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105th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 1st Session                                                     105-69
_______________________________________________________________________


 
                              CORAL REEFS

                                _______
                                

   April 23, 1997.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

_______________________________________________________________________


  Mr. Young of Alaska, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                     [To accompany H. Con. Res. 8]

    The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the 
concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 8) expressing the sense of 
Congress with respect to the significance of maintaining the 
health and stability of coral reef ecosystems, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon with amendments 
and recommend that the concurrent resolution be agreed to.
    The amendments are as follows:
    Strike out all after the resolving clause and insert in 
lieu thereof the following:

That the Congress recognizes the significance of maintaining the health 
and stability of coral reef ecosystems, by--
    (1) promoting comprehensive stewardship for coral reef ecosystems;
    (2) encouraging research, monitoring, and assessment of and 
education on coral reef ecosystems; and
    (3) improving the coordination of coral reef efforts and activities 
of Federal agencies, academic institutions, nongovernmental 
organizations, and industry.

    Amend the preamble to read as follows:

    Whereas coral reefs are among the world's most biologically diverse 
and productive marine habitats, and are often described as the tropical 
rain forests of the oceans;
    Whereas healthy coral reefs provide the basis for subsistence, 
commercial fisheries, and coastal and marine tourism and are of vital 
economic importance to coastal States and territories of the United 
States including Florida, Hawaii, Georgia, Texas, Puerto Rico, the 
Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the 
Northern Mariana Islands;
    Whereas healthy coral reefs function as natural, regenerating 
coastal barriers, protecting shorelines and coastal areas from high 
waves, storm surges, and accompanying losses of human life and 
property;
    Whereas the scientific community has long established that coral 
reefs are subject to a wide range of natural and anthropogenic threats;
    Whereas the United States has taken measures to protect national 
coral reef resources through the designation and management of several 
marine protected areas, containing reefs of the Flower Garden Banks in 
the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys in south Florida, and offshore 
Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa;
    Whereas the United States, acting through its agencies, has 
established itself as a global leader in coral reef stewardship by 
launching the International Coral Reef Initiative and by maintaining 
professional networks for the purposes of sharing knowledge and 
information on coral reefs, furnishing near real-time data collected at 
coral reef sites, providing a repository for historical data relating 
to coral reefs, and making substantial contributions to the general 
fund of coral reef knowledge; and
    Whereas 1997 has been declared the ``International Year of the 
Reef'' by the coral reef research community and over 40 national and 
international scientific, conservation, and academic organizations: 
Now, therefore, be it

    Amend the title so as to read:

    A concurrent resolution recognizing the significance of 
maintaining the health and stability of coral reef ecosystems.

                          purpose of the bill

    The purposes of H. Con. Res. 8 are to express Congressional 
commitment to maintaining healthy and stable coral reef 
ecosystems and to honor the designation of 1997 as the 
International Year of the Reef.

                  background and need for legislation

    Coral reefs are among the world's most biologically diverse 
and productive marine habitats. Requirements of warm water, 
free of excessive nutrients and sediments, generally restrict 
reef growth to shallow, tropical and subtropical coastal 
regions. Thus, coral reefs are well developed in the coastal 
waters of only two U.S. States, Florida and Hawaii. Extensive 
reefs are associated with islands and territories under U.S. 
jurisdiction in the Caribbean and Pacific (Puerto Rico, U.S. 
Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa). Offshore in Federal 
waters, deeper coral communities with broader distribution are 
also present (e.g. Gray's Reef off the coast of Georgia, and 
the Flower Garden Banks off Texas).
    Healthy coral reefs provide countless products and benefits 
to the coastal communities of these U.S. States and 
territories. They are vital to coastal economies, serving as 
the basis for coastal and marine tourism. Annually, for 
example, the reefs of the Florida Keys attract over six million 
visitors and generate over $2.1 billion in revenue from 
snorkelers and scuba divers, recreational fishermen, boaters 
and wildlife enthusiasts. Also, this reef-based tourism creates 
hundreds of thousands of job opportunities in south Florida.
    Healthy reefs also support valuable subsistence and 
commercial reef fisheries. In 1995, domestic landings of 
commercial reef fish and shellfish (snapper, grouper, spiny 
lobster, etc.) exceeded $79.5 million. Reef fish imports, for 
consumption or the marine aquarium trade, account for an 
additional $25-50 million annually.
    Healthy reefs function as habitat for many marine organisms 
valued by the biomedical and pharmaceutical industries. For 
example, a chemical compound derived from Caribbean reef 
sponges is the active ingredient in medicines which are widely 
used in cancer chemotherapy. Many other marine plants and 
animals which live on coral reefs produce compounds with anti-
viral, anti-bacterial and related properties.
    Finally, healthy reefs serve as natural protection for the 
coastlines of Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin 
Islands, Guam and American Samoa. Coral reefs are effective 
coastal breakwaters and barriers, and can reduce energy from 
incoming waves by up to 97 percent. This minimizes the impacts 
of high waves, storm surges, coastal erosion and the 
accompanying threats to human life and property.
    Nevertheless, scientists agree that the world's coral reefs 
are subject to numerous natural and human-induced threats, 
including: predator damage; storms and extreme weather events; 
tourism pressures; commercial harvests; destructive fishing 
techniques; vessel damage; and non-point source pollution 
associated with coastal development. An estimated 10 percent of 
reefs have degraded beyond recovery, and that statistic is 
expected to reach 20 to 30 percent by the year 2010.
    In response to evidence of widespread coral reef decline, 
representatives from the governments of the United States and 
seven other countries, non-governmental organizations, 
multilateral development banks and private-sector businesses 
formed a partnership, the International Coral Reef Initiative 
(ICRI), in May 1994. The mission of ICRI is to build on 
existing programs and expertise in coral reef conservation and 
management by coordinating national, regional and international 
activities. Explicitly, its aim is not to create new agencies 
or bureaucracies or to act as a funding entity. The United 
States is a leading participant in ICRI, and major efforts are 
coordinated by the State Department and the National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration.
    Consideration of H. Con. Res. 8 deliberately coincides with 
the designation of 1997 as the International Year of the Reef 
(IYOR) by the international community of scientists, 
policymakers, natural resource managers, and coral reef 
advocates. The goal of IYOR is to promote public awareness of 
issues pertaining to coral reef ecosystems, through a year-long 
worldwide campaign of briefings, workshops, and related 
initiatives. Major participants in IYOR activities include the 
American Zoo and Aquarium Association, Center for Marine 
Conservation, Environmental Defense Fund, World Conservation 
Union, Nature Conservancy, Smithsonian Institution, World 
Wildlife Fund, and over thirty other zoos and aquariums, 
conservation societies, trade organizations, universities and 
academic programs.

                            committee action

    H. Con. Res. 8 was introduced on January 9, 1997, by 
Congressman Jim Saxton (R-NJ), Chairman, Subcommittee on 
Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans; and Congressman 
Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee 
on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans. The bill was 
referred to the Committee on Resources, and within the 
Committee to the Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, 
Wildlife and Oceans. On March 13, 1997, the Subcommittee held a 
hearing on H. Con. Res. 8, where testimony was received from 
Mr. Terry Garcia, Acting Assistant Secretary for Oceans and 
Atmosphere, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; 
Ms. Barbara Jeanne Polo, Policy Director, American Oceans 
Campaign; Dr. Robert Ginsburg, Chairman, International Year of 
the Reef Organizing Committee; and Dr. James Porter, University 
of Georgia. On March 19, 1997, the Subcommittee met to mark up 
H. Con. Res. 8. Three amendments to make minor changes to the 
language of the resolution, its preamble, and its title were 
offered by Mr. Saxton, and adopted by voice vote. The bill was 
then ordered favorably reported to the Full Committee. On April 
16, 1997, the Full Resources Committee met to consider H. Con. 
Res. 8. No new amendments were offered and the bill, as 
amended, was passed by voice vote and ordered favorably 
reported to the House of Representatives.

            committee oversight findings and recommendations

    With respect to the requirements of clause 2(l)(3) of rule 
XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, and clause 
2(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives, 
the Committee on Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                   constitutional authority statement

    Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact H. Con. Res. 8.

                        cost of the legislation

    Clause 7(a) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs which would be incurred in carrying out 
H. Con. Res. 8. However, clause 7(d) of that rule provides that 
this requirement does not apply when the Committee has included 
in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the bill 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                     COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XI

    1. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(B) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, H. Con. 
Res. 8 does not contain any new budget authority, spending 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in 
revenues or tax expenditures.
    2. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(D) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee has received no report of oversight findings and 
recommendations from the Committee on Government Reform and 
Oversight on the subject of H. Con. Res. 8.
    3. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(C) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the 
Committee has received the following cost estimate for H. Con. 
Res. 8 from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office.

               congressional budget office cost estimate

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, April 18, 1997.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
reviewed H. Con. Res. 8, a concurrent resolution recognizing 
the significance of maintaining the health and stability of 
coral reef ecosystems, as ordered reported by the Committee on 
Resources on April 16, 1997.
    CBO estimates that adoption of this resolution would have 
no effect on the federal budget. H. Con. Res. 8 would express 
Congressional commitment to promoting stewardship of coral reef 
habitats; encouraging research, monitoring, assessment, and 
education about reef ecosystems; and improving the coordination 
of coral reef activities among federal agencies, academic 
institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and industry. 
Coral reefs serve as habitats for many species of marine life 
and are located in coastal waters off several states and U.S. 
territories.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Gary Brown. 
This estimate was approved by Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
            Sincerely,
                                              James L. Blum
                                   (For June E. O'Neill, Director).

                    compliance with public law 104-4

    H. Con. Res. 8 contains no unfunded mandates.

                        changes in existing law

    If enacted, H. Con. Res. 8 would make no changes in 
existing law.