[acn-l] ~~>FISHLINK SUBLEGALS 12/1/00<~~ (fwd)

PETER.UNMACK at asu.edu
Tue, 05 Dec 2000 21:26:55 -0700 (MST)

From: FISH1IFR at aol.com
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2000 18:10:47 EST
Subject: ~~>FISHLINK SUBLEGALS 12/1/00<~~
To: AFS at wyoming.com, ACN-L at pinetree.org, crab-l at ios.bc.ca,
FishingForum at onelist.com, fishhabitat at mail.orst.edu,
salmon at riverdale.k12.or.us


VOL 2, NO. 22 1 DECEMBER 2000

TO SOFT-SHELL: The northern California Dungeness Crab season
opening for northern California (Mendocino County north to the Oregon
Border) scheduled for today, 1 December, was held-up due to the lack of
a marketing agreement. The fishermen's marketing associations had
submitted market orders for a price of $1.75 per pound ex-vessel but
processors were unwilling to sign. On 14 November, California Director
of Fish & Game, Bob Hight, issued an order allowing a 64-hour preset
beginning on 28 November. There had been concern the season might be
delayed because of the possible presence of domoic acid, but after testing
the crabs, the State's Department of Health Services gave its okay to the
opening. Due to the price dispute, however, no traps have been set in
California, but to the north in Brookings pots have been put out, although
crabbers there said they would not pull their traps until a price agreement
had been reached. The same apparently was not true for northern Oregon
where many of the larger boats decided to go with no price set beforehand.
In Washington, meanwhile, the Director of the Department of Fish &
Wildlife ordered a delay in that State's opening because of quality concerns
with soft-shelled crab.

SEA LIONS: On late Thursday afternoon, 30 November, the National
Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released a new biological opinion
(BiOp) on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed Steller sea lions (see
Sublegals, 2:20/15; 2:11/15; 2:04/09; 2:03/06). In the BiOp, NMFS
concludes that while many factors, such as a changing ocean environment,
have contributed to the 4.7 percent average annual decline of the western
population of the Steller sea lions, competition with fisheries that target
the animal's food sources (pollock, Atka mackerel and Pacific cod) is a
"significant factor" in the decline of the animal's population. Since 8
August, fishing grounds within the sea lions' 'critical habitat' areas have
been closed to fishing by a federal court order. Issuance of the BiOp
means some fishing may resume in accordance with its provisions once the
document has been finalized.

The agency's new approach in the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea and
along the Aleutian Islands would allow commercial fishing in about one-
third of the areas designated as 'critical habitat' on a much more selective
basis by spreading out the fishing through seasonal harvest limits; reducing
the harvest of the sea lion's primary food supply in critical habitat areas;
and closely monitoring the effectiveness of these measures. The plan,
which establishes a new rule aimed at reducing the annual percentage
harvest of pollock, Pacific cod and Atka mackerel when they are at low
abundance levels, has drawn strong criticism from fixed gear fishermen
who claim the BiOp will increase hard on the bottom trawling, bycatch
and habitat destruction, reallocate more of the cod fishery to trawlers,
eliminate the small boat pot and longline fishery, make fixed gear
fishermen pay a disproportionate share of the conservation burden "and set
up big processors like Trident, with their fleet of large company owned
trawlers, to dominate the Gulf."

"The interesting thing is where the lines are drawn," said fisherman Joe
Macinko. "Areas fished mainly by fixed gear are closed and those fished
mainly by trawlers are left open for limited harvests. If a trawler were
drawing the lines he could not have improved on the location of these
zones. The January 1-20 period where only fixed gear can fish is
eliminated.....The BiOp was leaked to trawlers months ago and they've
been a continuous presence in D.C. since."

A series of open and closed areas was created from Prince William
Sound to the end of the Aleutians. This can be seen at;
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/steller/map.htm . The complete text of the
comprehensive biological opinion can be viewed at
http://www.fakr.noaa.gov .

There is still speculation that U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) may try
to attach a special rider on one of the last remaining federal appropriations
bills to exempt the Stellers from the Endangered Species Act (see
Sublegals 2:20/15) when Congress reconvenes in a lame-duck session 5
December, but the issuance of the BiOp probably makes that issue moot.
The White House had proposed $75 million in compensation for Alaska
groundfishermen hit with huge court-ordered area closures (156,000 square
miles), but Stevens says that amount won't come close to making up the
state's economic losses, and had sought a broad exemption to the ESA. In
any event, such an exemption would be broadly opposed, including by
PCFFA. For the PCFFA statement opposing any Steller sea lion ESA
exemptions, see the top of PCFFA web site at: http://www.pond.net/~pcffa.

FISHING STUDY: On 29 November, WorldCatch News Network
reported the Pew Charitable Trusts has pledged $1.2 million for a
comprehensive study of the pelagic longline fisheries industry. Larry
Crowder, the Stephen Toth Professor of Marine Biology at the Nicholas
School of the Environment (NSOE), will be one of the principal
researchers. The focus of the study will be on the swordfish and tuna
longline fisheries and the problem of turtle, sea bird and marine mammal
bycatch. "The practical concern...is whether this (industry) catches enough
of these protected species that they may be causing problems," Crowder
said. His team will conduct the study in two phases. The first, which will
be released in December 2001, will focus on assessing the industry within
200 miles of Canadian and U.S. territories. The second phase, which is
scheduled for completion the following year, will focus on other areas of
the world - including the North Atlantic and Pacific Basins. For more
information, go to: www.worldcatch.com.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY: The San Francisco Bay herring roe fishery
opened on 26 November for the December quota fishery. As of the first
week only 17 tons had been taken by the gillnet fleet of its quota. The San
Francisco herring fishery is the nation's only urban commercial fishery and
is the largest of its kind for herring south of British Columbia. The
remaining two platoons in the fishery begin fishing after the first of
January on their fleet quotas. For more information, go to the California
Department of Fish & Game's website at: http://www.dfg.ca.gov .

IMPLEMENTING TMDLS: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) has announced it will begin soliciting comments on: 1) state
resources required for development and implementation of Total Maximum
Daily Loads (TMDLs): 2) estimated annual costs to the regulated
community: and 3) estimated costs to small businesses resulting from
regulatory changes to the TMDL program. Under the federal Clean Water
Act (CWA), states establish water quality standards for water bodies. The
CWA provides a range of mechanisms to support the attainment and
maintenance of these standards (e.g., discharge permits, financial
assistance, etc.). A TMDL is a mechanism for determining a cost-effective
combination of steps that will result in a polluted water body being restored
and attaining water quality standards.

In 1997, PCFFA was lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the EPA (PCFFA
v. Marcus) to force the agency to require California's North Coast
Regional Water Quality Control Board establish and implement TMDL
standards for some 20 important salmon spawning streams. As a result of
the settlement of that case, TMDLs are now being established for the major
streams along the State's north coast. This settlement was unsuccessfully
challenged by the Farm Bureau Federation (with funding from the Western
Oil & Gas Association). Subsequently, timber and oil interests have
pressured Congress to weaken the CWA to exempt these industries from
meeting TMDL standards necessary for water quality.

Congressional Committee Reports accompanying EPA's appropriation
for fiscal year 2001direct EPA to conduct a comprehensive assessment of
state and regulated community costs related to TMDLs, to solicit
comments from the states and general public on these costs, and to present
the results of the study to Congress within 120 days of the signing of the
appropriation bill. Information submitted in response to the solicitation for
comments will be used by EPA in the development of the report that EPA
must send to the Congress. The deadline for comments is expected to be
early January 2001. Comments should be e-mailed to: ow-docket at epa.gov
or mailed to W-00-31 Comment Clerk, Water Docket (MC 4101); U.S.
EPA; 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW; Washington, DC 20460. For more
information, contact Michael Haire at: Haire.Michael at epa.gov .

RIVER SALMON SAYS NMFS: In a 25 November article by Steve Hart
in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, National Marine Fisheries Service
scientists said a proposed cut of fifteen percent in diversions from the Eel
to the Russian River through Pacific Gas & Electric's (PG&E) ancient
Potter Valley project are not enough to save the Eel's chinook, coho and
steelhead, all of which are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act
(ESA). The ninety-year old diversion dries up much of the upper Eel
during late summer months, to supply the Russian a constant flow of water
for recreation, irrigation and its growing suburbs. A fifteen percent increase
in flows back into the Eel had been suggested by Sonoma County water
interests as the total increase in flow to be provided the Eel's fish.
tribal and conservation groups, as well as Humboldt County, have sought
for the past two decades to substantially increase flows down the Eel, by
reducing the Russian diversion, to protect this north coast river's salmon
runs. The Eel was California's third largest salmon producing river
system. NMFS' draft biological opinion (BiOp) is expected to carry
significant weight with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
(FERC), which will make a ruling on the water issue next year.

TAKES UP YUBA FLOWS: After more than a decade of inaction,
California's State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is set to take
action to restore salmon on the Lower Yuba River - the largest remaining
run of natural spawning chinooks in the Central Valley river system (see
Sublegals, 2:21/06). On Monday, 4 December, the SWRCB is scheduled
to vote on whether to adopt its draft decision on Lower Yuba River water
rights. The draft decision sets significantly higher minimum flows for the
protection of fall-run, threatened spring-run chinook and steelhead trout.
The draft decision would also require water diverters to screen diversions
and take other steps to protect the fishery. For more information, go to:
www.syrcl.org .

issue of Science (pp. 977-979), in a study by Peter Kareiva, Michelle
Marvier and Michelle McClure, reports on the options available for the
protection of Columbia River spring and summer chinook. The authors
found that by "applying a matrix model to long-term population data....that
(i) dam passage improvements have dramatically mitigated direct mortality
associated with dams; (ii) even if main stem survival were elevated to
100%, Snake River spring/summer chinook salmon.....would probably
continue to decline toward extinction; and (iii) modest reductions in first-
year mortality or estuarine mortality would reverse current population
declines. Widely misinterpreted as opposing dam removal, the scientists
study actually says only that dam removal alone would be insufficient, but
must be coupled with improvements in habitat elsewhere to have maximum
impact, a position already held by most dam removal advocates.

The options listed in the Science magazine issue came out a few weeks
prior to the report in the Oregonian on 18 November that National Marine
Fisheries scientists had recommended breaching the Snake River dams to
save the salmon. Their recommendation, however, was stopped by higher
ups in NMFS and the Administration who subsequently decided against
removing the dams and instead putting the issue off for a number of years
(see Sublegals, 2:20/07). On 27 July, two months after receiving the
recommendations of their own scientists, George Frampton, chairman of
the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), said that
instead of removing the dams, the federal government would restore
streams and limit fishing. Only if those steps failed, he said, would the
government consider removing the dams. To view the Science article, go
to: www.sciencemag.org.

WATER DIVERSIONS: On 1 December, PCFFA joined a formal
petition for rulemaking put together by Washington State's Center for
Environmental Law & Policy (CELP) asking the State Department of
Ecology to close the Columbia River to any further water appropriations.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has been saying for years
that salmon restoration efforts are seriously hindered by poor flows in the
lower Columbia due to upper river water withdrawals, with an estimated
40 percent of historic flows now diverted, and now has a 'no net loss'
policy with respect to all water withdrawals subject to its authority under
the ESA. However, purely state permits without a federal agency involved
are dealt with only by state law. In response to indications that many
basins are already overappropriated, the Department of Ecology has
imposed additional restrictions, a partial moratorium and has backlog of
more than 7,000 water rights applications statewide. Irrigators and the City
of Pasco sued in early November to break the moratorium. The CLEP is
in response, and in support of the NMFS water withdrawal 'no net loss'
policy which many scientists say will be necessary for salmon survival.

The original NMFS 1995 Biological Opinion (BiOp) on salmon
recovery established minimum flow targets for salmon in the Columbia
which have never once been met and are threatened by many of the
pending water right applications. For additional information contact
Kristie Carevich, CLEP, 1165 Eastlake Ave., East, Suite 400, Seattle, WA
98109 or call (206)223-8454. CLEP's website is at: www.clep.org .

On 30 November, The Bangor Daily News reported a large number of
Atlantic salmon escaped from Eastport, Maine aquaculture pens within
striking distance of the eight Maine rivers in which wild Atlantic salmon
were listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA)
just last month, in large part because of the impact on fish farm operations
and escaped fish on wild stocks (see Sublegals, 2:20/05). On 20
November, a boat slammed into an Eastport aquaculture pen, tearing a
hole in the netting and releasing as many as 13,000 farmed salmon into the
wild. In deciding to list the Maine salmon as endangered, both NMFS and
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) identified interactions between
farmed salmon and Maine's few remaining wild salmon as a serious threat
to the genetic integrity and health of the wild fish.

State agencies and Maine's salmon aquaculture industry have been at
loggerheads with the federal fish agencies for years. Salmon growers and
state officials maintain that farmed salmon do not pose a threat to wild
salmon and that additional regulations such as reinforced cages and
discontinuing the use of European-strain salmon aren't warranted. NMFS
and USFWS have asked the Corps to include a number of conditions in the
permits it issues for aquaculture sites, including better containment
systems; marking of all aquaculture salmon so that escapees can be traced
back to the company that raised them; no use of European-strain salmon;
contingency plans for recovering escapees; and long-term monitoring. For
more see that edition at: http://www.bangornews.com .

FARMING: In an article from the 28 November issue of "Eastfish", the
United Nation's Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) is cited as
predicting a huge increase in the scale of fish farming throughout the
world. It also predicts that annual world consumption of fish per person
will increase to 19 or 20kg by the year 2030, which would raise the total
use of fish as human food to 160 million tons. The FAO figures show that
the annual sustainable yield of fish caught at sea can reach no more than
100 million tons, so it takes the view that much of the increase in
consumption of fish would have to come from the farmed fish sector. FAO
also expects more concentration on producing previously wild species as
farmed fish, such as cod, halibut, char, tuna and turbot. The FAO
minimizes the environmental problems for developing fish farming,
however, maintaining optimistically that there will be considerable
improvement of environmental technology to reduce toxic pollution, and
has much not dealt with the issue of genetic pollution through genetically
modified organisms (GMOs). For more see:
http://www.eastfish.org/english.htm under that date.

PLATES: Biologists in Maine are studying ways to turn what is now a
nuisance invasive species into an asset by allowing fishermen to harvest
green crabs (Carcinus maenus) to keep its population under control,
according to the 6 November issue of Environmental News Network. The
hardy European species is spreading on both coasts, has few predators and
out competes native shellfish. Biologists in Maine will soon study a new
and delectable way to eradicate a nearly century-old marine
nuisance: the invasive, disruptive and hardy European green crab. The
Maine Technology Institute a nonprofit organization that promotes
technological and economic advances in the state, awarded Dr. Bill Walton
and other researchers at the Beals Island Regional Shellfish Hatchery in
northern Maine a $10,000 grant to conduct the study. He hopes to finish the
first phase of his research in January. Walton and colleagues believe that
the crab, which has wreaked havoc on Maine's shellfish industry since the
early 1930s, can be selectively harvested and marketed as a seafood
delicacy. Like California, Maine has a history of harvesting marine species
once considered aquatic pariahs, and a similar proposal is being considered
in California. See:

Duncan Leadbitter, who for eleven years was Executive Director for Ocean
Watch, the environmental arm of Australia's fishing industry packed up
and left sunny Sydney for dreary London to take a position as the Marine
Stewardship Council's (MSC) new International Fisheries Director.
Leadbitter, had also served as manager of SeaNet, Australia's fisheries
extension service.

Leadbitter is no stranger to California fishermen. In 1996, he was a
Churchill Fellow and spent two months working in PCFFA's offices.
Aside from his work in the U.S. that year, he also spent time on the Loire
River in France looking at salmon and dam issues, and at Lake Baikal and
in Kamchatka in the Russian far east. For more information on his new
position and the Marine Stewardship Council, contact him by e-mail at:
Duncan.Leadbitter at msc.org.

DEBRIS BE REMOVED: While the oil industry in the U.S. is attempting
to convince the public, as it has some sportfishing groups, that toppled old
oil rigs and other assorted trash it has left on the seabed, are "artificial
reefs" (see Sublegals, 2:21/13), Scottish fishermen are demanding the oil
companies' garbage be removed and the seabed cleaned-up, according to
a 27 October issue of Fishing News (p. 5) a U.K. fisheries trade
publication. The report said the Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) has
repeated its commitment to the complete removal of all oil-related seabed
debris following renewed questions on the best way to dispose of disused
rigs. Some 4.7 metric tons of waste containing a cocktail of toxins are
estimated to lie beneath the 320-odd rigs remaining the North Sea. The oil
industry reckons cleaning up its mess will cost about 20 billion pounds
sterling - with half the money spent on rig decommissioning and the rest
to tackle the cuttings and other seabed problems. To view the complete
report, go to: www.fishingnews.co.uk .

Network reported today, 1 December, that the Seattle-based consumer-
education company, National Seafood Educators (NSE) is preparing a
"Seafood Twice a Week" marketing campaign and retail kits to help
promote consumption of fish. The impetus for the campaign began in
October, when the American Heart Association (AHA) issued new dietary
guidelines for consumers. They now recommend that people eat seafood
twice a week in order to obtain a rich diet of Omega-3 fatty acids found in
high-fat fish like wild salmon and tuna. According to the WorldCatch
report, NSE plans to kick-off the campaign in February to coincide with
preparations for the Christian celebration of Lent. They will also target
May, before summer grilling time (and when most salmon seasons open),
and October to coincide with the return to school. For more information,
go to: http://www.worldcatch.com .

In a related bit of news, the Living Oceans Society has just published
Fish For Thought: An Eco-Cookbook. It now joins the ranks of the Chefs
Collaborative, Audubon and others in issuing guides, albeit somewhat
conflicting, telling consumers what fish to buy and what to avoid (see
Sublegals, 2:21/09). For more information on this new "cookbook" (retail
US $22.00, plus $2.00 handling), contact Burce Burrows at:
bburrows at LIVINGOCEANS.ORG .

PROPOSITION 13 GRANT PROPOSALS: The California State Water
Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is soliciting grant proposals from local
governments and nonprofit organizations for three grant programs with
funding from Proposition 13. All three programs provide funding for
implementing nonpoint source pollution control projects that are consistent
with local watershed plans and Regional Board water quality control plans.
Each grant program focuses on a different aspect of nonpoint source
pollution control. For all three of the programs, 60% of the funding is
specifically earmarked for Southern California projects, of about $20
million total. To see the Requests for Proposals for these programs, go to
the SWRCB website at: http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/prop13/rfp.htm. The
State Water Board and Regional Water Boards are holding a number of
public workshops regarding these grant programs during the weeks of 4
December. See the web site for more information, or contact Ken Harris
(916) 341-5500 or Jean Ladyman (916) 341-5475 at the SWRCB.

NGO MINI-GRANTS: Environmental Defense (ED) is requesting
Letters of Inquiry for their next round of Environmental Science Program
NGO Minigrants to be awarded in the Spring of 2001. The letters should
be no longer than one page and should describe potential proposals for
projects at a maximum cost of $15,000. For this round E.D. is interested in
projects related to the following topics: invasive species, marine reserves,
aquaculture, ecosystem restoration, endangered species conservation, and
climate change. The Letter of Inquiry due date is 19 December. To visit
ED's website go to: www.environmentaldefense.org/minigrants/ngo for
more information.

26 October, the California Coastal Conservancy awarded a grant to the
Institute for Fisheries Resources (IFR) to study the feasibility of, and
process for removing the Matilija Dam on Matilija Creek a tributary of the
Ventura River in southern California. The dam has blocked passage for
steelhead trout and, perhaps, coho salmon, for decades. It has also blocked
sand recruitment to nearby beaches causing significant erosion. The dam
is currently silted in and its useful life for water storage and flood control
is over. Heading up the study for IFR will by Dr. Guy Phillips, a natural
resources economist and expert on hydropower and other dams, and Dennis
Gathard, a Seattle-based engineer. This is the second coastal dam removal
project IFR is now engaged in; the other is the San Clemente Dam on the
Carmel River in Monterey County. For more information, contact IFR at
(415) 561-3474.

PROTECTIONS: Oregon's Measure 7, passed by voters on 7 November
(see Sublegals, 2:20/10, 2:19/01), is already undercutting the State's efforts
to restore salmon runs, according to the 20 November issue of the
Oregonian, and may make it impossible to protect riparian buffer zones,
with past protections already required by laws such as the Forest Practices
Act potentially costing the state billions of dollars in retroactive claims.
Another result may be that federal authority delegated to the states for
enforcement under the Clean Water Act may be terminated because the
state no longer will have the financial ability to enforce those laws. If so,
the federal government will then have to reassume enforcement authority
over the Clean Water Act.. For the complete story see:

EFFORT: The San Francisco Chronicle News Services reported that the
European Union today, 1 December, is demanding stringent reductions in
fishing by its member nation's fleets, including cuts of more than 60
percent of cod and hake catches in an effort to save stocks that scientists
say are being fished to oblivion. The EU also proposed large cuts in the
harvests of other stocks, including haddock and whiting in the North Sea,
monkfish and anchovies in the Atlantic waters off Spain and Portugal and
plaice in the Irish Sea. The proposed cuts will be considered for final
approval at the 14 December annual meeting of the EU fisheries ministers.

NEWS, COMMENTS, CORRECTIONS: Submit your news items,
comments or any corrections to Natasha Benjamin, Editor at:
ifrfish at aol.com or call the IFR office with the news and a source at either:
(415) 561-FISH (Southwest Office) or (541) 689-2000 (Northwest Office).
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