Week of October 23, 2006

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World

UN Warns Ocean Dead Zones on the Rise

BEIJING, China (ENS) - The number of dead zones in the world's oceans and seas has increased dramatically in the past two years, endangering fish stocks and the people who depend on them for food and livelihoods, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) warned Thursday. The latest study finds at least 200 dead zones across the world, up from an estimated 149 only two years ago.

 

The new scientific estimates of dead zones, areas where algal blooms remove oxygen from the water, were released at a UNEP marine pollution meeting in Beijing.

 

The algal blooms that cause dead zones are triggered by nutrients from agricultural runoff, sewage and animal wastes, and pollutions from the burning of fossil fuels. The low levels of oxygen in the water make it difficult for fish, oysters and other marine creatures to survive as well as important habitats such as sea grass beds. Some of the earliest recorded dead

zones were in places like Chesapeake Bay in the United States, the Baltic Sea, the Kattegat, the Black Sea and the northern Adriatic Sea.

 

The most well-known area of depleted oxygen is in the Gulf of Mexico - directly linked to nutrients or fertilizers brought to the Gulf by the Mississippi River. The report identifies new dead zones in the Finland's Archipelago Sea, the Fosu Lagoon in Ghana, the Mersey Estuary in the United Kingdom and Uruguay's Montevideo Bay. Others have been appearing off South America, China, Japan, south-east Australia and New Zealand.

 

The report warns that the pollution that contributes to dead zones shows few signs of decreasing. Nitrogen exports to the marine environment from rivers, for example, are expected to rise globally by 14 per cent by 2030 when compared with the mid 1990s.


Study Urges Protection of Big Fish

SAN DIEGO (ENS) - Commercial fishing does not just threaten targeted stocks by reducing the overall number of remaining fish, according to a new study. Researchers have found that fishing puts populations at greater risk of collapse because it tends to remove older, stronger, bigger fish, leaving behind younger, smaller fish less capable of surviving natural changes in the ecosystem.

 

The study, published in last week's edition of the journal "Nature," indicates fishery managers should consider adjusting quotas and regulations to protect larger fish.

 

"We found that the variability of the targeted populations was much higher, meaning that fishing tends to amplify both the peaks and the valleys of population numbers," said study coauthor George Sugihara, a co-author of the paper and an oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego. "Fishing can potentially not only lead to declining stock levels, but cause populations to fluctuate more through time, which could put them at greater risk of collapse than previously thought."

 

The study warns that catching too many large fish puts targeted species in double jeopardy. (Photo by Jorge Sierra courtesy WWF-Canon)

The study is based on data obtained by the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI), a 50-year study of the ecological conditions of the California Current - the large current originating in the northern Pacific Ocean that flows along the western coast of North America.

 

The researchers differentiated between environmental and fishing impacts by analyzing the populations of exploited versus unexploited species living in the same environments.

Normally this comparison cannot be made with traditional fisheries data based on "landings" records, as there are no landings records for unfished species. But the CalCOFI data was unique in this regard because it contains information on larval abundances of both fished and non-fished species.

 

Larval abundance is an indicator of adult abundance. The study analyzed the quantity of larval fish recorded during research expeditions to study current. Its shows that fishing amplifies the highs and lows of natural population variability because it selectively culls the larger, older individuals, thereby removing the fish that are more able to buffer random environmental variation and the ones that tend also to be more the most reproductively active.

 

"This suggests that fisheries need to be managed not only to maintain a harvest target or total biomass level, but also to maintain a certain age structure in the stock," said Sugihara.  The fluctuations identified precede systematic declines of populations, he explained, and can be viewed as a kind of early warning sign prior to collapse.

 

"This study shows that there is significant value in conducting long-term ecological research in the oceans," added Philip Taylor, director of National Science Foundation's Biological Oceanography Program, which funded the research along with the foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research Program.

 

"There are risks in not taking fish population variability and fish population age structure into account because they impact the resilience of future fish generations," Taylor said. "A ton of fish of the very largest sizes has far more value to future populations if preserved than a ton of smaller fish, which contribute far less to reproduction."


National

New Study Shows Benefits of Eating Fish Greatly Outweigh Risks

Fish Consumption Associated With Reduced Risk of Cardiac Death, Lower Total Mortality, and Improvements in Child Brain Development

BOSTON, MA--Eating seafood twice a week is good for your heart and generally outweighs the risk of exposure to mercury and other dangerous contaminants, the Institute of Medicine said October 17.  Despite growing attention and concerns over mercury and other contaminants, eating seafood is far better for your health than not eating it at all.

 

A 12-member expert panel set up under a contract with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Food and Drug Administration produced that report.

 

A separate study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), posted in the current issue of Journal of the American Medical Association, measures just how much better off consumers are in eating fish. The study showed those who eat just 3 oz of farmed salmon regularly "lower their risk of death from heart disease by 36 % and their overall mortality rate - death from any causes - by 17%". 

 

"This is a remarkable reduction considering that this is the benefit for deaths from all causes,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, lead author of the study and an instructor in epidemiology at HSPH and in medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Somehow this evidence has been lost on the public.”

 

 The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute sponsored this study.

 

Even so, the government needs to help consumers figure out which seafood is safer, an Institute report said.

"The confusion may have scared people out of eating something that is beneficial for them, and maybe for their offspring," said Jose Ordovas, a Tufts University researcher and member of the report committee. "Our goal was to put both things in perspective and see where is the balance," Ordovas said.

 

The findings from the Institute, which advises the government on health policy, are in line with widely accepted government advice that eating fish and shellfish may reduce people's risk of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

 

Interestingly, researchers said it's unclear how eating fish fights heart disease. It may be that beneficial omega-3 fatty acids offer some protection. Or the answer may be simpler, that people eat less saturated fat and cholesterol when they choose leaner seafood instead of fatty cuts of meat.

 

Confusing messages and inflated fears are keeping the public from getting the benefits that come from eating fish, says Mozaffarian. "We were surprised at how little evidence

there actually is for some of these harms."

 

Americans generally eat too much saturated fat and cholesterol and too little of the good omega-3 fatty acids, the report said. And evidence shows that eating seafood rich in omega-3s can contribute to vision and cognitive development in babies and help expecting moms carry babies to term, researchers said.

 

Critics were alarmed the report offers the same guidance for pregnant women as for young children. "They seem to be unaware that children are smaller than adults," said Jean Halloran, director of food safety at Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports magazine. "That advice, which they have featured prominently, could result in young children getting excessive doses of mercury."

 

For pregnant women and children younger than 12, the report said:

_ They may benefit from eating seafood, especially seafood with higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.

_ They may eat six to 12 ounces of seafood a week. That can include up to six ounces of albacore tuna.

_ They should avoid big predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, tilefish or king mackerel, which have higher mercury levels.

 

For healthy teenagers and adults and those at risk of heart disease, the report said eating seafood may reduce the risk of heart disease. And if people eat more than two servings of seafood a week, they should be sure to eat different kinds of seafood to reduce the risk of exposure to contaminants, the report said.

 

While the report does not list "good" or "bad" fish, it does describe broad categories

 

_Fatty fish like salmon have the highest omega-3 levels but also have more saturated fat and cholesterol and can have higher levels of dioxin and PCBs. They tend to have less mercury.

 

_Shellfish and crustaceans are low in saturated fat but can have moderate amounts of cholesterol and present the greatest risk of microbial infection if eaten raw.

 

_In all seafood, levels of dioxin, PCBs and other contaminants do not pose health risks when eaten in government-recommended amounts.

 

Bottom line?  - Although there are times when contamination should be a concern, the health benefits of regular fish consumption outweigh the risks.

 

Harvard School of Public Health - October 17, 2006

New Study Shows the Benefits of Eating Fish Greatly Outweigh the Risks

www.hsph.harvard.edu/press/releases/press10172006.html


Update on Coast Guard meetings dates on firing zones

CLEVELAND - The Ninth Coast Guard District has submitted a notice of public meetings to the Federal Register, which contains the schedule, locations and agenda of nine public meetings, to discuss proposed permanent safety zones on the Great Lakes, and to conduct live gunnery training exercises. 

 

Three more meetings were added after the initial announcement, and two more were added on October 10. 

 

The purpose of the meetings are to gather information from the public concerning the Ninth Coast Guard District's proposal to establish permanent safety zones located in the Great Lakes. 

 

Original Meeting schedule:

(1)  Oct. 16, DULUTH, MN: Duluth Convention Center, 350 Harbor Dr, Duluth, MN; (218) 722-5573

(2)  Oct. 18, GRAND HAVEN/SPRING LAKE, MI: Grand Haven Holiday Inn, 940 W Savidge, Spring Lake (616) 846-1000

(3)  Oct. 19, PORT HURON/MARYSVILLE, MI: Crystal Gardens, 1200 Gratiot Boulevard, Marysville (810) 364-6650

(4) Oct. 23, CLEVELAND: Celebrezze Federal Bldg, 31st fl, 1240 E 9th St, Cleveland; (216) 902-6020.  Need Photo ID

 

Meeting dates added –

Oct 30 - Rochester Fast Ferry Terminal, 1000 N. River Street, Rochester, NY

Nov 1 - Lake County Conference and Banquet Center, 248 Ambrogio Drive, Gurnee, IL

Nov 3 - Charlevoix Public Library, 220 W. Clinton Street, Charlevoix, MI

Nov 6 - Erie, PA - Cruise Ship Terminal  - exact location to be

determined

Nov 8 - Sturgeon Bay, WI - exact location to be determined

 

Schedule of events for all meetings:

4 -5:30 PM - Open house.  The public can receive information on the proposed zones and ask questions of Coast Guard officials.

 

5:30-8 PM - Public meetings.  After a brief statement by Coast Guard officials, the public can comment.  Comments will be recorded and entered into the docket for this rulemaking.

 

Topics to be covered during the public meetings are: (1) introduction of the proposed zones and the need to train on the U.S. Great Lakes; (2) how the Coast Guard determined the locations of the safety zones; (3) scheduling and frequency of training in the safety zones; (4) notification procedures; (5) safety procedures; (6) weapons and munitions; and (7) environmental risk assessment overview. 

 

“In accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, the public meeting is not a question and answer format, but rather an opportunity for the public to have their comments recorded and formally entered into the docket for consideration.  After a brief opening statement by Coast Guard officials, the public can provide comment“.

 

Additional information can be found at the Ninth Coast Guard District's proposed permanent safety zones web sit at www.uscgd9safetyzones.com .  This site is solely dedicated to the pubic distribution of information concerning the Ninth Coast Guard District's proposed permanent safety zones. 

 

For more info call: Ninth Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office, Cleveland, at (216) 902-6020


Updates from the US Coast Guard and live fire hearings

Suspension of live firings

Adm. Crowley has suspended live firings during the public comment period. Crowley made the decision to suspend live-fire exercises, until the Guard could allow the public to submit their comments and evaluate their input.  There were also concerns from various government and non-governmental organizations which contributed to the decision.

 

The mayor of Sarnia, Ontario, earlier had urged Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to intervene to stop the tests. "It's turning the Great Lakes into a military zone," Mayor Mike Bradley said by telephone last week. "There's no justification to do this." The mayors of Toronto and Chicago — the lakes' biggest cities — also have criticized the tests.

 

Safety Zones Duration of activation

Safety zones will only be activated 2-3 times per year, for 4-6 hours at a time, in order to conduct training.  These periods will be well advertised through press releases, local notice to mariners and marine radio broadcasts, and contacts to the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council.

 

Group plans to sue Coast Guard

The Milwaukee Pioneer Press reported on Friday, October 20, 2006 that a Duluth-based environmental group, upset with the Coast Guard's plan to hold live-fire training drills on the Great Lakes threatened Thursday to sue. Citizens for Environmental Enforcement notified the Coast Guard it will file a Clean Water Act citizen lawsuit in two months if the military doesn't back off.

 

Curt Leitz, executive director of the nonprofit group, said the bullets would result in almost 7,000 lbs of lead, a toxic metal, being discharged into the lakes each year. The Clean Water Act bans the discharge of such pollutants into lakes without a permit, he said. He added the Coast Guard also doesn't have a permit for the live-fire training.  "We are for the radical idea that the law should be followed,'' Leitz said.

 

The Press added Leitz says he believes his organization,

formed this summer, is the first to challenge the drills in court. The 60-day notice letter sent to the Coast Guard on October 19 is required under the Clean Water Act. Marc Fink, a lawyer for the group, said that period gives the Coast Guard a chance to adjust its plans to comply with the law.

 

About the Citizens for Environmental Enforcement

Little else is known about this new group. Their web site www.env-enforcement.org/  is less than two pages long, showing two attorneys as their board of directors.  One of them Bernard D Zaleha, who currently serves as Vice President of Citizens for Environmental Enforcement, is also currently serving his second term on the Sierra Club's national board of directors.

 

Leitz, their executive director, has worked on environmental policy and issues at the local and state levels for the Izaak Walton League of America, and he currently chairs the Conservation Issues Committee for the McCabe (Duluth) Chapter.

 


New Law Requires Greater Public Notice on Coast Guard Live Fire Exercises 

Homeland Security Bill approved by Congress, signed by Bush Oct 4

WASHINGTON – This year’s funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security includes a provision requiring the Coast Guard to provide enhanced public notice beyond just marine band radio when preparing for live fire weapons training on the Great Lakes. 

 

Congressman Dave Obey (D-WI) and Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) announced the passage of the provision, saying it would help to keep the public safe.

 

“Great Lakes mariners deserve to know, before they set out, if the Coast Guard is going to be conducting training exercises

that could affect their plans,” said Obey.  "No matter how the Coast Guard finally decides to handle its training areas, this provision will ensure that boaters get fair warning of areas to avoid."   "This legislation will ensure that, at minimum, the Coast Guard employs other methods of communication to put out the word that they will be conducting a live fire exercise.”

 

The Homeland Security appropriations measure specifically “directs the Coast Guard to notify the public beyond just using marine band radio.”  The legislation was signed into law by the President on October 4th. 

 

The safety zones are expected to occupy a total area of 2.5% of the surface area of the Great Lakes or 2,376 square miles.  www.house.gov/apps/list/press/mi01_

stupak/101206CGLiveFire.html


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Oct. 20, 2006

Lake Level Conditions:  

Lake Superior’s water level is currently 10 inches lower than it was a year ago, while levels in Lake Michigan-Huron are near the levels of last year.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario all have higher water levels than the previous year by 2, 4, and 5 inches respectively.  At this time, all of the lakes are in their period of seasonal decline.  Over the next month, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to fall 2 inches.  During this same period, the water levels in Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are all projected to decrease by 2, 3, and 4 inches, respectively.  Over the next few months, Lake Superior is expected to remain below last year’s levels, while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are predicted to remain near or slightly above the water levels of a year ago. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be below average in October.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers also are expected to be below average during October.  Flow in the Niagara River is forecasted to be near average in October, while flow in the St. Lawrence River is predicted to be above average.

Alerts:

Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level reading.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for Oct 20

600.8

577.4

573.6

571.2

245.2

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

-4

-1

+16

+24

+23

Diff last month

-3

-1

-2

-2

-3

Diff from last yr

-10

0

+2

+4

+5

 


President Signs Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act

Funding Doubles to $80 Million Over 5 Years

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Progress toward comprehensive restoration of the Great Lakes accelerated when President Bush signed into law a measure that will double funding to rehabilitate fish and wildlife habitat in the lakes.

 

The signing of Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Act, which increases funding for fish and wildlife protection from $8 million to $16 million per year, will preserve and enhance some of the Midwest's premiere recreational destinations for outdoor enthusiasts.

 

The bill also represents a victory in the continuing quest for a broader restoration of the Great Lakes, a strategy that was

released last year as part of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration. Reauthorization of the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Act was a goal adopted in that plan.

 

This bill provides a new authority for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take on regional projects based on recommendation by states and tribes for the regional benefit of fish and wildlife.

  

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition consists of more than 85 state, regional and national zoos, museums, aquariums, hunter, angler, and conservation organizations. Headed by the National Wildlife Federation and the National Parks Conservation Association, the coalition is seeking state and federal support to restore the Great Lakes.


General

Dick Cabela honored by DMA Hall of Fame

SIDNEY, Neb. – Dick Cabela, founder and chairman of the board of Cabela’s, was inducted into the Direct Marketing Association Hall of Fame on Oct. 17, 2006. Established in 1978, the DMA Hall of Fame honors direct-marketing professionals’ outstanding career contributions to the practice, growth and stature of the direct-marketing discipline.

Dick Cabela founded Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear in 1961 at his kitchen table. Cabela’s is now a leading specialty retailer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor merchandise. Cabela’s mails more than 120 million catalogs annually with more than 70 distinctive titles.


New Bass Pro Shops Opening in Macon, GA Oct. 25

Macon, Georgia--The new Bass Pro Shops Sportsman’s Warehouse in Macon is located at the intersection of I-75 and Bass Rd and is the anchor for a 207-acre development by Fickling & Company, Inc.  The store is attached to the recently opened 420,000 sq-ft Bass Pro Shops distribution center. 

 

It will officially open its doors for a preview celebration during the fundraising event and ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, October 25th from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM.  The event 

is free and open to the public. A portion of the night’s sales will be donated to the “More Fish” campaign of the National Fish Initiative while local conservation groups will sell food and drinks courtesy of Johnsonville and Coca-Cola and hold raffles with 100% of the proceeds benefiting those organizations.

 

The Grand Opening Celebration begins Thursday, October 26th and will include special exhibits, more celebrity guests, store wide savings and fantastic giveaways.


Bass Pro Shops Grand Opening in Ft. Myers, FL-Nov 2

Ft. Myers, Florida--The Grand Opening Celebration begins Thursday, November 2nd and will include special exhibits, celebrity guests, store wide savings and fantastic giveaways.  You can also visit with today’s experts on fishing, hunting, kayaking and more.  See huge displays from the industry’s top manufacturers and talk with factory reps for answers to your product questions.

 

The new Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Ft. Myers is located at the intersection of I-75 and Alico Road, and is the anchor for the Gulf Coast Town Center, a 1.7 million square-foot mixed use development.  It will officially open its doors for

a preview celebration during the fundraising event and ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, November 1st from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM.  The event is free and open to the public.

 

A portion of the night’s sales will be donated to the “More Fish” campaign of the National Fish Initiative while local conservation groups will sell food and drinks courtesy of Johnsonville® and Coca-Cola® and hold raffles with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting those organizations.

 

Legendary angler Jimmy Houston will serve as master of ceremonies.  Musical entertainment will be provided by Danny Morgan.


 

Michigan

Ballast Water Permits Now Available

Program Will Help Fight Against Invasive Species

The Department of Environmental Quality announced October 20 that Michigan’s new Ballast Water Control General Permit is now available.  The permit, the first of its kind in the nation, will require oceangoing vessels to treat their ballast water prior to entering Michigan ports in order to prevent aquatic invasive species from being introduced into the Great Lakes.

 

The general permit was developed in response to legislation signed into law June 5, 2005 by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm.  When the St. Lawrence Seaway opens for the 2007 shipping season, all oceangoing vessels must be

covered by a DEQ permit to engage in port operations in Michigan.  Port operations include loading and unloading cargo and discharging ballast water.

 

The DEQ has determined the ballast water treatment methods contained in the permit are environmentally sound, affordable, and effective in preventing the discharge of aquatic invasive species.

 

The Ballast Water Control General Permit is now on our Web site at  http://www.michigan.gov/deq , click on "Water,"  "Surface Water," "NPDES Permits," "General Permits," or "Ballast Water Control."


Minnesota

Four Illinois men face $4,200 in fines for gross over limit of walleye

Several complaints and a Turn-In-Poacher call led to four Illinois men being cited for 92 walleye over the limit on Lake of the Woods.

 

State Conservation Officer Jeff Birchem of Baudette said that fishing had been good on the lake on Oct. 2 when anglers observed Robert J. Potter, 69, Dennis F. Kieltyka, 61, and Harold M. Matuszak, 53, all of Chicago, and Thomas C. Cave, 57, Coal City, Ill., catch and keep large numbers of fish only to return later in the day for more. Further investigation showed the fish were shipped by commercial carrier to Kieltyka's home.

 

Working in plainclothes in an unmarked vehicle, Birchem located several vehicles with Illinois license plates parked near the Bostic Creek area of Lake of the Woods. He observed two boats park at docks near the vehicles. He also observed both boat operators take five-gallon buckets to a nearby fish cleaning house before returning to their cabin. Birchem approached the cabin and identified himself as a conservation officer.

 

The four men gave consent to search the cabin and boats

resulting in the officer finding one northern pike in the freezer.

During a check of the fish cleaning house, Birchem discovered an over limit of 22 walleyes. Another 70 walleyes were found in a cardboard box with Kieltyka's name and address on it.

 

The men also stated they had shipped a box of fish to the same address a few days earlier and were responsible for the over limit. The four men were cited for 92 walleye over the legal limit. Lake of the Woods is covered by Minnesota/Canadian boundary waters regulations. The daily possession limit through Nov. 30 is six fish (not more than four can be walleye; only one walleye over 28"; walleye 19.5-28" must be immediately released). If convicted, the men face fines totaling $4,250 and revocation of their fishing privileges for three years.

 

Established in 1981, the Turn In Poacher (TIP) program allows Minnesotans to call a toll-free number from anywhere in the state – or USA, to report Minnesota natural resources violations. Calls regarding Minnesota violations can be placed anonymously at 800-652-9093 – from Minnesota or anywhere in the USA.

 


Safari Club and Minn Heritage Alliance Will Defend Trapping in Minnesota

Two prominent sporting and conservation organizations will be able to help defend against a lawsuit that challenges Minnesota’s trapping program.  The lawsuit, recently filed in District Court in Minnesota challenges trapping in Canada lynx habitat.  A Minnesota federal court has just approved Safari Club International and the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance’s request to participate as “amici curiae” (friends of the court) and to file legal briefs in the case.  SCI and MOHA will argue to prevent the Court from determining that the trapping program “takes” (i.e., hurts or kills) the Canada Lynx, for example in traps or snares set for other animals, and to stop the court from forcing the State to end or alter the trapping  

program in areas where the lynx reside.

 

“We are happy to be involved in this case not only to defend the activities of sportsmen and women in Minnesota, but to guard against an adverse legal precedent that could be used to attack hunting and other sporting activities in other states,” explained Ralph Cunningham, President of Safari Club International.

 

SCI and MOHA have also filed papers to gain amici status in a related case in the same Court, this one challenging the trapping program as allowing “take” of Canada lynx, bald eagle, and gray wolf, all listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act.


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.

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