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U.S., Japan Reach Drift Net Accord

June 24, 1989|From United Press International

WASHINGTON — The United States and Japan reached an agreement to start monitoring Japanese fishing of the North Pacific with huge, 30-mile-long "drift nets" that haul up Alaskan salmon, marine mammals and sea birds in addition to their intended catch, Commerce Secretary Robert A. Mosbacher said Friday.

The agreement between the Commerce and State departments and the Japan Fishing Agency calls for the use of transmitters on Japanese government vessels in the North Pacific in 1989 to monitor their location, and their placement on more vessels in 1990.

The pact also calls for putting several Japanese and nine American observers on Japanese vessels to determine their location and type of catch.

The agreement was prompted by U.S. concern about what environmentalists have called the "strip mining" of the North Pacific by an estimated 1,500 vessels--primarily from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan--using drift, or gill, nets.

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