Subject: Minke Whaling 1997

Michael Williamson (pita@whale.simmons.edu)
Sun, 4 May 1997 09:26:29 -0400 (EDT)

Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
     <MARMAM@UVVM.UVIC.CA>
To: MARMAM@UVVM.UVIC.CA
Subject: CRS weekly marine mammal summary to U.S. congress (fwd)

The following is the weekly CRS marine mammal summary provided to the
U.S. congress, sent to MARMAM courtesy of Kate Wing.

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From: Kate Wing <Kate_Wing@commerce.senate.gov>

Eugene H. Buck, Senior Analyst
Environment and Natural Resources Policy Division
Congressional Research Service

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 5/01/97
(available via e-mail; updated daily)


Marine Mammals
     .
     {JAPANESE SCIENTIFIC WHALING.  ON MAY 1, 1997, A FLEET OF
4 JAPANESE SHIPS DEPARTED FOR THE NORTHWESTERN PACIFIC
WITH THE OBJECTIVE OF KILLING AS MANY AS 100 MINKE WHALES
FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES.  RESEARCH IS SCHEDULED TO BE
COMPLETED BY THE END OF JULY 1997.} [DOW JONES NEWS]
     .
     {STELLER SEA LION LISTED AS ENDANGERED.  ON APR. 30, 1997,
NMFS ANNOUNCED THAT IT WILL LIST THE GULF OF ALASKA AND
BERING SEA POPULATION OF STELLER SEA LION AS "ENDANGERED,"
AS THE POPULATION CONTINUES TO DECLINE BETWEEN 5% AND 7%
ANNUALLY.  A SECOND DISTINCT, BUT STABLE, POPULATION OF
STELLER SEA LIONS, FROM SOUTHEAST AK THROUGH CA REMAINS
LISTED AS "THREATENED."  NMFS IS PLANNING A WORKSHOP TO
DESIGN AN EXPERIMENT ON ASSESSING WHETHER FISHING AREA
CLOSURES MIGHT BENEFIT STELLER SEA LIONS WITHOUT
UNNECESSARILY RESTRICTING COMMERCIAL FISHING.} [REUTERS,
ASSOC PRESS, NOAA PRESS RELEASE]
     .
     Polar Bear Trophies.  The House Resources Committee {held a
hearing on Apr. 30, 1997,} on H.J.Res. 59, a joint resolution to disapprove a
rule affecting applications to import polar bear trophies from Canada issued by
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).  {On Apr. 25, 1997, FWS
announced that it had approved 24 permits to import polar bear trophies from
Canada.  Five Canadian polar bear populations have been approved from which
trophy bears can be imported.} [personal communication, FWS press release]
     .
     CITES Proposal - Walrus.  On Apr. 16, 1997, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service announced that it would not submit a proposal to list walrus
on CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife
Fauna and Flora) Appendix II. [Federal Register]
     .
     Illegal Polar Bear Hide.  On Apr. 14, 1997, an OR man was fined
$2,000, ordered to perform 200 hours of community service, and placed on
probation for 3 years after pleading guilty in federal District Court to
illegally
buying a polar bear hide.  The individual stated that he intended to use the
hair
to make flies for fishing. [Assoc Press]
     .
     Dolphin Interaction.  On Apr. 10, 1997, Sea World of Florida began a
Dolphin Interaction Program, wherein eight participants pay for a day of
education about and interaction with dolphins. [Sea World of Florida press
release]
     .
     Tuna-Dolphin Legislation.  On Apr. 9, 1997, the House Resources
Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans held a hearing
on H.R. 408, amendments to the Marine Mammal Protection Act to support
the International Dolphin Conservation Program.  On Apr. 10, 1997, the House
Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans
marked-up H.R. 408 and approved this measure for consideration by the full
Committee.  On Apr. 16 1997, the House Resources Committee marked-up
H.R. 408 and ordered the bill reported.  The Senate Commerce Subcommittee
on Oceans and Fisheries postponed a hearing on S. 39, amendments to the
Marine Mammal Protection Act relating to the International Dolphin
Conservation Program, scheduled for Apr. 17, 1997. [personal communication,
Congressional Record]
     .
     Mexican Whale and Dolphin Emergency.  On Apr. 7, 1997, Mexican
environmental authorities reported that 162 dolphins found dead on Gulf of
California beaches earlier this year probably had been killed by red tide
toxins,
discounting earlier reports that a toxic spill or cyanide chemicals used by drug
traffickers had caused these deaths. [Assoc Press]


     Atlantic Large Whale Protection.  On Apr. 7, 1997, NMFS published
a proposed take reduction plan and implementing regulations for northern right
whales, humpback whales, fin whales, and minke whales in the Federal
Register that would restrict fishing times in whale habitat off New England and
the mid-Atlantic in Cape Cod Bay, the Great South Channel, and several other
areas.  In addition, fishing gear modification would be required to allow whales
to break free of gear in case of incidental entanglement, and response and
assistance for entangled whales would be improved.  Maine officials contend
the required gear modification will cost the lobster industry between $40
million and $70 million.  {On Apr. 26, 1997, the Senate Commerce
Subcommittee on Oceans and Fisheries held a field hearing in Portland, ME,
on the proposed regulations.  Four public hearings will be held from Apr.
30-May 3 on fishing gear modification regulations; additional public comment}
will be received until May 15, 1997. [Assoc Press, Federal Register]
     .
     Whaling Protester.  A Dutch court hearing on the possible extradition
of Paul Watson to Norway is tentatively scheduled for May 26, 1997.  Lofoten
Islands police have announced that legal proceedings in Lofoten County Court
are scheduled against Watson in Norway on Sept. 1, 1997, relating to alleged
negligent navigation and collision with a Norwegian coast guard vessel in the
summer of 1994.  Compensation for damages of $120,000 with possible


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