Subject: JJ release: CRS news summaries (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Mon, 9 Mar 1998 18:44:55 -0500 (EST)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      J. Michael Williamson
Principal Investigator-WhaleNet <http://whale.wheelock.edu>
                   Associate Professor-Science
  Wheelock College, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215
             voice: 617.734.5200, ext. 256
            fax:    617.734.8666, or 978.468.0073

          "Mother, Mother Ocean, I have heard your call,
   Wanted to sail upon your waters, since I was three feet tall"
                        Jimmy Buffett
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 15:58:15 -0500
From: "Field, John" <John.Field@mail.house.gov>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
     <MARMAM@UVVM.UVIC.CA>
To: MARMAM@UVVM.UVIC.CA
Subject: CRS news summaries

Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 3/6/98

Marine Mammals
        .
        Gray Whale Release.  On Mar. 26, 1998, Sea World San Diego
anticipates releasing a juvenile gray whale that has been under its care
since
stranding on Jan. 11, 1997, near Los Angeles.  The U.S. Coast Guard will
assist in the release, timed to coincide with the annual northward
migration of
gray whales along the CA coast. [Assoc Press]
        .
        {{Canadian Sealing Lawsuit.  On Mar. 5, 1998, the International Fund
for Animal Welfare announced that it had filed suit against the Canadian
government, seeking to block the export of seal penises to Asian markets
on
the basis that it is against Canadian law for non-physicians to sell
testosterone.}} [Assoc Press]
        .
        {Keiko.  On Mar. 2, 1998, the Free Willy Keiko Foundation unveiled the
design for a $350,000 floating net enclosure or sea pen, which is
planned for
an unnamed sheltered North Atlantic location where Keiko will be
acclimated
to a more natural environment.  Components for the net enclosure will be
fabricated, beginning in mid-March 1998.  The Foundation hopes to be
able to
move Keiko to the net enclosure by spring 1999.}  {{In early March 1998,
Foundation representatives were reportedly meeting with officials in
Iceland,
Ireland, and Scotland to discuss possible net enclosure sites.}} [Assoc
Press,
Free Willy Keiko Foundation press release]
        .
        Low Frequency Active Sonar Lawsuit.  On Feb. 23, 1998, a coalition
of environmental groups filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to stop
U.S.
Navy tests of a low frequency active sonar system in Hawaiian waters to
determine whether and how humpback whales may react to the system.  The
coalition asserts that the Navy should prepare a full environmental
impact
statement on the program before beginning tests.  Similar tests have
already
been completed on blue whales and gray whales off the CA coast.  At a
hearing on Feb. 24, 1998, U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor rejected a
request
for a temporary restraining order to halt the tests, and ruled that the
Navy had
assessed the environmental impact of the tests.  The Navy began low
frequency active sonar tests on Feb. 25, 1998.  A hearing is scheduled
for
Mar. 4, 1998, on a request for a preliminary injunction to halt further
testing.
[Assoc Press, Reuters]
        .
        Elephant Seal Mortalities.  In early and mid-February 1998, a series
of El Nino storms was blamed for the deaths of as many as 260 elephant
seal
pups at Point Reyes National Seashore, CA.  The established colony had
an
estimated 400 adults and 300 pups. [Assoc Press]
        .
        Polar Bear Agreement.  In early February 1998, Russian and United
States negotiators concluded a new agreement providing for long-term
joint
research and management of polar bears, including permission for Russian
Natives to kill polar bears for subsistence. [Assoc Press]
        .
        Dolphin Protection Agreement.  On Feb. 8, 1998, the 12-nation
Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) reached agreement on
negotiated measures for the eastern Pacific tuna fishery to reduce
bycatch,
conserve tuna stocks, differentiate between dolphin-safe tuna and other
tuna,
provide incentives to improve tuna skipper performance, strengthen
enforcement measures, and protect and promote recovery of dolphin
stocks.
[Center for Marine Conservation press release]
        .
        Norwegian Whale Products Export to Iceland?  In early February
1998, the High North Alliance News reported that an Icelandic
businessman
has announced plans to import as much as 100 tons of minke whale blubber
from Norway.  Since Iceland is not a member of the Convention on
International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
(CITES)
and Norway filed a reservation against the CITES ban on international
trade in
minke whale products, such trade would be accepted as legal. [High North
Alliance News]
        .
        Observers for AK Salmon Fisheries.  On Feb. 4, 1998, and in
response to commenter concerns, NMFS announced that it plans to initiate
a
5-year observer program to better monitor incidental takes of marine
mammals
by nearshore salmon fisheries in Alaska.   Eight different gillnet and
purse
seine fisheries from southeast AK to Bristol Bay will be monitored, with
the
program likely beginning in the summer of 1999. [Assoc Press, Fed.
Register]
        .
        NZ Sea Lion Deaths.  On Feb. 4, 1998, New Zealand authorities
banned visitors from the sub-Antarctic Auckland and Campbell Islands
where
more than 1,200 dead Hooker sea lions have been discovered since late
January 1998.  The cause of death of the apparently healthy animals is
unknown, and visitation to the islands was prohibited until it is
determined
whether or not any human health threat exists. [Reuters]
        .
        IWC Intersessional Meeting.  On Feb. 3-5, 1998, the International
Whaling Commission (IWC) held an informal intersessional meeting in
Antigua
to discuss a compromise proposal to allow a limited resumption of
commercial whaling in coastal waters.  On Feb. 6, 1998, IWC delegates
announced that no decision had been made on how to proceed, other than
to
continue discussions. [Reuters]
        .
        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.
John
John.Field@mail.house.gov
Committee on Resources Democratic Staff
http://www.house.gov/resources/105cong/democrat/democrat.htm
voice: (202)  226-2311
fax: (202) 225-0522