FISHLINK NEWS-7/12/96(2)

Fri, 12 Jul 1996 16:07:46 -0400

>>>> FISHLINK NEWS-7/12/96(2) <<<<
(Vol. 7, No 8)
Fisheries and Conservation News
from the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations
and the Insititute for Fisheries Resources
This is Volume Two of Two



Greenpeace Industrial Fishing Protest. On June 23-24, 1996, the
Greenpeace vessel MV Sirius confronted 10 Danish and one Scottish vessel
seeking industrial fish, such as sand eels and other small fish, off the east
coast of Scotland at a fishing area known as the Wee Bankie. Greenpeace
seeks to have industrial fishing banned in areas that they consider
ecologically sensitive fish feeding grounds, such as the Wee Bankie, to
promote fish stock recovery in the North Sea. The British Navy's armed
fishery cruiser, Shetland, was dispatched to monitor the area. [Assoc Press,
Coral Reef Damage. On June 20, 1996, a Cypriot cargo ship, Million
Hope, carrying 26,000 tons of potassium and phosphate, hit Red Sea coral
reefs in a protected area south of Sharm el-Sheikh and spilled a small
of engine oil. The ship remains partially submerged in the reef area.
Florida Net Ban. On June 19, 1996, Franklin County (FL) Judge Van
Russell ruled that FL Marine Patrol officers can only measure the perimeter
a shrimp net opening, and not its length (unless the perimeter exceeds 66
feet), to determine whether the net violates the FL constitutional amendment
banning use of large nets. Judge Van Russell issued an injunction to
implement his ruling. Shrimpers had brought legal action contending the
Marine Patrol had illegally changed its policy on net measurement. The FL
Marine Fisheries Commission is appealing the Judge Van Russell's ruling,
which only applies to Franklin County, and the Judge's injunction is stayed
pending action on the appeal. On June 25, 1996, FL Governor Lawton Chile's
Cabinet voted to prohibit shrimping in certain waters of Franklin, Wakulla,
Gulf Counties to better protect juvenile shrimp production areas. [Assoc
Coral Reef Symposium. On June 23-28, 1996, more than 1,000
scientists, legislators, and environmentalists from 90 nations are meeting in
Panama for the 8th annual International Coral Reef Symposium. [Reuters]
Sport Fishing Penalty. On June 21, 1996, two South Carolina sport
anglers pleaded guilty to taking five times their limit in spottail bass and
each sentenced to $2,500 fines, loss of fishing licenses for a year, and 50
hours of community service. This was noted as the first time restitution had
been ordered in a SC criminal case involving marine sport fishing. [Assoc
Coast Guard Boarding Refused. On June 20, 1996, the CA fisherman
who denied a Coast Guard request for boarding in mid-May 1996 appeared in
court to face criminal charges on resisting Coast Guard officers and refusing
to permit them to inspect his vessel. A preliminary hearing has been set for
July 11, 1996, in San Jose, CA. [Assoc Press]
1995 Beach Cleanup Report. On June 20, 1996, the Center for
Marine Conservation reported that 135,000 volunteers in the annual beach
cleanup held September 1995 removed 2.5 million pounds of trash from U.S.
shores and beaches. This amount was 300,000 pounds less than in 1994 due
to more hurricanes and fewer volunteers in the Caribbean. [Reuters]
Distinctive Crab Labeling. On June 19, 1996, Maryland state officials
unveiled distinctively labeled containers to be used to identify blue crabs
processed in Maryland. [Assoc Press]
EASTFISH. On June 14, 1996, the United Nations Food and Agriculture
Organization announced that it had signed an agreement with Denmark to
create a fish marketing and information service -- EASTFISH -- to assist in
transition to competitiveness for fishing industries of central and eastern
European nations. [Reuters]
Arrowtooth Flounder Processing. In mid-June 1996, a Univ. of
Alaska scientist at the Kodiak Fishery Industry Technology Center announced
development of a new non-chemical process to neutralize an enzyme that
rapidly degrades myosin, making arrowtooth flounder turn mushy and difficult
to process or market. [Assoc Press]
Dairy Use of Fish Oils. On June 14, 1996, U.S. District Court Judge
Joseph Tauro issued a temporary restraining order requiring a Boston area
dairy to cease television ads implying a rival dairy's milk smells and tastes
fishy because that dairy uses shark and halibut oil as vitamin supplements.
[Assoc Press]
Sea of Okhotsk Agreement. On June 13, 1996, the United States and
Russia signed a bilateral agreement recognizing that all fishing within the
international waters (peanut hole) in the central Sea of Okhotsk completely
surrounded by the Russian economic zone should be conducted in line with
Russian Federation rights, duties, and interests. In addition, the United
States agreed to observe all Russian efforts to preserve fishery resources in
the Sea of Okhotsk and cooperate with Russia in actions against fishing
vessels of third countries. [Interfax]
FL Approves Fishing Pier. On June 13, 1996, FL Governor Lawton
Chiles and his Cabinet voted 5-2 to approve a controversial 900-foot fishing
south of Jupiter Inlet, near Juno Beach. Controversy developed because three
species of endangered or threatened sea turtles dig more than 1,400 nests
within a half-mile of the pier site, making this an increasingly concentrated
turtle nesting beach. The pier will be minimally lighted and closed at night
during sea turtle nesting season. [Assoc Press]
Exxon Agreement with Seattle Fish Processors. On June 11, 1996,
U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland released his opinion overturning a
secret 1991 agreement whereby Exxon Corp. would have recovered about
$730 million in punitive damages from the Exxon Valdez settlement awarded
seven Seattle, WA fish processors. Judge Holland ruled that the processors
had settled with Exxon and were due nothing further. Exxon is likely to
appeal Judge Holland's decision. [Assoc Press]
NTSB Concern for Older Fishing Vessels. On June 11, 1996,
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials reported that lax fire
safety standards endanger an estimated 230,000 people working on fishing
vessels built prior to 1991 and not currently required to meet more recent
safety requirements. The NTSB recommended that the Coast Guard and
other regulators require older fishing vessels to phase-in new safety
requirements including smoke detectors and water sprinkler systems. [Assoc
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Regulations. On June 10, 1996, NMFS
announced regulations, effective June 18, 1996, increasing the allocation of
1996 Atlantic bluefin tuna quota to the Angling category and reopening the
large school/small medium category for additional harvest. [NMFS press
Weakfish Appeal Withdrawn. On June 10, 1996, the U.S. Dept. of
Justice filed a notice of withdrawal on its appeal of a Feb. 1996 U.S.
Court order overturning a U.S. Commerce Dept. ban on East Coast weakfish
(gray trout) harvest. The lower court held that Secretary of Commerce Brown
exceeded his authority by closing the weakfish fishery. [Assoc Press]
NMFS Violator's Vessel Purchased. On June 10, 1996, the Boston
Herald reported that NOAA's New England Fishing Vessel Buyback Program
paid $300,000 for the vessel of an individual facing criminal charges on a
federal fisheries violation for landing scrubbed female lobsters. However,
$100,000 of the $400,000 purchase price was withheld by NOAA to ensure
than any penalties resulting from the violation are paid. [Reuters]
Chesapeake Bay. On June 10, 1996, the Chesapeake Bay Program
released a study reporting that underwater grasses in the Bay declined 8%
(5,500 acres) in the past year. This was the second year of decreasing
habitat cover following five years of increasing abundance of these grasses.
Overall, grass acreage has increased almost 60% since 1984. On June 19,
1996, Virginia Institute of Marine Science officials announced that field
tests of sterilized Asian oysters would begin in Chesapeake Bay by the end of
1996, a year earlier than previously anticipated. [Assoc Press]
Oceans Day. June 8, 1996 was the annual celebration of World
Oceans Day, first declared during the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
[Dow Jones News]
Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone. In early June 1996, LA scientists
detected the reappearance of the low-oxygen "dead zone" that can extend
from the mouth of the Mississippi River to Texas. Development of the dead
zone was delayed this year due to lower runoff. In 1995, the dead zone grew
to an estimated 7,000 square miles off the LA coast. [Assoc Press]
Tributyltin Enforcement. On June 5, 1996, VA Attorney General
James Gilmore threatened to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) over failure to regulate tributyltin (TBT). VA enacted a law to
TBT use. However, VA officials assert that this disadvantaged VA shipyards
since EPA has never established a national TBT standard as directed by
federal law in 1988. [Richmond Times-Dispatch via Greenwire]
Driftnet Patrol. In early June 1996, the European Commission
announced that it had chartered a patrol vessel for four and a half months to
monitor driftnet fishing in the Mediterranean Sea and Northeast Atlantic.
[Agence Europe via Reuters]
Treaty Whiting Allocation. On June 5, 1996, NMFS announced that
the Makah tribe of Washington State had been allocated 15,000 metric tons of
Pacific whiting (hake) under historic Treaty rights. This is the first year
for this
Treaty allocation. Three other coastal tribes are entitled to similar rights
have not expressed an interest in receiving an allocation. On June 26, 1996,
the West Coast Seafood Processors Assoc., the Midwater Trawlers
Cooperative (Newport, OR), and the Fishermen's Marketing Assoc. (Eureka,
CA) filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court (Portland, OR) seeking to void the
allocation of whiting to the Makah tribe. The groups contend the allocation
was arbitrary for a tribe having no treaty rights to the fish and violated
Magnuson Act. [Assoc Press]
WWF Action Plan and Status Report. On June 6, 1996, the World
Wide Fund for Nature published a status report entitled "Marine Fishes in the
Wild," including a 10-point action plan to deal with concerns related to the
condition of marine fisheries. [personal communication, Reuters]
Brunswick Brand Sale. On June 5, 1996, Brunswick Corp. (Lake
Forest, IL) announced that it had agreed to sell assets related to its
and MonArk fishing boat brands to Starcraft Marine LLC (New Paris, IN). [Dow
Jones News]
Mercury Warning for King Mackerel. On June 4, 1996, the State of
Florida issued a warning against consumption of king mackerel larger than 39
inches from the Gulf of Mexico due to elevated levels of mercury.
Consumption should be limited for king mackerel between 33 and 39 inches,
with no restrictions on smaller king mackerel. [Assoc Press]
Southeast Sea Turtle Mortalities. By mid-June 1996, the NC Wildlife
Resources Commission and NMFS had counted 229 sea turtle strandings
along NC beaches, only 118 less than the total for all 1995. {Between Apr.
and June 15, 1996, a total of 102 turtles stranded on SC beaches, more than
twice the number recorded for the same period in 1995.} Primarily {juvenile}
loggerhead turtles appear to be suffering from an undetermined illness,
appearing to waste away with flippers and shells decomposing while the
turtles remain alive less than 48 hours. In late June, 1996, NMFS imposed
special restrictions on shrimp trawlers along the Georgia coast for 30-days
(June 24 through July 24, 1996) in response to high levels of sea turtle
stranding and mortality. Shrimp trawlers are prohibited from using soft
excluder devices (TEDs) and required to use hard TEDs in large try nets. {In
late June 1996, increased numbers of dead turtles began to wash ashore
along the FL panhandle.} [Assoc Press]
European Fishing Fleet Restructuring. On June 4, 1996, United
Kingdom officials announced that Britain would not comply with EU fleet
reduction efforts until Spanish and Dutch quota hopping concerns were
addressed. At a June 10, 1996 EU Fisheries Council meeting, British
Fisheries Minister Tony Baldry called the European Commission proposal to
reduce fishing fleets by as much as 40% unacceptable until the concern for
quota hoppers is addressed. Currently Spanish vessels take 46% of the
British hake quota, while Dutch vessels take 44% of Britain's North Sea
quota. [Reuters, Agence Europe via Reuters, Financial Times via Greenwire]
Bluefin Tuna Oversight Hearing. On June 13, 1996, the House
Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Oceans held an
oversight hearing on management of bluefin tuna. [Congr. Record]
Japan Considers Fishery Trade-Environment Legislation. On June
14, 1996, the proposed legislation that would impose restrictions on tuna
imports from nations who fish Atlantic tuna indiscriminately was to have been
introduced at a meeting of the House of Representatives' Committee on
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. This measure seeks to balance trade
with needed environmental protection, with consideration for possible World
Trade Organization concerns. In addition, the bill urges the Japanese
Government to work to establish an international regime to manage tuna
resources worldwide. [Dow Jones News]
Marine Fish Kills and Red Tide. On June 5, 1996, FL Dept. of
Environmental Protection officials announced that Apalachicola Bay was being
closed to oyster harvesting due to red tide. About 15% of the total U.S.
oyster harvest comes from this area. [Assoc Press]
Petition to Close MA Striped Bass Fishery. On June 6, 1996, the
MA Marine Fisheries Commission and the Director of the Division of Marine
Fisheries rejected a Coastal Conservation Association of MA petition to ban
the commercial harvest and sale of wild striped bass. [MA Division of Marine
Fisheries press release]
Shark Evaluation Workshop. On June 4-6, 1996, NMFS's Southeast
Fisheries Center was to have convened a scientific meeting to review the
status of coastal and pelagic shark resources along the Atlantic coast. The
meeting will evaluate the likelihood of stock rebuilding under current and
alternative quota levels, and will provide the scientific basis for setting
quotas and bag limits. [NMFS letter]
North Pacific Council. In June 1996, the NPFMC will meet jointly with
the International Pacific Halibut Commission to discuss halibut bycatch
reduction. [Canadian Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans press release]

Largemouth Bass Culture. On June 19, 1996, the Aquaculture
Committee of the Mississippi AgriBusiness Council met to consider the merits
of allowing the commercial sale of largemouth black bass produced by
aquaculture operations. [Assoc Press]
Catfish Loan Fraud. In mid-June 1996, a federal grand jury in Oxford,
MS, indicted a farm loan bank and two of its officers for allegedly lying to
Farmers Home Administration to recover proceeds from a $975,000 catfish
grower loan. [Assoc Press]
MN Underwater World Opening. On June 14, 1996, the second
Underwater World aquarium in the United States will open at the Mall of
America in Bloomington, MN. [Assoc Press]
First Aquaculture in the EEZ Approved. On June 6, 1996, the New
England Fishery Management Council voted unanimously to approve an
alternate site location for the Westport Sea Scallop Project, a
Saltonstall-Kennedy Act funded project of the MA Institute of Technology Sea
Grant Program and others, to accommodate user conflicts at the originally
proposed site. Final regulations on the 9 sq. mile site in the offshore
exclusive economic zone are anticipated to be published in the Federal
Register in early fall 1996. The approval process for the project spanned
than two years. [personal communication]
Taura Syndrome Virus Strikes SC Shrimp. In early June 1996, SC
Natural Resources Dept. officials projected that as much as half of the
commercial Pacific white shrimp crop reared in four SC shrimp farms could be
lost to an outbreak of the taura syndrome virus. Under SC state regulations,
the SC Dept. of Natural Resources ordered all shrimp killed in ponds where
the virus was detected. On June 14, 1996, a Charleston Co., SC, judge gave
shrimp farmers two weeks to gather information before they are required to
follow state regulations and kill all the shrimp in infected ponds. [Assoc
Indiana Shrimp Farming. On June 7, 1996, Penbur Farms Inc.
(Buda, TX) broke ground in Jennings County, IN, for a new $7 million shrimp
farm facility. The facility's goal is to produce 70,000 pounds of shrimp per
month by the end of 1997. [Assoc Press]
U.S. Bluefin Tuna Farms. On June 10, 1996, local selectmen in
Provincetown, MA, voted unanimously to approve a plan by the New England
Aquarium for a short-term bluefin tuna cage culture experiment off Long
Point, Cape Cod, MA. [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.

This newsletter is intended to be a summary of information related to
the conservation and restoration of the Pacific west coast fishery. Its aim
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