Subject: Manatee:CRS weekly marine mammal summary to U.S. Congress (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Sun, 17 Jan 1999 14:56:37 -0500 (EST)

From: MARMAM Editors <marmamed@UVic.CA>
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)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Fisheries and Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 1/15/99

New info and changes since 1/08/99 are bracketed {...}
New info and changes since 1/14/99 double-bracketed {{...}}


MARINE MAMMALS

FL Manatees.  On Jan. 11, 1999, the FL Dept. Of Environmental Protection
released the results of the Jan. 6 survey ? 1,873 animals (1,025 on FL's
west coast and 848 on FL's east coast).  This compares to a count of 2,022
animals in 1998.  Managers suggest the lower 1999 count reflects an
unusually warm December rather than a decline in population.  On Jan. 6,
1999, FL officials announced that 66 manatees had been killed by boats in
1998 -- a record high number for this cause of death.  Altogether, a total
of 231 manatees were found dead in 1998, the third highest mortality year
on record.  On Jan. 6, 1999, scientists from 10 federal and state agencies
formed into 20 teams were scheduled to conduct their annual aerial survey
of overwintering manatees, with 5 additional teams conducting a ground
survey.  This survey is scheduled during cold weather when manatees
congregate in warm-water outflows from 17 power plants and 2 paper mills
as well as 3 natural springs.  As of Jan. 5, 1999, eight manatee deaths
had already been reported in 1999. [Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Tampa
Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Naples Daily News]

Canadian Sealing.  On Jan. 6, 1999, Canadian Fisheries Minister David
Anderson announced that the 1999 harp seal quota would be 275,000 animals,
the same as in 1998.  Mr. Anderson announced that a C$2 million aerial
survey of the harp seal population would be conducted this spring as a
basis for developing the government's future seal management strategy; {{a
hooded seal survey is scheduled for 2000.}} The last survey in 1994
resulted in an estimate of 4.8 million harp seals.  In addition, broader
studies and consultations are planned on better determining the influence
of seals on cod stocks, {{and to better estimate the number of seals that
may be struck and lost.}} The 1999 hooded seal quota will also remain
unchanged from 1998 at 10,000 animals. On Jan. 5, 1999, the Newfoundland
government released a study, commissioned by its Fisheries Minister John
Efford, suggesting the harp seal population could sustain a massive
one-time cull of 2 million seals or a moderately increased hunt of 400,000
seals over several decades. [Canadian Press, Vancouver Sun, High North
Alliance News]

Gray Whale Migration.  On Jan. 3, 1999, Kodiak Island, AK, residents
reported hundreds of gray whales massing off Narrow Cape, rather than
migrating to California and Mexico.  Warmer than usual water temperatures
are the suggested cause of the abnormal behavior. [Assoc Press]

Steller Sea Lions.  On Dec. 18, 1998, NMFS notified the NPFMC that it was
able to accept most of its recommendations for emergency regulations,
except for certain measures addressing the summer and fall Bering Sea
pollock fishery.  On Dec. 18. 1998, U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilley
(Seattle, WA) held a status hearing on the lawsuit by a coalition on
environmental groups seeking to force the federal government to increase
protection for Steller sea lions.  These groups seek to convince Judge
Zilley to halt all fishing until their concerns are addressed.  The next
hearing before Judge Zilley on this case is scheduled for Feb. 22, 1999.
[KTUU Channel 2 News (Anchorage), Anchorage Daily News, Fed. Register,
Assoc Press, personal communication, Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund press
release, Reuters, NOAA press release]

Mexican Salt Project.  On Dec. 2, 1998, the World Heritage Committee
agreed to dispatch a research team to investigate the situation at
Mexico's El Vizcaino site, location of a joint Mexican and Mitsubishi
Corp. salt project near San Ignacio Lagoon on Baja California, with a
report of findings anticipated sometime in 1999.  After receiving and
considering the research team's report, the Committee will decided whether
to add the controversial site to its "World Heritage in Danger" list. Such
action may be considered at the Committee's next meeting in Morocco in
November 1999. [Reuters, Dow Jones News, personal communication]

{Gulf of Maine Harbor Porpoise.  On Jan. 5, 1999, NMFS published notice
that it was withdrawing its earlier proposal to list the Gulf of
Maine//Bay of Fundy harbor porpoise population as threatened under the
Endangered Species Act.  NMFS found that such listing was not warranted at
this time.}[Fed. Register]

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.



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