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Subject: CRS: Daily Summary - 3/5/99 - Longer Friday Version - Part 3 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 09:31:59 -0500

text/plain (249 lines)


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]

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

St. Lawrence River Mercury Contamination.  On Feb. 25, 1999, Health
Canada, the Quebec Dept. Of Health, and the Montreal regional health
board released results of a 5-year, C$1 million study indicating that
levels of mercury and other contaminants such as PCBs and DDT in the
bodies of Montreal-area fishermen were much lower than previously
measured.  Environmentalists disputed the study results, and pointed to
contradictory results of a study published in the August 1998 issue of
the journal NeuroToxicology. [Montreal Gazette, Canadian Press]

Pfiesteria?  Feb. 19, 1999 was the deadline for the NC Division of
Water Quality to respond to Environmental Protection Agency concerns
that NC?s Neuse River cleanup plan was deficient.  While the plan seeks
to reduce nitrogen pollution by 30% in the Neuse River, EPA raised
concerns that are likely to require NC to impose additional
restrictions of nitrogen pollution to reach its 30% objective. {On Feb.
24, 1999, scientists reported that non-toxic forms of Pfiesteria had
been identified in MD?s St. Martin and Big Annemessex Rivers.  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]

Ontario Leech Ban.  On Feb. 18, 1999, MN Governor Jesse Ventura
telephoned U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, claiming that
new Ontario fishing regulations were punitive and harmful to MN-based
anglers and the state?s tourism industry, possibly violating free trade
agreements including NAFTA.[Duluth News-Tribune]

ME Elver Fishery.  On Feb. 16, 1999, the ME Legislature?s Marine
Resources Committee held a public hearing on 11 proposals related to
managing the elver fishery.  A Committee work session on the proposals
was scheduled for Feb. 18, 1999.  Proposals range from prohibitions on
fishing for elvers altogether to river-specific limitations on fishing,
including limited entry, license limitation, and gear restrictions.  A
state proposal would eliminate a fyke net fishery in 5 years, while an
industry proposal would maintain the fyke net fishery but establish a
moratorium on new licenses coupled with gear restrictions and other
limitations.  On Feb. 25, 1999, the ME Legislature?s Marine Resources
Committee voted unanimously to support an emergency bill to reduce the
number of fyke nets used in the fishery by 70% or more and issue 64%
fewer elver fishing licenses.  [Bangor Daily News, Assoc Press]

Lake Ontario Cormorant Management.  In mid-February 1999, NY Dept. of
Environmental Conservation managers conducted a public survey on 4
alternatives for managing Lake Ontario cormorant colonies to
potentially benefit smallmouth bass fishing.  Alternatives ranged from
restricting colony expansion to aggressive use of lethal and non-lethal
methods to quickly reduce cormorant numbers to some target level.
[Syracuse Herald-American]

Hudson River Striped Bass.  In mid-February 1999, NY Dept. of
Environmental Conservation scientists announced that polychlorinated
biphenyl (PCB) contamination in lower Hudson River striped bass had
been measured at levels low enough to consider allowing these fish to
be eaten, for the first time since human consumption was banned in
1976.  Fish fillets, collected in spring 1997 south of Poughkeepsie,
averaged 1.06 parts per million (PPM) PCBs -- about half the federal
limit of 2 ppm -- with only 3.3% of the samples exceeding the federal
limit.  However, striped bass further upstream and other fish species
(largemouth bass, catfish, eels) still exceed the federal limit for
PCBs. [New York Times, Albany Times Union]

Atlantic Salmon.  On Feb. 13, 1999, Project SHARE (Salmon Habitat and
River Enhancement) and the Atlantic Salmon Foundation held a workshop
on salmon management at the Univ. of ME in Machias, where scientists
from ME?s Atlantic Salmon Authority recommended a 5-year state ban on
all fishing for Atlantic salmon and extension of the state?s salmon
conservation plan to all 17 ME salmon rivers.  On Mar. 8-9, 1999, the
Atlantic Salmon Authority has 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. [Fed. Register, Defenders of Wildlife press release,
Bangor Daily News]

Moratorium on Road-Building.  On Feb. 11, 1999, Forest Service Chief
Michael Dombeck announced an 18-month moratorium on road-building in
roadless areas administered by the U.S. Forest Service, with the
exception of the Tongass National Forest in AK and national forests on
the west side of the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest, to better
protect aquatic habitat for salmon and trout. {{On Mar. 4, 1999, the
House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health was scheduled
to hold 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]

Bass Tournament Mortalities.  In early February 1999 and for the second
time in 2 weeks, fishermen reported extensive mortalities following a
bass tournament at Lake McClure, CA.  Some fishermen believe tournament
officials and many fishermen are not appropriately caring for bass
taken from deep water that are released to die with overinflated swim
bladders.  [Modesto Bee]

FY2000 Federal Budget.  On Feb. 1, 1999, the Clinton Administration
announced its proposed FY2000 budget, including direct program funding
of $80 million for fisheries management by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (FY1999 was $74 million).  Payments to states from the
Wallop-Breaux Sport Fish Restoration Fund are projected to be $286
million in FY2000 (FY1999 was $244 million). [FY2000 Budget Appendix]


{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.}[Anchorage Daily News]

{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.}[Canadian Press]

APHIS Proposed Regulations.  On Feb. 23, 1999, the Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published proposed Animal Welfare Act
regulations concerning the humane handling, care, treatment, and
transportation of marine mammals in captivity.  The proposed
regulations were developed by developed by the Marine Mammal Negotiated
Rulemaking Advisory Committee in a series of meetings beginning in
September 1995 and continuing through July 1996.  Public comment on the
proposed regulations is being taken through Apr. 26, 1999. [Fed.

La Jolla Children?s Pool.  On Feb. 22, 1999, NMFS published notice that
the City of San Diego's Parks and Recreation Department is seeking
authorization to disturb a colony of harbor seals to reclaim and
renovate La Jolla?s Children?s Pool swimming area.  This pool has been
closed to swimming since September 1997, when contamination by seal
feces made the pool unsafe.  Public comment on permit authorization
will be accepted through Mar. 24, 1999. [Sacramento Bee, NOAA press

FL Manatees.  On Feb. 19, 1999, Tampa Bay?s Manatee Awareness Coalition
is scheduled to begin a 3-year Manatee Watch campaign, cosponsored by
Tampa Bay Watch and the FL Marine Research Institute and intended to
inform boaters of manatee habitat in Tampa Bay and reduce manatee
deaths from boat collisions.  The Coalition is proposing new manatee
protection zones to keep manatees and speeding boats apart. [Fort
Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Naples Daily

Mexican Whale/Sea Lion Mortalities.  On Feb. 18, 1999, Mexican
television reported that 3 adult gray whales had died of unknown causes
at the Magdalena Bay breeding lagoon in northwestern Mexico.  In
addition, 2 other gray whales were reported dead earlier this year on
the coast of western Sinaloa state.  These mortalities were reported as
exceeding normal conditions.  Also, gray whales were reported to have
arrived a month later than usual at their breeding lagoons, with
reports of migration taking them much further south than usual.  On
Feb. 20, 1999, the Group of 100 (a Mexico City environmental
organization) called on the Mexican government to investigate the
recent epidemic of gray whale deaths, suggesting that the cyanide-based
fluorescent dye NK-19 used by drug smugglers or pollution from mining
operations may be responsible for the whale deaths.  On Feb. 22, 1999,
the Contra Costa Times reported the Mexican news agency as saying that
fishermen had found 9 gray whales dead in recent weeks in Magdalena
Bay.  On Feb. 24, 1999, Mexican officials were reporting 6 dead gray
whales (2 adults and 4 calves) in Magdalena Bay, with all deaths due to
natural causes.  {On Feb. 26, 1999, Mexican authorities reported that
as many as 16 gray whales have died along the northwestern Mexican
coast since January 1999, including 4 in Magdalena Bay.  On Feb. 28,
1999, Mexican scientists reported that the decomposing bodies of 180
sea lions had been found in the northern Gulf of California in
mid-February 1999.  In addition, a 17th gray whale mortality was
reported in Sinaloa state.  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.}[CNN, Contra Costa
Times, BBC News, Reuters, Chicago Tribune]

Large Whale Protection.  On Feb. 16, 1999, NMFS published final
regulations in the Federal Register to implement a large whale (i.e.,
right, humpback, fin, and minke whales) take reduction plan.  These
regulations close whale habitat to some types of fishing gear when
whales are present, prohibit certain fishing practices that increase
the risk of whale entanglement, fund gear research to develop fishing
gear less likely to entangle whales, conduct outreach to inform
fishermen of entanglement problems, and operate a Whale Disentanglement
Network to locate and disentangle whales caught in fishing gear. [Fed.
Register, NOAA press release, Bangor Daily News]

West Coast Seal and Sea Lion Report.  On Feb. 11, 1999, NMFS sent an
18-page report to Congress and released a supporting 84-page scientific
document on management conflicts related to rapidly increasing
populations of west coast harbor seals and California sea lions.  This
report states that, where these seals or sea lions are preying on
salmonids listed under the Endangered Species Act or proposed for such
listing, state and federal managers, under strict federal guidelines
and as a last resort, should be permitted to kill these animals.  The
report similarly recommends killing animals causing repeated, serious
conflicts with human activity, if individual animals fail to respond to
deterrence.  Attention to development of additional safe and effective
deterrents is also recommended.  The report recommended that Congress
consider reinstating authority for fishermen to kill a seal or sea lion
to protect catch or gear if the animal cannot be deterred. [NMFS press

Exxon Valdez Spill Recovery.  On Feb. 9, 1999, the Exxon Valdez Oil
Spill Trustee Council issued a report on progress with recovery nearly
10 years after the spill in Prince William Sound, AK.  Only 2 of nearly
2 dozen species of affected animals are considered fully recovered ?
river otters and bald eagles.  Species listed as recovering include
pink salmon, mussels, sockeye salmon, common murres, clams, Pacific
herring, sea otters, black oystercatchers, and marbled murrelets.
Species showing little or no signs of recovery include common loon,
cormorants, harbor seals, harlequin ducks, killer whales, and pigeon
guillemots.  Recovery status is unkown for cutthroat trout, Dolly
Varden trout, Kittlitz?s murrelet, and rockfish. [Assoc Press,
Anchorage Daily News]

Dolphin Transport Via Ambulance.  In early February 1999, a Flagler
County, FL, paramedic was suspended for 2 shifts for violating county
policy by transporting a beached dolphin by ambulance to a temporary
tank at a nearby fire station, until officials from Sea World arrived
to treat the animal. [Naples Daily News]

North Atlantic Humpback Whale Population.  In early February 1999, the
6-nation Years of the North Atlantic Humpback project reported an
estimated north Atlantic humpback whale population of 10,600 animals ?
almost twice the 1980s estimate of 5,505 animals.  This is the result
of a 6-year study initiated by the Center for Coastal Studies,
Provincetown, MA. [Boston Globe]

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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