Fisheries Budget Hearings. On Mar. 23, 2000, the House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has scheduled an oversight hearing on the Administration’s FY2001 budget request for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NMFS. On Mar. 23, 2000, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing on NOAA’s FY2001 budget request.
Magnuson-Stevens Act Hearings. On Mar. 9, 2000, the House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife, and Oceans has scheduled an oversight hearing on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Coral Protection. On Mar. 2, 2000, the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force is scheduled to meet in Washington, DC, to discuss the proposed U.S. Coral Reef Action Plan and its implementation.
Habitat Restoration Grants. Mar. 1, 2000 is the deadline for applications for the Five Star Challenge Grants Program, while Mar. 6., 2000 is the deadline for application to the American Sportfishing Association’s FishAmerica Foundation grants. Under a partnership with NMFS, these grants fund community-based projects (under “community-based restoration” at http://www.nmfs.gov/habitat/restoration) to evaluate and restore marine, estuarine, and coastal habitat.
Charterboat Moratorium. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s (GMFMC’s) Charter Vessel/Headboat Advisory Panel is scheduled to meet Feb. 28-29, 2000, in Tampa, FL, to develop recommendations on a proposed 3-year moratorium on new charterboat fishing permits.
¿ ¿ ¿ ¿– Assoc Press, GMFMC press release
Shrimp and TEDs. In late February 2000, marine extension agents with the TX Marine Advisory Service announced that they have developed a solution to a design flaw in turtle excluder devices (TEDs) used in shrimp trawls.
By replacing traditional nylon netting with stronger high-densitypolyethylene netting, stretching is minimized, keeping the shrimp trawl grill in proper alignment and reducing shrimp loss.
¿ ¿ ¿ ¿– TX Sea Grant press release
Herring Limited Entry. On Feb. 22-29, 2000, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and the New England Fishery Management Council have scheduled a series of 4 joint scoping hearings to gatherpublic comment on the issue of controlled access (limited entry) in the Atlantic herring fishery. Concern focuses on the Gulf of Maine, where reported landings 1996 and 1997 exceeded the total allowable catch (TAC) by a substantial amount.
¿ ¿ ¿ ¿– ASMFC press release
NC Crab and Licensing Proposals. On Feb. 18, 2000, the NC Marine Fisheries Commission voted to request the NC General Assembly to abolish the crab harvesting license, effectively terminating the moratorium on new entrants into the commercial crab fishery. The Commission also agreed to review a proposal to establish a point system to penalize commercial fishermen who violate NC regulations; any fishermen who receives 36 points within a 3- year period or is convicted of a felony fisheries violation would have his commercial fishing license suspended for a year.
¿ ¿ ¿ ¿– Carteret News-Times
Marine Protected Areas. On Feb. 16, 2000, the Marine Conservation Biology Institute and The Cousteau Society released documents from a workshop “Establishing a National System of Marine Protected Areas in the United States” held in Washington, DC, as well as the groups’ recommendations “Safeguarding America’s Seas” Establishing a National System of Marin Protected Areas – A Call for Presidential Action) to the Clinton Administration (http://www.mcbi.org/maritimes/presac1.htm).
HMS SAFE Report. On Feb. 15, 2000, NMFS released its year 2000 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) report (http://www.nmfs.gov/sfa/hmspg.html) for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS), summarizing the best available scientific information on these fish stocks.
Shark Conferences. On Feb. 14-17, 2000, Ocean Wildlife Campaign, two foundations, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium sponsored an International Pelagic Shark Workshop in Pacific Grove, CA http://www.wcs.org/pelagicworkshop.html). On Feb. 21-24, 2000, a coalition of five foundations is sponsoring an international shark conservation conference in Honolulu, HI (http://126.96.36.199/sharkcon/).
Sport Halibut Restrictions. On Feb. 12, 2000, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to recommend that a limit be placed on the amount of halibut that charterboats can harvest. The limit would be 125% of the average catch between 1995 and 1999. Charter boat participation will be based on 1998 and 1999 charter logbooks, but the accuracy of these logbooks as a record of charter boat catch is a concern. In addition, the Council initiated fast-track analysis on creating an individual fishingquota (IFQ)program for the 1,100-vessel charter fleet.
¿ ¿ ¿ ¿– MSNBC, Anchorage Daily News
HMS/Billfish Meeting. On Feb. 9-11, 2000, a joint meeting of the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Advisory Panel and the Billfish Advisory Panel was scheduled to convene in Silver Spring, MD, to discuss the “1999 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species,” limited entry for HMS fisheries, bycatch reduction measures, and assessment of social impacts on HMS fishing communities.
¿ ¿ ¿ ¿– NOAA pressrelease
Fishing Vessel Safety. During the month of February 2000, the U.S. Coast Guard will be scheduling a series of public hearings in fishing ports across the nation, to determine fishermen’s views on proposed amendmentsto the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Act.
¿ ¿ ¿ ¿– Asbury Park Press