Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Spare a fish?

This article on fish donations is as close to some good news as I'll probably find for this week before Christmas. It's very admirable that a Alaska factory trawl company would give away 290,000 pounds of fish, and already made up into fish sticks. Now that's a pretty decent thing to do in my book.

Clyde Curry's first seiner in Sitka Sound.

One time, Petersburg Fisheries was grinding up whole chum salmon so I asked Patrick Wilson, the manager, if they could make some available for the public. In half an hour, Pat was tooling out of the plant on a forklift with a tote of chums which he dropped off on the side of main street.

Another time, Rick Magill was running south from the Bering Sea and dropped off a couple of totes of king crab in Petersburg. PFI cooked them up and left them on the dock for the public. That was right before Christmas if I recall right.

Most folks of good will give back to their communities without any thought of "what's in it for me." That includes the vast majority of politicians I believe. They are a little akin to king crab crewmen. By the time all the hours they put in are tallied, they are making about minimum wages. We are charged to pray for our government. If it's too hard most of the time, at least we can get a quick one off while the Christmas spirit is alive.

We also need to pause occasionally and consider how good some of us have it compared to others. It's real common in Alaska, after having a good year, for fishermen to just pack up and head for warmer climes. And of course leave the business of watching out for their fisheries to others. Some fishermen in Alaska are working on a fix for all in the form of RSDAs, but how well is that going to work when most of their buddies are in Maui or Seattle or Cancun.

That's been the bane of the brotherhood of fishermen since the dawn of time I think. Letting business slide until something ugly rears it's head, then it's "quick, do something." Fishermen in Alaska are doing a little better than two years ago, especially with winter king salmon at $8.20 a pound ex-vessel the other day. (Those fish got flown fresh to Miami.)

Katrina victims may still be on our minds, but lets not forget those fishermen that stayed in Cordova or Sand Point or Wrangell that are slaving away for the rest of the snowbirds or just slaving away to stay warm.


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