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


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


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


Fri, 26 Mar 1999 15:24:42 -0500





text/plain (1 lines)


Joint Salmon Hearing. On Apr. 7, 1999, the Senate Committee on
Appropriations' Subcommittee on Interior and the House Committee on
Appropriations' Subcommittee on Interior have tentatively scheduled a
joint field hearing in WA state on funding for salmon recovery
programs. [Assoc Press]

{Scientists on Salmon. On Mar. 22, 1999, a letter bearing the
signatures of more than 200 scientists was delivered to President
Clinton, calling for consideration of federal dam removal in the
Columbia River Basin to restore salmon and steelhead trout. These
scientists expressed concern for management focused on technological
solutions rather than returning to normative river
conditions.}[Portland Oregonian]

{{Hatchery Recommendations. On Mar. 22, 1999, the Northwest Power
Planning Council held a public meeting in Yakima, WA, on its draft
recommendations for Congress on future hatchery operations in the
Columbia River basin. Additional public meetings will be held through
Apr. 6, 1999, at other ID and OR locations. The recommendations are
scheduled to be delivered to Congress in May 1999.}}[Assoc Press]

Tribal Concerns for Hydroelectric Operations. On Mar. 16, 1999, the
Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission released a series of
requests and suggestions for the Technical Management Team preparing a
1999 water management plan for the Columbia and Snake River drainage by
Apr. 15, 1999. Elements for modifying hydroelectric operations to
benefit salmon and steelhead trout include reducing extreme
fluctuations in water flow, spilling more water as opposed to passing
it through turbines, and keeping more juvenile fish in the river rather
than transporting them downstream by barge. [Reuters]

Salmon and Steelhead ESA Listing. On Mar. 16, 1999, NMFS announced the
listing of 8 populations of Pacific Northwest salmon and steelhead
trout (Puget Sound chinook, lower Columbia River chinook, Lake Ozette
sockeye, Hood Canal summer chum, lower Columbia River chum,
mid-Columbia steelhead, upper Willamette River chinook, and upper
Willamette River steelhead) as threatened under the Endangered Species
Act and 1 population (upper Columbia River spring chinook) as
endangered. In March 1998, a total of 11 populations were proposed for
listing as threatened, with an additional 2 populations proposed for
listing as endangered. Decisions on the 4 populations not announced on
Mar. 16 are anticipated within 6 months. [Assoc Press]

{Hanford Reach Chinook Salmon. In mid-March 1999, the WA Dept. of Fish
and Wildlife and the Grant County Public Utility District announced an
agreement that would result in increased flows from Priest Rapids Dam,
to protect fall chinook from becoming stranded by water level
fluctuations in pools in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. As
many as 4.5 million juvenile chinook salmon could be saved annually by
this agreement.}[Portland Oregonian]

Canadian Salmon Management. On Mar. 12, 1999, Canadian Fisheries
Minister David Anderson announced that, although salmon stock
rebuilding efforts are beginning to show progress, Canadian salmon
harvests might be restricted for the next 6 to 8 years to promote
conservation and restoration of threatened coho salmon stocks. {On Mar.
23, 1999, the Canadian Dept. Of Fisheries and Oceans reported that more
than 1,500 commercial salmon licenses had been voluntarily retired from
the BC fishery. A total of 99 licenses were retired in fall 1998, and
647 more were retired in the latest round. Total cost of this second
phase of buyouts is about C$83.5 million, with a total of about C$187
million spent on voluntary retirements since 1996. Critics claim the
buyback program has destroyed the BC small-boat fishery.

A third round of buyouts is scheduled for fall 1999.}[Portland
Oregonian, Reuters, Canadian Press]

Yukon River Salmon Act Reauthorization. On Mar. 11, 1999, the House
Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans
held a hearing on reauthorization of the Yukon River Salmon Act.
[personal communication]

B.C. Packers Sale. In early March 1999, the Canadian Fishing Co.
(Canfisco) announced that it had purchased the remaining fishing
assets, including the operating assets of B.C. Packers Ltd., being sold
by George Weston Ltd. With the completion of this transaction,
Canfisco will own about 25% of the vessels and licenses in the British
Columbia seine fleet. Canfisco also acquires B.C. Packers' fish
processing plants in AK. [National Post]

Gasoline Spill. On Mar. 4, 1999, an overturned tanker truck spilled
about 5,000 gallons of gasoline into Beaver Creek, a tributary of the
Warm Springs River, OR. In addition to being a major spawning ground
for wild chinook salmon, the spill occurred about 25 miles upstream of
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Warm Springs Hatchery. To avoid a
fish kill at the hatchery, FWS officials released 750,000 yearling
chinook to swim downstream, and transferred another 830,000
sub-yearling spring chinook to a state hatchery. Effects of the spill
on wild spring chinook and bull trout are unknown. [Portland

{FERC Lawsuit. On Mar. 4, 1999, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
dismissed a lawsuit filed by American Rivers against the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC), ruling that jurisdiction was lacking
under the Federal Power Act. American Rivers filed suit alleging FERC
failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act by initiating formal
consultation with NMFS concerning continuing operation of the Hells
Canyon Project, operated by the Idaho Power Company on the Snake
River.}[personal communication]

Steelhead Lawsuit. On Mar. 3, 1999, a coalition of sport anglers and
environmentalists filed suit in U.S. District Court (San Francisco,
CA), seeking to force NMFS to list southern OR and northern CA
steelhead trout as a threatened species. NMFS decided not to list this
population because of recovery efforts underway by OR and CA. [Contra
Costa Times, Assoc Press]

Headwaters Forest Agreement. On Mar. 2, 1999, Pacific Lumber, the
state of CA, and the U.S. Government reached agreement on a $480
million plan ($250 million in federal funds) to preserve habitat in the
Headwaters Forest, CA. This agreement provides for government purchase
of 7,500 acres of redwood forest and commits Pacific Lumber to
compliance with terms of a habitat conservation plan when logging
210,000 acres of nearby land. Together, these achievements promote
healthy streamside habitat and protect coho salmon from sediment damage
by prohibiting logging in stream buffer zones and areas prone to
landslides. [NOAA press release, Dept. of the Interior press release]

Atlantic Salmon Threat? On Mar. 1, 1999, the AK Dept. of Fish and Game
(ADF&G) released a 9-page white paper on Atlantic salmon outlining
concerns over the potential harmful effects of non-native Atlantic
salmon on wild salmon stocks. AK officials expressed concern over the
possible lifting of the moratorium on expanding salmon farms into
northern British Columbia. ADF&G's white paper includes several
recommendations for reducing the threat to wild salmon from Atlantic
salmon farming. [ADF&G press release]

WA Salmon Management. On Mar. 1, 1999, the Bellevue City Council
approved $3.2 million in conservation measures to benefit chinook
salmon. Elements include reductions in water use, increased
development setbacks from rivers and streams, and habitat restoration
activities. On Mar. 2, 1999, NMFS and FWS officials were reported to
have agreed in principle to write regulations for new species listings
that would authorize local salmon and trout conservation programs
meeting federal standards. Negotiations were to begin on Mar. 3, 1999,
on regulations to establish standards for federal approval of state
programs. On Mar. 15 1999, the WA state Senate passed 4 bills related
to salmon recovery and sent them to the state House for consideration.
These measures 1) require the governor to file a salmon recovery
strategy with NMFS by Sept. 1, 2) create a 3-member board to control
salmon recovery spending, 3) create a non-profit Puget Sound Foundation
to manage privately contributed salmon restoration funds, and 4)
authorize special license plates for salmon recovery. In mid-March
1999, the WA Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation announced
grant awards to 8 counties for 11 projects -- 9 of which benefit salmon
-- under a pilot Riparian Habitat Program. With matching funds,
project funding totals about $5.6 million and will be used to purchase
conservation easements. [Seattle Herald, Seattle Times, Portland


ME Salmon Proposal. On Apr. 14, 1999, the ME Dept. of Marine Resources
is scheduled to hold a public hearing in Mount Desert on a proposal,
including a 10-year lease, by Atlantic Salmon of Maine LLC of
Fairfield, to rear 500,000 Atlantic salmon in 16 pens on a 15-acre
tract off Bartlett Island. [Bangor Daily News]

{Atlantic Salmon Aquaculture Conference. On Mar. 19, 1999, a
conference on Salmon Aquaculture - the Consequences for the
Environment and Public Health was held in Dublin, Ireland, focusing on
problems of farmed salmon escaping and interbreeding with wild
fish.}[Irish Times]

Improved Catfish. On Mar. 11, 1999, officials of the Thad Cochran
National Warmwater Aquaculture Center, Stoneville, MS, announced that a
genetically engineered catfish, designated USDA 103, could be certified
for release and available for distribution to catfish growers as early
as January 2000. USDA 103 is reported to grow about 25% faster than
most catfish strains, using feed more efficiently. [Assoc Press]


ANS Conference. On April 26-30, 1999, the 9th International Zebra
Mussel and Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Conference is scheduled to
convene in Duluth, MN. The Conference will focus on ANS policy issues
as well as research reports on biology, ecology, control, management,
and impacts of ANS. [MN Sea Grant Program press release]

{Great Basin Redband Trout Lawsuit. On Mar. 22, 1999, a coalition of
10 environmental groups filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court
(Portland, OR) seeking to force the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to
list the Great Basin redband trout and several other species as
endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The groups claim the
federal government has avoided protecting these species to satisfy
special interests.}[Assoc Press]

{{Reversing Stream Acidity. On Mar. 20, 1999, the VA Dept. of Game and
Inland Fisheries and the U.S. Forest Service completed a project
dumping limestone sand by helicopter into the St. Mary's River, Augusta
County, VA, to neutralize acidity and promote recovery of fish and
aquatic insect populations.}}[VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries
press release]

{Underwater Camera Ban. In mid-March 1999, a MN Senate Committee voted
to ban the use of underwater cameras for fishing.}[Grand Forks Herald]

Animal Waste. On Mar. 9, 1999, Vice President Al Gore announced a
comprehensive federal strategy, Unified National Strategy for Animal
Feeding Operations, to improve river, lake, and coastal water quality
harmed by runoff from large livestock operations. Developed by the
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency, this
strategy sets an objective of developing and implementing Comprehensive
Nutrient Management Plans for all animal feeding operations by 2009,
with mandatory requirements for large operations and voluntary programs
for smaller ones. [Environment News Service]

Atlantic Salmon. On Mar. 8-9, 1999, the Atlantic Salmon Authority had
scheduled public hearings in Machias and Sidney on proposals to ban
salmon fishing on 7 ME rivers plus 2 tributaries of the Penobscot River
and 2 tributaries of the Kennebec River for 5 years. {{On Mar. 24,
1999, the ME Atlantic Salmon Authority voted 3-2 to discontinue
promoting a ban on salmon fishing in 11 ME rivers. State biologists
were directed to present a new list of rivers or parts thereof where
fishing for salmon should be prohibited, with action on the new list
likely in September 1999 after more public hearings. Thus, catch and
release regulations for Atlantic salmon will remain in effect for the
1999 season.}}[Fed. Register, Defenders of Wildlife press release,
Bangor Daily News]

FWS FY2000 Budget. On Mar. 4, 1999, the House Resources Subcommittee
on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans held an oversight
hearing on the FY 2000 budget request of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service. [personal communication]

Moratorium on Road-Building. On Mar. 4, 1999, the House Resources
Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health held an oversight hearing on
the U.S. Forest Service moratorium on road building in certain national
forest areas and on the status of the long-term transportation policy
that the Forest Service plans to develop during the freeze. [personal
communication, Trout Unlimited press release]

ME Elver Fishery. An emergency measure passed the House on Mar. 4,
1999, and the Senate on Mar. 9, 1999, that would reduce the number of
fyke nets used in the elver fishery by 70% or more and issue 64% fewer
elver fishing licenses.. Gov. King was expected to sign the measure on
Mar. 11, 1999. [Bangor Daily News, Assoc Press]

Pfiesteria? On Mar. 1, 1999, NC Governor Jim Hunt and Secretary of
Agriculture Dan Glickman signed an agreement to provide as much as $275
million in state and federal funds to NC farmers enrolling in the
Conservation Reserve program. These farmers will plant grass and
hardwood trees on as much as 100,000 acres of land in the Neuse,
Tar-Pamlico, and Chowan River basins to improve water quality in the
Albemarle-Pamlico estuary. [Reuters, Raleigh News & Observer,
Washington Post]


{Southern Sea Otters. On Mar. 22, 1999, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (FWS) released a draft report on southern sea otters,
concluding that a relocation plan aimed at translocating a sea otter
population to San Nicolas Island had failed. The draft report
recommended that no additional effort be expended on this relocation
program, and that other means be found to promote recovery of the
southern sea otter. The FWS anticipates developing new guidelines for
managing southern sea otters by the end of 1999.}[Assoc Press]

{MA Dolphin Strandings. On Mar. 18-23, 1999, a total of 50 white-sided
dolphins stranded on Cape Cod MA, with 46 of them eventually dying.
Cause of the stranding was unknown.}[Assoc Press, Boston Herald,

North Pacific Gray Whales. On Mar. 16-17, 1999, U.S. and Mexican
scientists met at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory to review gray
whale research, and released estimates that the North Pacific gray
whale population was about 26,600 animals -- a substantial increase
from the 22,200 animals estimated in 1995-96 surveys. [San Jose Mercury

North Atlantic Right Whales. On Mar. 16, 1999, a report by scientists
from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Univ. of MA was
published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
indicating that North Atlantic right whales are dying at a faster rate
(about 7% of the population each year) than they can reproduce,
bringing the population closer to extinction. [Canadian Press]

Ocean Futures. On Mar. 16, 1999, officials of the Free Willy
Foundation and the Jean-Michel Cousteau Institute of Santa Barbara, CA
announced their merger as a new entity to be known as Ocean Futures.
The merged entity will focus on educating about ocean pollution, and
fostering a conservation ethic. In addition the group will use the
Internet to communicate updates on Keiko. [Portland Oregonian]

FL Manatees. On Mar. 13, 1999, FL volunteers counted 2,353 manatees,
including 1,397 on FL's west coast -- significantly more than the FL
total of 1,873 animals that was counted in January 1999. [Naples Daily

Monterey Bay War Games. On Mar. 11, 1999, the CA Coastal Commission
unanimously rejected a Navy and Marine Corps report suggesting that
gray whales and sea otters in Monterey Bay would not be affected by
major military exercises, part of the Urban Warrior Advanced
Warfighting Experiment, involving a 250-Marine beach landing in
Monterey on Mar. 13, 1999. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary,
NMFS, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had granted approval to
the military. In response, the military dropped plans for the beach
landing. [Assoc Press, San Jose Mercury News]

Iceland and Commercial Whaling. On Mar. 10, 1999, Iceland's parliament
voted 37-7 (12 abstentions and 7 absent) to approve a resolution
calling on the Icelandic government to make all necessary preparations
to resume commercial whaling as soon as possible, or at least by Dec.
31, 2000. [High North Alliance News, Assoc Press]

Caribbean Humpback Whale Kill. On Mar. 6, 1999, British tourists
witnessed whalers off Mustique, in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines,
harpoon a humpback whale calf and subsequently harpoon and kill the
calf's mother. Killing of suckling calves or females accompanied by a
calf is reported as contrary to International Whaling Convention
standards. St. Vincent, an International Whaling Commission member,
is allowed to kill 2 humpback whales each year for non-commercial use.
[BBC News]

Cook Inlet Beluga Whales. On Mar. 3, 1999, a coalition of conservation
groups and a former whale hunter filed a 40-page petition with NMFS
asking that Cook Inlet beluga whales be listed under the Endangered
Species Act as an endangered species, {{implement emergency
conservation strategies for this species, and implement emergency
regulations to regulate Native hunting of the whales.}}[Anchorage Daily
News, Environmental News Network]

Canadian Sealing. On Mar. 3, 1999, seven sealers appeared in court in
Gander, Newfoundland, on charges that they sealed in a whelping patch
or pupping area in 1998. An additional 7 sealers are scheduled to
appear in court on various charges in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, on
Mar. 22, 1999. Sealers are being prosecuted by the Dept. of Fisheries
and Oceans for sealing activities captured on videotape by animal
rights activists. In early March 1999, Newfoundland Fisheries Minister
John Efford released a video showing thousands of dead, gutted cod,
blaming harp seals for the mortality and calling for an increased harp
seal quota. On Mar. 18, 1999, animal protection activists responded,
releasing two reports suggesting that cold water may have killed the
cod, which were then gutted by birds seeking cod livers. [Canadian

Mexican Whale/Sea Lion Mortalities. On Mar. 1, 1999, gray whale
mortality was reported as 20 animals -- 7 in the Gulf of California and
13 in breeding lagoons on Baja California's west coast. On Mar. 10,
1999, Greenpeace and four other U.S. and Mexican environmental
organizations filed a criminal complaint with Mexico's attorney
general, accusing the Mexican Government of not enforcing environmental
measures thus allowing concentrated brine discharges from a
Mexican-Japanese joint venture salt company to damage a Baja California
reserve and its gray whales and sea turtles. On Mar. 12, 1999, the
Mexico's Group of 100 announced that 50 dead gray whales had been found
near Baja California, with 18 dead whales in the Ojo de Liebre and
Guerrero Negro lagoons. The cause of whales' deaths has not been
determined. [CNN, Contra Costa Times, BBC News, Reuters, Chicago
Tribune, Assoc Press]

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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