[acn-l] FISHLINK NEWS - 4/21/97(1)

FISH1IFR at aol.com
Mon, 21 Apr 1997 17:55:52 -0400 (EDT)

Archived copies of the longer monthly summaries for
February 1994 through the most recent posting are now available from"
<http://www.lsu.edu:80/guests/sglegal/public_html/ > .
Comments or corrections should be addressed to:

Gene Buck, Senior Analyst
Congressional Research Service
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540-7450
e-mail: <gbuck at crs.loc.gov>

Mr. Buck also makes the following request: "To further assist me in providing
a broad scope of information resources to Congress, I would appreciate being
added to any mailing lists of publications, news releases, newsletters, etc.
relevant to marine mammals and fisheries. Where there is a subscription cost,
sample copy would provide a basis for deciding whether or not a subscription
could be justified. Thanks for your assistance in this matter."

Salmon Habitat Restoration. The May 1997 issue of Fisheries is
reported to be publishing the results of a study by three Pacific Northwest
fishery scientists concluding that few in-stream habitat enhancement
projects have resulted in any long-term success for the fish. To succeed,
such efforts must be combined with restoration of ecological processes
within the entire watershed. [Assoc Press]
Hatchery Coho Salmon Lawsuit. On Apr. 2, 1997, Tribal officials
announced an agreement with state and federal officials for the release of
8.5 million juvenile coho salmon above Bonneville Dam this spring in
compliance with the 1988 Columbia River Fish Management Plan. [Assoc
Bristol Bay Salmon Price-Fixing Lawsuit. On Apr. 1, 1997, letters
were mailed to 6,000 Bristol Bay salmon fishermen who had driftnet and
setnet permit holders between 1989 and 1995, explaining the pending $1
billion lawsuit in Alaska Superior Court charging more than 60 seafood
processors and Japanese trading companies of conspiring to pay fishermen
unfair low prices. [Assoc Press]
Alleged NAFTA Violation by BC Hydro. On Apr. 1, 1997, a coalition
of U.S. and Canadian conservation, fishing, and aboriginal groups
announced their intention of filing a complaint on Apr. 2, 1997, asking that
the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation (an
oversight panel under the North American Free Trade Agreement)
investigate allegations that Canada has failed to enforce federal regulations
on BC Hydro to benefit salmon and other fish. The coalition claims that,
while U.S. power producers have been forced to alter operations to protect
salmon, Canadian dam operation has not been similarly modified to benefit
salmon. Groups in the coalition include the Aboriginal Fisheries
Commission of British Columbia, the British Columbia Wildlife Federation,
the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commission, the Sierra Club, the
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, and Trout
Unlimited's Spokane, WA Chapter. Specific concerns relate to how BC
Hydro stores and releases water -- critics contend that BC Hydro spills
water at times when it should be stored for fish rearing and stores water
when it should be released to assist salmon migration.
[Assoc Press, Dow Jones News]
1995 Biological Opinion Lawsuit. On Mar. 31, 1997, Judge Malcolm
Marsh questioned attorneys at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Portland,
OR, on the 1995 lawsuit by American Rivers, the Sierra Club, and 8 other
groups against NMFS challenging implementation of NMFS's 1995
biological opinion on operation of the Columbia and Snake River
hydropower system. The groups are seeking to have Judge Marsh order the
drawdown of reservoirs closer to the natural pre-dam state of the river to
assist juvenile salmon migration. On Apr. 3, 1997, Judge Marsh issued a
33-page opinion upholding NMFS' biological opinion and ruling that the
federal salmon recovery plan was legal, and that he
could not interfere with the professional judgment of NMFS. [NW
Fishletter No. 30, Assoc Press]
Idaho's 1997 Salmon Plan. On Mar. 27, 1997, ID Governor Phil Batt
released the state's 1997 strategy for salmon management, relying on heavy
spring runoff to carry most juvenile salmon downstream and minimizing the
use of barges. When the flow is at least 100,000 cubic feet per second at
Lower Granite Dam, the strategy recommends that only one-third of the
juveniles be barged. The strategy recommends against using reservoir
water from the Clearwater River Basin or from the Snake River above
Hell's Canyon to benefit fall chinook salmon. [Assoc Press]
WA Salmon Report. On Mar. 27, 1997, the WA Dept. of Fish and
Wildlife released a draft report on restoration of wild salmon. The report
recommended a separate management of wild and hatchery salmon,
adoption and enforcement of regulations to better control catastrophic
floods that damage spawning areas, enforcement of laws requiring proper
culverts and other potential obstacles to salmon migration, and giving
escapement for spawning priority over harvest. Ten public hearings are
scheduled to be conducted on the draft during April and May, with a
revised version of the draft to be acted upon by the WA Fish and Wildlife
Commission. [Assoc Press]
Dam Operation Lawsuits. On Mar. 20, 1997, a coalition of 8 fishing
and environmental groups (including the Pacific Coast Federation of
Fishermen's Associations, Trout Unlimited, Sierra Club, American Rivers,
and others) notified the Bureau of Reclamation of their intent to sue the
agency for allegedly failing to take sufficient action to manage irrigation
and dam operations to protect Snake River salmon. These groups also
filed a notice of intent to sue the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
(FERC) for allegedly failing to ensure that Idaho Power Co. Dams did not
jeopardize migrating salmon. On Mar. 26, 1997, the Columbia River
Alliance (representing electric utilities, barge operators, and irrigators)
a notice of intent to sue NMFS, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau
of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration over equitable
consideration for the economic aspects of irrigation and dam operations.
[Assoc Press]
Northwest Forest Plan. On Mar. 18, 1997, NMFS endorsed the
Clinton Administration's Northwest Forest Plan for U.S. Forest Service and
Bureau of Land Management federal lands as an excellent anchor for
salmon recovery efforts in Oregon. This conclusion will allow NMFS to
streamline consultation on federal projects potentially affecting species
protected under the Endangered Species Act. [Assoc Press]
March 1996 Salmon Suit. On Mar. 17, 1997, Federal Judge Malcolm
Marsh heared arguments on the March 1996 lawsuit wherein
tribal and environmental groups allege that federal managers are too slow
and unfocused in pursuing salmon recovery measures. [Assoc Press]
AK Salmon Marketing Proposals. In mid-March 1997, the State of
Alaska released a report of a January 1997 meeting on proposals to help
market AK salmon. The report stated that the AK Dept. of Fish and Game
would include peak fish quality as a criteria for timing salmon harvest
periods, and that the Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development
would work with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to develop a
quality grading scale. In addition, state officials would ease the
schedule for major processing plants and streamline reporting
requirements. [Assoc Press]
OR Coho Salmon Recovery Plan. In mid-March 1997, OR state
legislators revised their funding proposal for the Governor's salmon
recovery plan, guaranteeing the first $15 million while providing the
remaining $15 million contingent upon the federal government not listing
central and northern OR coastal coho under the Endangered Species Act.
On Mar. 17, 1997, the OR chapter of the American Fisheries Society
(AFS) wrote a letter to NMFS expressing concerns that the governor's
coho salmon restoration plan does not provide necessary guidance or
strength to recover coho salmon. AFS questioned the assumptions of the
plan's habitat model, reliance on Oregon logging regulations to protect
salmon habitat, and the absence of changes in agricultural practices such as
grazing. On Mar. 18, 1997, the OR House voted 56-2 to approve the
state's coho salmon recovery plan and a $30 million funding program using
the state general fund if private funding is unavailable. [Assoc Press,
Portland Oregonian via Greenwire]
Umpqua River Cutthroat Trout. On Mar. 10, 1997, a coalition of sport
and commercial fishing groups filed notice in U.S. District Court of their
intent to sue NMFS for alleged failure to protect Umpqua River cutthroat
trout adequately after they were listed as endangered. These groups are
concerned that NMFS has not designated critical habitat for this species.
By Mar. 25, 1997, NMFS was scheduled to release an opinion on whether
construction of the $43 million Milltown Hill Dam, on Elk Creek near
Yoncalla, OR, could harm the endangered Umpqua River cutthroat trout.
The dam would block fish migration as well as destroy as much as 18 miles
of stream habitat for trout and salmon. (Editor's Note: The draft opinion
issued by NMFS claimed jeopardy to the species. Negotiations on possible
mitigations are underway, with NMFS scheduled to release its final
biological opinion on the Milltown Hill Dam May 18th, 1997). [Assoc
1997 Pacific Salmon Fishery. On Mar. 7, 1997, the Pacific Fishery
Management Council adopted 4 options, including one providing no
non-Indian salmon fishing off the coast of WA and northern OR, for Mar.
31-Apr. 1 public hearings on managing the 1997 salmon season. Other
options would allow limited commercial and sport fishing for coho and
chinook salmon. For the 3rd consecutive year, no coho salmon fishing
would be allowed off most of OR and all of CA. The Council will decide
among the 4 options at meetings to be held Apr. 7-11, 1997, in Millbrae,
CA. (Editor's Note: Options have been adopted as of this posting.
Contact the Pacific Fishery Management Council office in Portland, OR for
details) [Assoc Press]

ICCAT Advisory Meeting. On apr. 22-24, 1997, the
Advisory committee to the U.S. section to the International
Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)
Will meet in Silver Spring, MD, to discuss 1996 ICCAT
accomplishments, 1997 management and research activities,
trade and compliance issues, implementation of sustainable
fisheries act provisions, and results of species working
Group meetings. [Federal Register]
NCRI Research Proposals. Apr. 7, 1997 is the deadline for preliminary
proposals for new project funding by the National Coastal Resources
Research and Development Institute (NCRI) in Portland, OR, in 4 program
areas: aquaculture and fisheries, coastal business and community economic
development, environmental and marine technology, and seafood
technology and production. Projects can be anywhere in the coastal U.S.,
including the Great Lakes and U.S. Territories. [NCRI program
Seagrass Restoration Agreement. On Apr. 4, 1997, city officials of
Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, FL, will join officials from
Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Manatee counties in a ceremony at the Florida
Aquarium to announce an agreement to restore 12,000 acres of seagrass
and to protect 25,000 additional acres of seagrass habitat. This agreement
is part of the Tampa Bay National Estuary Program. [Assoc Press]
Shrimp Embargo. On Apr. 3, 1997, the Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative will hold a briefing at its Washington, DC office on the
status of World Trade Organization dispute settlement proceedings
regarding U.S. sanctions on shrimp for the purposes of sea turtle
protection. [personal
Gloucester Herring Plant? During April 1997, state and local officials
will review a proposal by the Dutch fishing conglomerate Parevliet & Van
Der Plas to construct and operate a 50,000 sq. foot processing plant for
herring and some mackerel at a state-managed pier in Gloucester, MA.
Approx. 20,000 tons of herring would be packed, frozen, and shipped to
European markets annually, providing an estimated $10 million in
economic benefits to the community. The Dutch company is offering to
fund the conversion of Gloucester fishermen for herring fishing. [Assoc
Japan-PRC Fishery Treaty. On Mar. 29, 1997, Japanese and
Chinese officials agreed to sign a new fisheries treaty without defining
respective 200-mile economic zones, due to territorial disputes. Talks on
remaining issues will be held in late April 1997. [Tokyo Kyodo via Foreign
Broadcast Information Service]
IFQ Advisory Panel. On Mar. 28, 1997, NMFS announced that it was
extending the deadline for nominations for two 15-member advisory panels
on individual fishing quotas (IFQs) until Apr. 14, 1997. The two panels,
one for East Coast fisheries and one for West Coast fisheries, will advise
NMFS on the future use of IFQs as a management tool and provide input
for an IFQ study by the National Research Council as directed by
Congress. [NOAA press release]
Saltwater Fish Consumption Advisory. On Mar. 28, 1997, ME
Bureau of Health officials, for the first time, recommended limits on
consumption of bluefish and striped bass due to concerns about mercury
contamination. [Assoc Press]
Gulf Drug Smuggling. On Mar. 27, 1997, U.S. and Texas state
officials announced a new anti-drug effort, Operation Gulf Shield, focusing
on small, swift fishing vessels (shark boats or lanchas) smuggling drugs
across the Gulf of Mexico to remote Texas beaches. About 700 federal,
state, and local employees are scheduled to participate in this effort.
Coral. On Mar. 26, 1997, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF)
released a report on coral reefs citing the potential for coral extinction
to their vulnerability to harmful effects of global warming. The report
indicates 60 major instances of coral bleaching occurred between 1979 and
1990, compared to only 3 recorded cases in the previous 103 years. In
early April 1997, a controversial $6.5 million beach restoration project will
begin in Miami Beach, FL, where the Army Corps of Engineers will mine
sand from an offshore area between two coral communities. This sand will
be pumped through an underwater pipeline to replenish eroded beaches in
front of hotels and condos. Opponents of the project fought it for three
years in federal court, fearing damage to corals. [Assoc Press, Reuters,
Dow Jones News]
Louisiana Gillnets. On Mar. 26, 1997, the LA Seafood Management
Council and LA Chefs for LA Seafood released a survey of LA resident
attitudes on gillnet use by commercial fishermen. Sport fishing groups
attacked the validity of the survey, charging that biased wording of
questions influenced the survey outcome. [Assoc Press]
Roe Herring Controversy. In late March 1997, controversy arose over
management of a British Columbia commercial roe herring seine fishery by
the Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) after harvest in
aboriginal Heiltsuk Nation territory was permitted to exceed an
agreed-upon quota by more than 100%. Heiltsuk Nation officials charged
that DFO management was unacceptable in condoning excessive catches by
the seine fleet. [Dow Jones News]
EU Fleet Restructuring. In late March 1997, the EU's Committee of
Permanent Representatives discussed a new draft compromise on
restructuring EU fishing fleets. The compromise proposes that catches of
endangered fish stocks be reduced by 30% while catches of overfished
stocks be reduced by 20% during the period 1997-1999. Member states
could choose to achieve this reduction through fishing vessel capacity
reduction, reduced fishing activity, or a combination of both. The Council
of Fisheries Ministers will discuss this compromise on Apr. 14, 1997.
[Agence Europe via Reuters]
Southern Hemisphere Bluefin Tuna. In late March 1997,
Greenpeace activists announced the launching of a campaign to suspend
fishing for southern hemisphere bluefin tuna, claiming the stock is only
about 2% of its former abundance in the 1960s. Although a Commission
for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna sets annual catch quotas,
non-member nations do not abide by the quotas. [Reuters]
New England Groundfish. In late March 1997, NMFS identified 3 ME
and 5 MA fishing vessels that will be purchased as part of NMFS's $23
million buyback of New England fishing vessels. As many as 70 other
vessels will be identified for purchase in the next few weeks. On Apr. 3,
1997, U.S. Administrative Law Judge Peter A. Fitzpatrick fined two Cape
Cod, MA, fishermen and corporations owned by them a record $4.33
million for more than 300 violations of federal fishery laws and regulations
for New England scallop and groundfish fisheries between March 1994 and
February 1995. In addition, the two individuals were banned from fishing in
federal waters and had their 5 fishing-vessel and one fish-dealer permits
permanently revoked. Violations included catching more fish than allowed,
spending more days at sea than allowed, using too many crew on vessels,
buying or selling illegal fish, using illegal gear, and making false
to federal agents. Twelve captains who worked for the two fishermen also
paid fines or were grounded for significant time periods. The 2 fishermen
indicate they will appeal the fine. [Assoc Press, NOAA press release]
Seafood Industry's Principles for Responsible Fisheries. On Mar.
20, 1997, a coalition of U.S. seafood associations and companies
announced the development of a voluntary set of "principles for responsible
fisheries" to guide the U.S. seafood industry in responsible resource use.
The principles seek to improve the way seafood is caught, processed, and
distributed; to ensure environmentally sound use of seafood resources; and
to offer guidance from the fishing industry to government managers.
Elements of the fishing industry adopting these principles are anticipated to
enter cooperative efforts with government managers to improve resource
use and management. [National Fisheries Institute press release]
Early Swordfish Closure. On Mar. 20, 1997, NMFS published notice
in the Federal Register that the semiannual Atlantic swordfish fishery
would close six weeks early at noon on Apr. 12, 1997, due to recalculated,
and larger, estimates for discards of incidentally caught swordfish during
the 1995 and 1996 seasons. In addition, the swordfish bycatch allowance
for longline vessels fishing for other species was reduced to no more than 5
swordfish per vessel per trip. [Federal Register]
EU Fisheries Promotion. On Mar. 18, 1997, the European
Commission announced the launching of a year-long $2 million information
campaign to promote fish consumption, especially non-traditional species.
Emphasis will be place on nutritional values as well as the necessity to
wisely manage fish resources. [Agence Europe via Reuters]
Record World Fish Production. On Mar. 17, 1997, officials of the UN
Food and Agriculture Organization announced that 1995 world fish
production reached a record 112.3 million metric tons. Fish farming
contributed to most of the recent growth, but also was seen responsible for
environmental damage. An additional 20 million metric tons of annual fish
production was deemed feasible if underdeveloped resources were
exploited, bycatch and waste were reduced, and measures were taken to
reduce overfishing. However, bycatch in some groundfish fisheries is
reported to be as much as half the groundfish harvest. [Reuters]
Japanese Oil Spill. On Mar. 17, 1997, the National Federation of
Fisheries Cooperative Associations filed claims for 2.3 billion Yen with the
International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (London) for compensation
for oil spill cleanup costs. A second filing is planned to cover
compensation for actual damages to the fishing industry. [Tokyo Kyodo via
Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Dow Jones News]
UN Code of Conduct Implementation Plan. On Mar. 17, 1997,
NMFS announced that a new draft U.S. implementation plan for the UN's
Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries was available for public
comment through Apr. 28, 1997. [NOAA press release]
Sea Turtle Land Purchase. In mid-March 1997, U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service officials announced the award of a $500,000 grant to
Volusia County, FL, for purchasing land for off-beach parking. Off-beach
parking is intended to reduce the number of vehicles driving in sea turtle
habitat on beaches. The pilot grant program aims to assist states in buying
land to support habitat conservation. [Assoc Press]
North Sea Ecosystem Meeting. On Mar. 13-14, 1997, Norwegian and
EU commissioners and ministers for fishing and the environment met in
Bergen, Norway, to discuss fishing and its impact on the North Sea
ecosystem. The meeting sought to strike a balance between meeting
environmental objectives and safeguarding the interests of the fishing
industry. On Mar. 14, 1997, the assembled parties agreed to a non-binding
"Statement of Conclusions" inviting competent authorities in respective
nations to take recommended steps to better protect North Sea fish stocks
from collapse due to overfishing. [Reuters, Agence Europe via Reuters]
Pacific Tuna Meeting. On Mar. 13, 1997, the South Pacific's Forum
Fisheries Agency announced that the United States, Japan, Taiwan, South
Korea, China, and other tuna fishing nations had been invited to a June
10-13, 1997 conference at Majuro, Marshall Islands, to discuss
management of South and Central Pacific tuna stocks. The Agency is
concerned with better regulation and control of overharvesting in
international waters and is seeking ways to increase the revenue for Island
nations from foreign tuna harvesters. [Assoc Press]
Mississippi Floodwaters. On Mar. 12, 1997, the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers announced that it would begin opening the Bonnet Carre
spillway, north of New Orleans, on Mar. 17 to divert rising Mississippi
River waters into Lake Pontchartrain. This is the first large-scale opening
of the Spillway since 1983. The MS Dept. of Marine Resources will
monitor the impact of lower salinity waters on oyster reefs and shrimp in
Mississippi Sound. [Assoc Press]
Sharks. On Mar. 12, 1997, the Center for Marine Conservation (CMC)
and TRAFFIC International released a study, "Managing Shark Fisheries:
Opportunities for International Conservation," outlining a blueprint for
action by international and national fishery managers to promote shark
conservation. The study evaluates the potential for shark conservation
under 9 existing international regimes using the standards of the UN
agreement on highly migratory fish stocks. On Mar. 21-Apr. 28, 1997,
NMFS will conduct a series of 12 public hearings along the Atlantic and
Gulf coasts and in the Caribbean on an NMFS proposal (Dec. 27. 1996,
Federal Register, p. 68202) to create a two-tiered (direct or incidental
catch) permit and limited access system for 39 species of sharks in the
Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean. NMFS determined this
fishery to be severely overcapitalized and proposes to eliminate more than
2,300 of about 2,700 current permits in this fishery; 134 fishermen
regularly fish for and land sharks. On Mar. 25, 1997, the VA Marine
Resources Commission received proposals to restrict shark fisheries in
Chesapeake Bay waters. A public hearing will be held on Apr. 22, 1997,
on the proposals for a minimum length and closure of state waters to shark
fishing after a harvest quota is taken. On Apr. 2, 1997, NMFS filed a final
rule, effective immediately, reducing the annual commercial quota for large
coastal sharks in the Atlantic by 50% (from 2,570 metric tons to 1,285
metric tons), establishing a commercial quota of 1,760 metric tons for small
coastal sharks, reducing the recreational bag limits for all Atlantic sharks
2 sharks per vessel per trip, prohibiting all directed fishing for 5 shark
species (whale, basking, white, sand tiger, and bigeye sand tiger),
establishing a catch and release only recreational fishery for white sharks,
prohibiting filleting of sharks at sea, and requiring species-specific
identification of all sharks landed. [CMC press release, NOAA press
releases, personal communication, Assoc Press, Federal Register]
Florida Net Ban. On Mar. 12, 1997, the FL Senate Committee on
Natural Resources approved a bill (CS-SB 412) that would make the
Marine Fisheries Commission the final authority on fishing regulations (no
longer would the state governor and cabinet have to approve any
regulations), prohibit substitutes for traditional nets that have been
restricted, and increase penalties for violations. [Assoc Press]
Contaminated NC Fish and Crabs? On Mar. 11, 1997, NC Dept. of
Environment, Health, and Natural Resources officials announced that they
are investigating preliminary reports of elevated mercury levels in fish and
elevated arsenic and lead levels in crabs from Brinson Creek, found during
a contractor's Superfund assessment of a waste site on the Camp Lejeune
Marine Corps facility. [Assoc Press]
Clam Contract Award. On Mar. 10, 1997, the Supreme Court of New
Jersey overturned an appeals court decision and reinstated a 1993 lower
court jury verdict for $738,000 against Borden Inc. (Columbus, OH), in a
case wherein Borden had been charged with not acting in good faith under
a 1984 contract to buy clams from a Cape May, NJ fishing operation, by
urging the company to assume debt and then not purchasing clams from it,
even though Borden's contract to buy clams was legally canceled. [Assoc
Press, Wall Street Journal]