Saturday, January 28, 2006

"....I will do my best to do my duty...."

The title phrase is out of the Boy Scouts of America motto and refers to helping make the country strong. You ever hear the phrase " the country is going to heck in a handbasket?" The lack of the former is the cause of the latter. It's just that simple. So is it just the Boy Scouts who are supposed to think about duty?

Do you think these trollers at Port Alexander even know what an RSDA is?

This is a fisheries blog, so let me put a fisheries spin on the issue. What we have here is a choice that Alaska fishermen can make today: to speak up in public forums, send in testimony, or vote for people and things that have a proven track record elsewhere. This goes for federal fisheries management, State Fish Board business, Fish and Game Advisory Committees, or Regional Seafood Development Association business.

Of course it takes a good grip on the issues to be a help and not a hindrance. Fishermen really can take things into their own hands, and with good information, forge the kind of industry they want, and not something that others want for them. There are a lot of others that think they know best and are counting on fishermen not doing anything.

I see that the National Marine Fisheries Service is trying to resurrect Seafood Marketing Councils, that revolve around a species complex, as opposed to the Alaska model of Regional Associations. My original thesis was for an association that would unify the marketing efforts on single species such as pink salmon. (It's hard to imagine 12 Regionals trying to make a superior claim on their pinks.) So NMFS has a little better idea there; it's just that it isn't in the model of the free enterprise driven Association concept that is at the pinacle of these framework ideas.

And that includes the Institute concept. And the Commission concept. Councils, like these other two of similar ilk, use folks that are appointed by government officials and not the fishermen they are trying to serve. So the councils, institutes and commissions serve, guess who? the people who appointed them. And guess who has the government's ear? the people that own the large economic engines in an industry. So then guess who the appointees end up serving, even without their meaning to? And remember what Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt said about "capital" running things instead of people.

Nevertheless, here's what one author says about our duty: "Americans desert their country and the foundations upon which it was built every time they believe it is another's responsibility to bring about the changes necessary to keep our country strong; every time they run and hide to keep from facing the challenge of standing against a corrupt policy or law."

Doing your duty isn't easy. My son can testify to that after all he did in Iraq, which culminated in his watching one of the biggest despots in history get loaded on a helicopter to be flown off to jail. What I do isn't easy either. Try to see how long you can work pro bono. I just want to encourage anyone that has, or supports, a better mousetrap in the fishing industry, and do my part in helping foster ideas that preclude the rise of little dictators here at home.


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