[acn-l] ~~>FISHLINK SUBLEGALS 5/5/00<~~ (fwd)

peter.unmack at asu.edu
Sat, 06 May 2000 17:30:05 -0700 (MST)

From: FISH1IFR at aol.com
Date: Sat, 6 May 2000 15:47:54 EDT
Subject: ~~>FISHLINK SUBLEGALS 5/5/00<~~
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,
oceancoalition at onelist.com, salmon at riverdale.k12.or.us


VOL 1, NO. 18 5 May 2000


Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA), the Institute for
Fisheries Resources (IFR) and the Puget Sound Gillnetter's Association
(PSGA), filed intervention papers 3 May in US District Court in
Washington DC to block efforts by a coalition of state and regional Farm
Bureau, cattlemen's and realtor associations to roll back Pacific salmon
protections under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the Puget
Sound and, by implication, everywhere else.

The original suit was brought last year by a group calling itself
Common Sense Salmon Recovery (CSSR), but according to their own
web site, CSSR's membership includes the Building Industry Association
of Washington (BIA) , the Washington Association of Realtors, the
Washington, California and national Farm Bureaus, along with various
'private property rights' groups (see http://www.salmonjustice.com/
CSSR/membership.htm ) who have consistently fought efforts to protect
salmon or help restore salmon habitat, claiming economic hardship.
However, until recent draconian fishing closures caused by widespread
declines, salmon fishing itself was a major source of Washington jobs. As
recently as 1988, salmon fishing as a whole contributed about 21,050
family wages jobs and brought in an estimated $415 million to the
Washington State economy according to independent economic studies.
PSGA was the lead Plaintiff in a lawsuit filed November 1997 against
NMFS that ultimately required them to list badly depressed Washington
salmon stocks in Puget Sound Gillnetters Association v. Daley, (U.S. DC
Western District of WA, No. C97-1741). Also joining PSGA in that suit
were the Oregon Council of the Federation of Flyfishers, California
Sportfishing Protection Alliance in efforts to assure salmon recovery.

The CSSR group is also being advised by the Pacific Legal Foundation,
one of its members, which has spearheaded other litigation efforts to
eliminate salmon protections by asserting that there is no difference
between wild fish subject to Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection
and mass-produced hatchery fish which are exempt. If successful, the
plaintiffs believe more hatchery fish could always be produced at will
in any quantity, meaning no salmon would ever again be listed under the
ESA. CSSR also places the blame for salmon declines on overfishing,
ocean conditions and sea-lions, but accepts no responsibility for protecting
habitat under their members' control. The fishing groups are intervening
only on the non-fisheries issues related to ESA protections and what
constitutes a 'species' under the ESA.

Real estate developers particularly object to setting aside strips of
near salmon-bearing streams and rivers, claiming this would jeopardize
housing development. "Could you spawn with a bulldozer in your
bedroom?" said Pete Knutson of the Puget Sound Gillnetter's Association,
himself a long-time commercial fisherman. "The streams and rivers which
support salmon-based communities have been devastated by wanton
abuse," continued Knutson. "Upstream profit for abusers of salmon
habitat has meant downstream bankruptcy for fishing communities. This
has got to change. Frankly, the Endangered Species Act is the only thing
that now stands between these fish and extinction."

The CSSR case has broad implications for salmon protections
everywhere. For more information, the joint PCFFA-PSGA press release
is available on the PCFFA web site at: http://www.pond.net/~pcffa/

CONGRESSIONAL LOBBYING: The National Fisheries Institute (NFI)
representing much of the U.S. shoreside fishing industry, including
importers, brokers, distributors and processors is sponsoring a "Fly-In" to
Washington, DC on 22-23 May for its members to lobby Congress on the
Magnuson Act, Marine Protected Areas, bottom trawling and the World
Trade Organization (WTO). The event, scheduled two days prior to the
Department of Commerce's annual "Fish Fry" in the agency's cafeteria,
will also feature a softball game. The cost of the trip is $200 plus
expenses (plane tickets, hotel, etc.). For more information, contact Mark
Liebman at: mleibman at nfi.org.

BAY: A deal struck between local Farm Bureau's along the central
California coast with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary has
recently come to light. The deal, for monitoring non- point source
pollution entering Monterey Bay and the other ocean waters covered by
this sanctuary, allows farmers to "self-monitor" by collecting water
samples from undisclosed sites and submit them to the sanctuary where
the information is then "synthesized." This agreement is contrary to the
direction being taken to monitor water quality in other basins, including
the methods of reporting employed under the Klamath Resource
Information System (KRIS) being developed for many California
watersheds to make all such information public and readily accessible. By
"synthesizing" the information and keeping secret the monitoring sites, the
information becomes virtually worthless. Pollution in Monterey Bay is
believed, in part, responsible for the large number of sea otter mortalities
being reported in the heart of this ESA-listed animal's range.

Linda Sheehan, an attorney and water quality specialist with the Center
for Marine Conservation (CMC), who sat on the Monterey Sanctuary's
water quality panel, had objected to the agreement with the Farm Bureau,
but was overridden by the Sanctuary's management anxious to cut a deal
with local agriculture. The Sanctuary has, however, placed roadblocks in
the way of harbor dredging, objecting to DDT in soil sediments in ports
such as Moss Landing (the source of the DDT was from nearby
agricultural operations draining into the harbor). It has also sought to
regulate fishing within the sanctuary, leaving the appearance that the
Monterey Sanctuary has one set of standards for agricultural pollution and
another for fishing operations. For more information, e-mail the
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary at:
mbnms at ocean.nos.noaa.gov or visit their website at:

ACT: Predicably, with the PCFFA's-led recent court victories in the
Pronsolino case (Sublegals 7 April 2000) upholding Clean Water Act
authority to create non-point source TMDLs (Total Maximum Daily
Loads) for logging and agriculture has come a renewed Congressional
push by those industries responsible for this invidious type of water
pollution to disable the Clean Water Act itself. Chief among the bills now
in Congress to unravel the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA)
TMDL authority is S. 2417, the so-called "Water Pollution Program
Enhancements Act" sponsored by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, now with 17
co-sponsors. Analysis by the Clean Water Network and others indicates
that this bill would block all current TMDL regulations proposed by the
EPA and greatly undermine the existing TMDL program. The EPA is
under court order to complete TMDLs in California, Oregon and
Washington by particular deadlines, but S. 2417 would make those
schedules nearly impossible to meet. PCFFA was the lead plaintiff in the
successful suit that led to a stipulated agreement with the EPA to mandate
TMDLs for some 22 important salmon-bearing streams in northern
California (PCFFA v. Marcus). Currently there are over 20,000 individual
river segments, lakes and estuaries across the country (approximately
300,000 miles of rivers and shorelines and 5 millions acres of lakes) no
longer meeting minimum water quality standards, and more than one-third
of all US species of fish are at risk of extinction, primarily because of
non-point source water pollution.

The Farm Bureau and timber interests are also backing four bills to
carve out other special Clean Water Act exemptions for farming and
logging HR 3609 and S. 2041 would specifically exempt logging, while
HR 3625 and S. 2139 would specifically exempt both logging and
agriculture from regulation as point-sources, so if combined with S. 2417
these major contributors would essentially remain unregulated. For more
information and fact sheets on these bills, see the Action Alerts section of
the Clean Water Act Network website at: http://www.cwn.org.

On 3 May, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced the
appointment of a six-member panel of scientists to ensure the scientific
soundness of the work of nine NMFS-appointed Technical Recovery
Teams working to set biological goals for salmon recovery on the west
coast for the 26 salmon ESU's now listed. The first of these Technical
Teams was appointed last month (Puget Sound chinook, chum and
sockeye) and the second, to examine listed fish in the lower Columbia and
Willamette, is expected to be named in the next few months. The Salmon
Recovery Science Panel is chaired by Dr. Robert Paine, a marine
community ecologist with the University of Washington and also includes
Drs. Ted Case, an evolutionary biologist from UC San Diego; Fran James,
a conservation biologist from Florida State University; Russ Lande, an
evolutionary biologist and population geneticist also from UC San Diego;
Si Levin, a theoretical and mathematical ecologist from Princeton
University, and; William Murdoch, a theoretical and experimental
population ecologist from UC Santa Barbara. For more information about
NMFS recovery efforts, go to the Northwest Fisheries Science Center's
Web page at: http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov . The NMFS press release on
this announcement is at: http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/1press/050300_1.htm.

FISHING VESSEL SAFETY: The U.S. Coast Guard has recently released
its "Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Action Plan" and has scheduled
seven "listening sessions" throughout the U.S. to take comments on the
plan. The listening session in California is scheduled for 20 May in San
Pedro. For information on other listening sessions across the
country or to view the Action Plan, visit:
www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/advisory/cfivac/fishexpo99.pdf or contact
Ensign Chris O'Neal at (800) 842-8740 (Extension 7-2008).

CREEK SALMON RESTORATION: The California State Water
Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the Mid-Pacific Region of the
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) will be the lead agencies in the
preparation of a combined Environmental Impact Report/Environmental
Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the Battle Creek Anadromous Fish
Restoration Project. Battle Creek is a tributary of the Sacramento entering
the river just below Shasta Dam. As a result of efforts by PCFFA, the
California Department of Fish & Game, the Battle Creek Conservancy, the
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Central Valley
Project Water Users Association, efforts are afoot to open up this
watershed to salmon. Among other things five antiquated Pacific Gas &
Electric hydro dams are slated for removal and other changes made in the
river to create a "homestream" for Sacramento winter-run salmon, as well
as spring-run and fall-run chinook.

This project, funded in part by CalFed monies, was inspired by CDFG's
Harry Rechtenwald and PCFFA's late Habitat Director, Nat Bingham.
The most important part of this restoration program will be opening this
watershed, after nearly a century of being closed off, to salmon. In
particular, the winter-run chinook, the first Pacific salmon to be listed
under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), could be the biggest
beneficiaries of Battle Creek habitat that is similar to the winter run's
native habitat that existed in the Pit, McCloud and Little Sacramento
Rivers prior to those watersheds being closed to migrating salmon by
Shasta Dam. Comments on the preparation of the scope and content of the
EIS/EIR are due by 19 May. For more information, visit the SWRCB's
website at: http://www.mp.usbr.gov/regional/battlecreek/index.html

PG&E HYDRO FACILITIES: The California Public Utilities
Commission (CPUC) has announced it will hold scoping sessions for the
preparation of an Environmental Impact Report, pursuant to the California
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the proposed sale of Pacific Gas
& Electric's hydroelectric assets through an auction. The assets include 68
powerhouses and related facilities, including numerous dams in the Sierras
and on the Eel River in California, and 140,000 acres of land from the Pit
River to the Kern River.

PCFFA is a party to the CPUC proceeding; many of the PG&E
facilities are in key salmon watersheds and their future operation could
affect restoration efforts, as well as protecting existing salmon runs.
PCFFA is also the sponsor, along with a number of consumer and
environmental groups, rural counties and water agencies, of AB 1956 by
California Assemblyman Fred Keeley that would allow for an interim
state purchase of these dam assets to allow them to be "cleaned-up" and
their federal licenses modified prior to being sold back into the private,
deregulated market (see Sublegals, 18 February 2000). CPUC scoping
sessions will be held throughout California including sessions near the
coast at Fortuna (15 May), Ukiah (16 May) and San Francisco (25 May).
Written comments are due by 1 June. For more information on the PG&E
Hydro EIR, see: http://www.cuuc.ca.gov/divisions/energy/environmental/

the British Columbia Council of Professional Fish Harvesters, in
conjunction with the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters,
will hold a conference, the "Constituent Assembly on Professionalization"
in Nanaimo. The purpose of the gathering is for creating professional
standards and certification for fish harvester's skills. For more
information, contact Diane Gordon at (800) 818-7706, or (604) 254-8805.

People and Fish at the Edge, a new book from Ecotrust is now available.
The website where you can learn more about this illustrated overview
of the Pacific salmon situation is: http://www.salmonnation.com.

environmentalists, consumers, and small food producers, to name a few,
are voicing concern around the world regarding the uncertain affects of
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Current research all points to
health and ecological problems with genetically engineered food products.

The "Frankenfish," or genetically engineered king salmon (Sublegals, 3
March 2000) has drawn particular attention due to the potential impacts
that escapees from the farms that produce them might have on wild
stocks and their ecosystems. Despite the controversy, proponents of the
fish are pushing for acceptance and going so far as to try to get these
"fish" labeled as organic. California is taking steps to see that the
proper research is done (Sublegals, 28 April 2000), and that, if nothing
else, decisions can be based on "good science." In a recent letter to
President Clinton, California State Senator Tom Hayden pointed out that
"It would be a tragedy if genetic engineering inadvertently 'accomplished'
what pollution, dam-building and overfishing have failed so far to
achieve." In the meantime, however, it is clear that organizations
worldwide want to see this issue approached on a precautionary basis. For
a more in-depth look at this issue see the 1 May issue of the New York
Times, "REDESIGNING NATURE: A Special Report -- Altered Salmon
Leading Way to Dinner Plates, but Rules Lag." This article can be
accessed by going to the archive section of the New York Times' website
at: http://www.nytimes.com.

GOT NEWS?: Submit news items to Molly Thomas, 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
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