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Subject: CRS: Daily Summary - 3/5/99 - Longer Friday Version - Part 1 of 3
From: "Suchman, Cynthia" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 8 Mar 1999 09:30:05 -0500

text/plain (364 lines)

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 3/5/99 (updated

New info and changes since 2/26/99 are bracketed {...}
New info and changes since 3/4/99 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]

{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 is 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]

{House Resources Fishery Hearing.  On Mar. 11, 1999, the House
Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans
has scheduled 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]

{{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.}}[CNN]

{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

{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. 5-6, 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]

Vibrio vulnificus Satellite Teaching Program.  On Feb. 26, 1999, the
National Laboratory Training Network and Univ. of FL?s Institute of
Food & Agricultural Sciences will broadcast an interactive satellite
program on the natural shellfish contaminant Vibrio vulnificus for
clinical laboratorians, microbiologists, epidemiologists, and public
health employees.  For information, call (615) 262-6315. [personal

{Glacier Bay Fisheries.  In late February 1999, armed National Park
Service (NPS) rangers boarded 11 crab vessels in Glacier Bay National
Park to inform fishermen that park waters would soon be closed to
commercial fishing, as provided for in provisions of P.L. 105-277.
Concerns arose that NPS had begun enforcing new regulations earlier
than anticipated and with little notice.} {{On Mar. 4, 1999, AK
Governor Tony Knowles announced that AK intended to sue the federal
government to protect commercial and subsistence fishing within Glacier
National Park.}}[Anchorage Daily News, MSNBC]

{ESA Petition for Puget Sound Fish.  In late February 1999, NMFS
received a petition to list as threatened or endangered under the
Endangered Species Act 18 species/populations of marine fishes in Puget
Sound and to designate critical habitat for each.  Petitioned species
include Pacific herring, Pacific cod, walleye pollock, Pacific hake,
and rockfishes.}[personal communication]

Sea Turtle - Longline Lawsuit.  On Feb. 24, 1999, the Center for Marine
Conservation and the Sea Turtle Restoration Network filed a lawsuit
against NMFS in federal district court (Hawaii), seeking to stop sea
turtle mortality attributed to incidental bycatch in a 110-vessel
tuna/swordfish longline fishery operating north of Hawaii.  The lawsuit
alleges NMFS has violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to take
action to conserve leatherback, olive ridley, and loggerhead sea
turtles.  Furthermore, the lawsuit seeks to compel NMFS to prepare a
biological opinion and an environmental impact statement analyzing the
fishery?s impact on sea turtles. [Center for Marine Conservation press
release, Assoc Press, Environmental News Network]

NC Herring Quota.  On Feb. 24, 1999, the NC Marine Fisheries Commission
was scheduled to decide whether to reduce the 1999 river herring
harvest from 400,000 pounds to 250,000 pounds, after hearing from
regional advisory committees.  Opinions vary on whether river herring
populations have declined significantly. [Raleigh News & Observer]

New England Scallop Fishery.  On Feb. 23, 1999, Secretary of Commerce
William Daley directed NMFS to assist the New England Fishery
Management Council in developing a plan to open portions of Closed Area
II on Georges Bank to scalloping by June 15, 1999.  Secretary Daley
also reported the Clinton Administration was proposing a $40 million
vessel buyout program to remove 50-60 vessels from the 170-vessel
scallop fleet.  Environmentalists, however, are seeking a meeting with
Secretary Daley and would like a gradual re-opening of closed areas and
are especially concerned that a June 15 opening would damage ocean
bottom habitat during cod spawning season.  The Council, meeting in New
London, CT, was likely to discuss scallop restrictions on Feb. 25,
1999.  On Mar. 1, 1999, scalloper days-at-sea fishing restrictions will
be reduced from 142 days annually to 120 days. [Boston Herald, Assoc

Parliament Protest Over Fish Quotas.  On Feb. 23, 1999, more than 2,000
fishery and fish processing workers, members of the Food and Allied
Workers Union, were scheduled to march on the South African Parliament,
protesting the month-long closure of a commercial rock lobster fishery
after established quota holders went to court to challenge the
government?s plan to grant additional quota to new fishing concerns.
The Directorate of Sea Fisheries also has halted issuance of quotas for
hake, pilchard, and anchovy until the court challenge is resolved.
[Panafrica News Agency]

VA Marine Resources Commission.  On Feb. 23, 1999, the VA Marine
Resources Commission approved closed seasons for flounder sport fishing
? July 25-31, 1999 and Jan. 1-Feb. 29, 2000 ? and raising the minimum
size of fish retained to reduce harvest by 40%.  The harvest reduction
was made necessary after anglers exceeded their 7.41 million pound
quota in 1998 by catching 12.5 million pounds.  In other action, the
Commission approved requests, many under hardship provisions, from 90
watermen to fish a total of 10,800 additional crab pots this spring,
raising concerns by some for increased harvest pressure on blue crabs.
The Commission also placed a 38-day (May 1 through June 7) moratorium
on harvesting horseshoe crabs.  [The Virginian-Pilot, Richmond

Marine Ecosystems and Fisheries Seminar.  On Feb. 17, 1999, the U.S.
Global Change Research Program will present a seminar *Status and
Health of Marine Ecosystems, Fisheries, and Habitat: The Road Ahead* in
the Russell Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC.  The program will
emphasize management options for fisheries and implications of
contaminants in coastal ecosystems. [personal communication]

Canadian Fisheries Assistance.  On Feb. 16, 1999, Canadian officials
announced C$1.13 billion in assistance for Atlantic fishermen and
fish-plant workers as well as West Coast salmon fishermen for a 5-year
program of income relief, license buybacks, early retirements, and
economic development.  About $600 million of the total already is being
spent in the current fiscal year ending Mar. 31, 1999. [Canadian Press]

FAO Committee on Fisheries Meeting.  On Feb. 15-19, 1999, the 23rd
session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's
Committee on Fisheries is scheduled to meet in Rome, Italy, to consider
proposals for adopting plans of action to manage fishing capacity,
shark fisheries, and the incidental catch of seabirds in longline
fisheries.  On Feb. 17, 1999, delegates to FAO?s Committee on Fisheries
agreed to *The International Plan of Action for the Management of
Fishing Capacity,* with measures to control distant-water fleets to be
implemented by 2003-2005, to reduce government subsidies that
contribute to overcapacity,  and to develop plans to reduce
overcapacity fleets.  An action plan on shark conservation and
management was also agreed to, requiring nations to develop national
plans for shark fishery management by 2001.  In addition, an action
plan to reduce seabird bycatch in longline fisheries was also adopted.
Discussions were held on promoting international action to curb
illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing by pirate or
flag-of-convenience vessels. [Environment News Service, NMFS press

Proposed Capacity Reduction Guidelines.  On Feb. 11, 1999, NMFS
published proposed regulations specifying procedures for requesting a
fishing capacity reduction program be conducted in a specific fishery.
Public comment is to be taken through Apr. 12, 1999.  Such capacity
reduction programs, involving buyouts of vessels and fishing permits,
were authorized by 1996 amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery
Conservation and Management Act,  Section 312 (b)-(e). [Fed. Register,
NOAA press release, Foster?s Daily Democrat]

Vibrio vulnificus Lawsuit.  On Feb. 11, 1999, two LA seafood processors
and the families of two individuals who died after eating shellfish
tainted by Vibrio vulnificus  filed suit in LA District Court in Baton
Rouge, seeking to force the LA Dept,. of Health and Hospitals to use
new technology that kills Vibrio vulnificus in raw oysters.  A hearing
was scheduled to be held by District Judge Kay Bates on Feb. 23,
1999.   On Feb. 24, 1999, Judge Bates ruled that state law gives the
Dept. of Health and Hospitals wide discretion and refused to force LA
to require that all raw oysters undergo treatment to kill V.
vulnificus. [The Advocate (Baton Rouge), Biloxi Sun Herald]

DE Horseshoe Crab Permit Lottery.  On Feb. 11, 1999, a DE Court of
Chancery judge denied a petition to halt a state lottery of horseshoe
crab dredging permits, thwarting attempts by current permit holders to
retain exclusive control of the fishery and exclude 21 new applicants
from the fishery. [Independent Newspapers, Inc.]

Tuna Conference.  On Feb. 10, 1999, delegates from 27 Pacific nations
and territories convened a conference in Honolulu, HI, part of a United
Nations initiative focusing on protecting tuna from overfishing.
[Seattle Times] New England Scallop Fishery.  On Feb. 9, 1999, the Sea
Scallops Committee of the New England Fishery Management Council met to
consider management options for reopening 3 groundfish closed areas on
Georges Bank to fishing for scallops.  Council members are scheduled to
meet Feb. 24-25, 1999, in CT to discuss the proposal. [Boston Herald]

{South Korean Fishery Agreements.  On Feb. 6, 1999, the renegotiated
agreement between South Korea and Japan went into effect, with 957
South Korean fishing vessels resuming operations in the Japanese EEZ on
Feb. 22, 1999.  However, the South Korean Ministry of Maritime Affairs
and Fisheries announced that it will seek to remedy the omission of the
250 pair trawlers who were not considered among the 14 fishing
categories negotiated by South Korea.  The South Korean pair trawlers
claim they stand to lost about $24.5 million a year in lost harvest
from the Japanese EEZ and are seeking government compensation for such
loss.  On Mar. 1, 1999, South Korean officials announced that South
Korea will sign a fishery agreement with the Peoples Republic of China
late in March 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.}[Korean Herald]

Shrimp Embargo and the WTO.  In early February 1993, the United States
reached agreement with 4 Asian nations (Thailand, Malaysia, India, and
Pakistan) on a 13-month timeframe as a "reasonable period of time" for
the United States to comply with World Trade Organization
recommendations regarding U.S. shrimp import policy.  Thus, the United
States is committed to drafting and implementing new regulations
regarding shrimp imports by December 1999. [Bangkok Post]

New Carissa Grounding.  On Feb. 4, 1999, the 639-foot Japanese-owned,
Panamanian-registered double-hull woodchip carrier vessel New Carissa
went aground in a prime crab-fishing area near the mouth of Coos Bay,
OR.  On Feb. 8, 1999, three of five fuel tanks and one diesel tank
appeared to have been breached, releasing oil and resulting in oiled
seabirds along 6 miles of beach.  The vessel is estimated to contain as
much as 359,000 gallons of bunker fuel and 37,400 gallons of diesel
fuel.  Particular care is being taken to protect nearby habitat of the
threatened western snowy plover.  On Feb. 11, 1999, a Navy demolition
team ignited fuel aboard the vessel to prevent further spill.  However,
oyster growers in Coos Bay remained concerned that oil flowing toward
sheltered tidal flats threatened $10 million in shellfish.  On Feb. 12,
1999, OR officials ordered harvests halted at 4 Coos Bay oyster farms,
while oysters are tested for contamination.  On Feb. 17, 1999, the
salvage tug Sea Victory arrived in Coos Bay to possibly pull one
section of the grounded tanker out to sea and sink it.  However, the
plan was revised to heat the 130,000 to 150,000 gallons of oil
remaining in the bow section of the tanker and pump as much of it as
possible ashore into bladders or tanks before towing the vessel
offshore.  Revised estimates are that as much as 70,000 gallons may
have spilled.  On Feb. 23, 1999, the Coast Guard?s Marine Safety Office
convened a board of inquiry in Portland to investigate the cause of the
grounding.  Meanwhile, the salvage tug Sea Victory was readying for a
first attempt at pulling the bow section, containing oil, off the
beach.  A total of 80 dead birds have been found so far on nearby
beaches. {On Feb. 26, 1999, the Sea Victory began towing the bow
section seaward across nearshore sandbars.  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.}[ABC
News, Portland Oregonian, Assoc Press, Environment News Service,
Seattle Times, personal communication, Joint Information Center press

HMS Management Plan Public Hearings.  NMFS announced a series of public
hearings on amendments to highly migratory species (HMS) management
plans to protect and rebuild Atlantic billfish, swordfish, sharks, and
tunas.  The hearings were scheduled to be held between Feb. 3 and Mar.
4, 1999, at coastal locations from ME to TX --  {{The public comment period has
been extended to Mar. 12, 1999.}}[NOAA press release, Fed. Register]

Invasive Species.  On Feb. 3, 1999, President Clinton signed Executive
Order 13112, seeking to better coordinate federal efforts to prevent
and control invasive species.  The new EO directs specific actions to
be taken by federal agencies, creates an interagency Invasive Species
Council with an advisory committee, and directs specific actions to be
taken by the Invasive Species Council, including preparation of an
Invasive Species Management Plan within 18 months.  The
Administration's FY2000 budget request proposes an additional $28.8
million to support efforts required by EO 13112.  On Feb. 6, 1999, the
CA Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 to defer for 6 months a decision
on whether to allow individuals to commercially harvest invasive
Chinese mitten crabs for export markets.  [Contra Costa Times, St.
Louis Post-Dispatch, Environment News Service, personal communication,
Boston Globe, Detroit News, Modesto Bee]

NC Blue Crab Management.  On Feb. 2, 1999, NC Div. of Marine Fisheries
officials reviewed new 44 million pound blue crab MSY estimates and
expressed doubt in their accuracy.  An alternative estimate resulted in
a 58 million pound MSY.  On Feb. 11, 1999, the NC Marine Fisheries
Crustacean Committee met, but couldn?t reach consensus on blue crab
management measures to forward to the NC Marine Fisheries Commission.
Thus, 3 proposals for open access, 3 proposals for restricted access,
and several hybrid proposals were placed before the Marine Fisheries
Commission for consideration at their Feb. 24, 1999 meeting.  {{On
Feb.  24, 1999, the NC Marine Fisheries Commission selected 2 options
that would establish a limited entry system and 2 options that would
allow relatively unlimited entry to send to public hearings.}}[Carteret

Fisheries Monitoring Conference.  On Feb. 1-5, 1999, Australia and
Canada in cooperation with the United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organization have scheduled an international conference in Sydney,
Australia, on increasing understanding of fisheries monitoring measures
and their integration into fishery management practice to reduce waste
and advance conservation objectives -- [personal communication]

FY2000 Federal Budget.  On Feb. 1, 1999, the Clinton Administration
announced its proposed FY2000 budget, including direct program funding
of $420 million for NMFS (FY1999 was $401 million).  Increases are
proposed as part of the Administration's Lands Legacy Initiative,
funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  A separate "Pacific
Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund" is proposed to be funded at $100 million.
[FY2000 Budget Appendix]

New England Groundfish.  On Feb. 1, 1999, the MA Netters Assoc held a
protest at Scituate Harbor, calling attention to proposed new federal
restrictions they fear will put them out of business.  Others fear some
inshore fishermen will be prompted to fish farther offshore where more
dangerous conditions make fishing from small boats unsafe.  MA Gov.
Paul Cellucci asked the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to provide $5
million in federal disaster aid for MA fishermen; these funds would be
used to subsidize fishermen conducting research on fish stocks. [Boston
Herald, Boston Globe, Assoc Press, Reuters]

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