Subject: Whale News Weekly summary (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Tue, 12 Aug 1997 17:30:48 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: CRS Weekly summary (fwd)

Forwarded message:
From: Kate Wing <>

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 8/08/97
(available via e-mail; updated daily)

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

     New info and changes since 8/1/97 are bracketed {...}.
     New info and changes since 8/7/97 are double bracketed {{...}}

Marine Mammals
     {{Porpoise Entanglement.  In the Aug. 6, 1997 issue of Nature, U.S.
scientists reported the successful results of 1994 tests of acoustic alarms on
sink gillnets in the Gulf of Maine.  While 2 porpoises became entangled in
nets fitted with alarms, 25 porpoises were caught in nets carrying similar but
silent devices.  Cod and pollock catch was unaffected by the alarms, but
herring appeared to avoid nets with the alarms.}} [Reuters]
     Norwegian Whaling.  On July 25, 1997, Norway's whaling season
concluded with Norwegian whalers in 31 vessels reported to have taken 503
whales of their 580-whale quota.  This harvest is estimated to have produced
730 tons of meat valued at about $2.9 million. [Assoc Press, Reuters]
     Manatees.  On July 22, 1997, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
officials announced increased patrolling of Brevard Co., FL's manatee
protection zone.  Along with the FL Marine Patrol, the FWS will enforce
boating and recreation regulations, since watercraft-related injuries (many of
which were reported in Brevard Co.) have contributed to 27 of FL's more than
110 manatee deaths so far in 1997.  On July 23, 1997, Univ. of Miami
scientists reported that a papillomavirus had been {identified} for the first
in two FL manatees from different locations; this virus can cause benign skin
tumors. [Assoc Press, Reuters]
     CITES Hearing.  On July 17, 1997, the House Resources
Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans held an
oversight hearing on the results of the recent meeting of CITES (Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Parties in
Zimbabwe. [Congr. Record]
     Atlantic Large Whale Protection Measures.  On July 15, 1997,
NMFS announced details of a substantially revised 4-year Atlantic Large
Whale Take Reduction Plan to reduce large whale entanglement in lobster and
gillnet fishing gear along the Atlantic coast.  Fishermen will be permitted to
choose among a list of options for modifying fishing gear to address
entanglement concerns by Jan. 1, 1998.  Comments on the plan will be
accepted through Oct. 15, 1997, with the rule taking effect on Nov. 15, 1997.
Critical whale habitat would be closed to certain gear during times of whale
concentration, but gear modifications would not be required for gear fished in
inshore coves and harbors. [NOAA press release, Assoc Press]
     Tuna-Dolphin Legislation.  On July 14, 1997, the Senate Commerce
Committee reported S. 39 with an amendment in the nature of a substitute,
without a written report; S. 39 was placed on the Senate Calendar under
General Orders.  On July 25, 1997, the Senate vitiated a call for a cloture vote
on S. 39, and announced a compromise agreement providing for lifting of
import sanctions on tuna, and modification of the dolphin-safe labeling if
studies of dolphin health and biology, to be completed by March 1999, cannot
prove that long-term harm is being done to dolphins by surrounding them with
tuna seines.  On July 30, 1997, the U.S. Senate voted 99-0 to pass S. 39,
incorporating compromise amendments to the International Dolphin
Conservation Program.  This measure would end import sanctions on
non-dolphin-safe tuna, and could allow tuna caught in purse seines where no
dolphins are killed or seriously injured to be labeled "dolphin-safe" if
cannot prove by March 1999 that dolphins suffer long-term adverse effects
from being chased, herded, and surrounded by purse seines. On July 31,
1997, the U.S. House unanimously agreed to accept the Senate amended S.
39, and this measure was sent to the President. [Reuters, Congr. Record,
Assoc Press, Dow Jones News, Center for Marine Conservation press
release, Defenders of Wildlife press release]
     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.  For additional information
on items in this summary or their sources, congressional staff may call
Gene Buck (CRS-ENR) at 7-7262 or send a fax to 7-7289.  This summary
is available daily or weekly (each Friday) via e-mail to congressional
staff; requests from congressional staff to be added to the daily or
weekly distribution lists may be sent to "".

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