another Belize-flagged vessel, the Bouzon,
as illegally catching toothfish. The Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise
continues its pursuit of the Salvora. [CNN, personal communication]

Coral Protection. On Mar. 2, 1999, NOAA*s National Ocean Service
completed installation of the next-to-last Racon navigation beacon in an
8-beacon radar navigation system stretching from Miami, FL, to Loggerhead
Key in the Dry Tortugas, designed to prevent ship groundings on coral
reefs. Beacons were purchased as part of a settlement for natural
resources damages with the owners of the container ship Houston that went
aground in the FL Keys in 1997. On Mar. 5, 1999, the Center for Marine
Conservation (CMC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced
a partnership in 2 programs to protect coral reefs -- Reef Ecosystem
Conditions (RECON) and the Hawaii National Marine Debris Monitoring
Program (NMDMP). RECON uses recreational divers to collect information on
the condition of coral reef systems, while NMDMP uses volunteer groups to
monitor and remove marine debris from selected U.S. coastal areas. On
Mar. 5-6, 1999, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force was scheduled to hod its
second meeting in Maui, HI. At this meeting, the Task Force will review
initial plans and products developed by 5 Working Groups, receive input on
the plans from government and NGO partners, and determine the optimal
strategies and options for action. [personal communication, Naples Daily
News, CMC press release]

New Carissa Grounding. Late on Mar. 2, 1999, the towline between the Sea
Victory and the bow section of the New Carissa parted, in storm conditions
about 50 miles west of Coos Bay, OR. The Unified Command estimated the
New Carissa bow section would be several miles west of Newport, OR, early
on Mar. 3, 1999. On Mar. 3, 1999, the bow section of the New Carissa ran
aground off the mouth of Alsea Bay, OR. A small quantity of fuel oil was
released on impact. The OR Dept. of Agriculture alerted the public that
mussel and clam harvesting were not advised on beaches and in bays of Lane
and Lincoln Counties. On Mar. 4, 1999, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
biologists reported collecting 278 oiled shorebirds from beaches near the
grounding. OR agriculture officials warned against harvesting mussels and
clams along 7 miles of beach near Alsea Bay. On Mar. 8, 1999, a tug
pulled the bow section of the New Carissa off the beach near Waldport, OR;
by Mar. 9, it had been towed more than 100 miles off the OR coast. At
about 250 miles offshore, a Navy destroyer used explosives and 69 shells
from its 5-inch guns while a submarine blasted it with a Mark 48 torpedo
to finally sink the bow section. A total of 312 dead birds have been
reported, with more than 100 miles of coast fouled by oil from Coos Bay,
OR, to Long Beach, WA. OR officials reopened Yaquina Bay to commercial
shellfish harvesting and recreational clamming, after no oil was found in
the Bay. In early March 1999, OR Governor Kitzhaber asked that a $25
million bond be posted before Mar. 19 to cover the cost of evaluating
options for dealing with the New Carissa*s stern section still grounded
near Coos Bay. On Mar. 18, 1999, total costs related to the New Carissa
grounding were reported to have reached at least $15.95 million. [ABC
News, Portland Oregonian, Assoc Press, Environment News Service, Seattle
Times, personal communication, Joint Information Center press release]

SAFMC Grouper Ban. On Mar. 1, 1999, the South Atlantic Fishery Management
Council*s two-month ban on harvest and sale of black grouper, gag grouper,
and red porgy went into effect to protect spawning aggregations of these
species. This ban is scheduled annually for the next 10 years to allow
overfished stocks to recover. [Carteret News-Times]

South Korean Fishery Agreements. On Mar. 1, 1999, South Korean officials
announced that South Korea will sign a fishery agreement with the Peoples
Republic of China in late March or early April 1999 to establish orderly
fisheries in waters between the two countries. Fisheries will be divided
into 3 zones -- exclusive management, joint management, and transitory,
with the 20-mile wide transitory zones to become each country*s exclusive
fishing zones after a 4-year joint management period. Although
discussions began on Mar. 8, 1999, Japan has not responded favorably to
South Korean requests to allow about 220 pair trawlers to fish in Japanese
waters. On Mar 17, 1999, Japanese officials agreed to allow 80 South
Korean pair trawlers to operate in the Japanese EEZ. In addition, Japan
agreed to allow an additional 74 South Korean swellfish and 18 hairtail
dipnet vessels to operate in the Japanese EEZ. However, no additional
catch quota was secured for these vessels. In exchange South Korea agreed
to allow 26 additional Japanese swellfish dipnet fishing boats to fish in
the South Korean EEZ, and eased restrictions for Japanese dragnet fishing
vessels operating in the South Korean EEZ. {{On Mar. 22, 1999, South
Korean President Kim replaced Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
Kim Sun-kil, for lack of negotiating prowess and alleged unacceptable
concessions to Japan. Some of the problem was also attributed to
fishermen, where a huge gap in vessel numbers and harvest reported by
fishermen in the past and what was recently claimed hampered government
negotiators* need for accurate information.}}[Korean Herald]

New England Scallop Fishery. On Mar. 1, 1999, days-at-sea fishing
restrictions were scheduled to be reduced from 142 days annually to 120
days for New England scallopers. [Boston Herald, Assoc Press]

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