Thursday, September 29, 2005

Government leadership in salmon revitalization


"Alaska's struggling commercial salmon industry can thrive only if it restructures, but it faces "fundamental obstacles" including lack of government leadership in making the needed changes, according to a new university study.
"For Alaska's salmon fisheries to become and remain profitable, we will have to find ways of catching salmon at lower cost and raising the quality and value of the harvests," the report says."


State government should watch over their "restructuring brain childs" like the military watched over the entrance to Dutch Harbor in WWII.

Well, duh, on the last statement. Jerry McCune's point, later in the above Wes Loy article, was that government has taken many steps already to restructure the salmon industry. Probably more than all the previous governors combined in my opinion. And I don't know that they aren't "working on it." I got an e-mail from a Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game staffer who was "working on it" full bore from what it looked like.

I don't know how many other state employees are working on restructuring, or revitalization, things. There are a small handfull in the Dept. of Commerce who are. Even though they are often deemed as just cheerleaders, never-the-less, they do work on revitalization things too. Even the new head of this Department is only running on a couple of cylinders as far as fisheries issues goes. He's from the coal industry. Well, who is a governor gonna get for that job anyway, a plant superintendent or fish company president? Not. My dad used to regularly turn down offers to run these kind of things.

Of course a ISER think tanker that lost the last Gubanatorial race is going to say state government isn't leading the charge. They HAVE led the charge, if you look at the Board of Fish and Game efforts, the RSDAs, and ASMI restructuring alone. BUT, I agree that there could be more GREASING THE SKIDS on the part of Government.


The Institute for Social and Economic Research should do something constructive to help point at ways government can grease the skids on initiatives that are now in the works. If the Regional Seafood Development Associations alone are successful, like they are in the rest of the country, that would be all the industry would need. I won't mention that ISER differed with me on the value of the Seafood Development Association concept 15 years ago.

And that their glossy proposal, that used the full resources of the U of A to impress some folks enough to get the contract for the Salmon Information Service, was used to beat out other folks that had vast industry experience and insight. One proposer knew the salmon market so well that the Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank spent $20,000 to see if they could get canned salmon on the commodoties market and use that savvy to help their co-op member/processors.

I'm not bashing ISER here, just setting the record straight. And another thing, the RSDAs aren't going to work if fisherman "A" get's his wife to be the executive director while he fishes. They aren't mom and pops. They are very serious tools that need to be wielded by the best people around. The 64 dollar question is whether they can afford to get the experience they so badly need.

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