Subject: IWC:CRS weekly marine mammal summary to US congress (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Sat, 23 Jan 1999 12:21:35 -0500 (EST)

Subject: CRS weekly marine mammal summary to US congress (fwd)

From: "Field, John" <John.Field@mail.house.gov>

Marine Mammals: Most Recent Developments -- 1/22/99

New info and changes since 1/15/99 are bracketed {...}
New info and changes since 1/21/99 double-bracketed {{...}}


MARINE MAMMALS

{Greenpeace and IWC Observer Status.  On Jan. 19-20, 1999, Japanese
officials reportedly met with International Whaling Commission (IWC)
officials in Cambridge, UK, seeking to have Greenpeace stripped of its
observer status for IWC meetings.  Japanese officials accused Greenpeace
of terrorist activities against Japan's whaling fleet, citing the
encounter in Noumea, New Caledonia, in early December 1998.}[Environment
News Service] {Japanese Whaling.  In mid-January 1999, Japan's whaling
mothership, Nisshin Maru, was reported to have left Japan, after repairs,
to resume whaling in the Antarctic.}[personal communication]

{TX Dolphin Feeding/Petting Pool.  On Jan. 15, 1999, the Whale and Dolphin
Conservation Society was reported as sending a letter to the Texas State
Aquarium at Corpus Christi, warning that a planned dolphin petting
facility would be bad for dolphins and humans.  The UK Society based its
assertion on a recently completed four-month undercover investigation of
the impacts of U.S. dolphin feeding/petting pools on captive dolphins and
interacting humans.}[Environment News Service]

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. 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.  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. 20, 1999, court proceedings resumed in Grand
Falls, Newfoundland, against 7 sealers accused of breaking various fishery
regulations when killing harp seals.  Defense attorneys, however, accuse
the cameramen who filmed the sealers of misrepresenting their intentions
and obtaining permits to film the seal hunt under false
pretense.}[Canadian Press, Vancouver Sun, High North Alliance News]

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]

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]

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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