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Origin of fish taken in sting operation determined.

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Genetic tests and an examination of scales of steelhead trout taken from Taiwanese driftnet vessels during a recent high-seas " sting " operation prove that the fish came from North America, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The fish were seized by agents of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) during the largest covert fisheries operation in U. S. history. The fish were examined by scientists at the NMFS Northwest Fisheries Center and the University of Washington in Seattle to determine their continent of origin.

A Taiwanese businessman, Patrick Lee, has been charged with masterminding the sale of 550 tons of the U.S.spawned salmon to NOAA undercover agents. Lee was arrested 19 July as he walked out of a Seattle bank vault carrying suitcases holding more than $1 million in cash. Others have since been taken into custody. It is illegal to catch U. S. spawned salmon in North Pacific driftnet fishing operations.

Results show that three of the four steelhead examined came from North America. Two had their adipose fins clipped, identifying them as North American hatchery fish. Another contained a parasitic flatworm in its kidney that identified its home stream as somewhere between northern California and southern Puget Sound. The origin of the fourth steelhead could not be established. A team of NOAA scientists went to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, to conduct a more extensive sampling of the catches of the two Taiwanese driftnet vessels to determine more accurately the continent of origin of the fish, and their results will be reported later.
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Title Annotation:North American steelhead; Taiwanese drift net vessel
Publication:Marine Fisheries Review
Date:Sep 22, 1989
Words:257
Previous Article:Study uses lasers to find, identify fish.
Next Article:Sharks to come under management in U.S. Atlantic Ocean waters.
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