Thursday, March 23, 2006

AP and NPFMC need to cough up proof they don't have an agenda

This is the other major case of "inhumanity to man" I've seen this week in Alaska fisheries. When there is such big money at stake in these attempts to grab power, and hence money, or just go straight for the money, the wives and children are the ones who really suffer.

The biggest threat to coastal communities in Alaska is the State and Council notion that the fleet needs to be thinned out. It's just because of a lack of support for good marketing strategies.

Fishermen, like men all over, are built to take their lumps and move on. The other big loser is the community of course. At issue today is the Advisory Panel to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council who held a pre-council meeting in Kodiak just after the gubernatorial debate there.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror writer said this of Panel member Duncan Fields; "He understands why some stakeholders harbor bitterness and cynicism and said he doesn’t believe the council has a pre-determined outcome or a conspiracy going on."
“In Kodiak, we’re listening to a chorus, and the chorus is very loud and they’re all singing in harmony. But the Kodiak chorus is part of a much larger choir, and the choir is not in harmony with the Kodiak chorus,” Fields said.
“In the meeting today, people — good people — don’t see the larger chorus,” he said.

Now that make me see red, just like it does Kodiak folks, and I haven't set foot on Kodiak Island since about '91. You gotta be blind as a bat not to see the manipulation going on by the Council and their Advisory Panel. I darned near threw up when I read this article.

These panel members are not stupid people, but to the extent they think we can't see between the lines of what they say, they are a little lacking. They can see desperation, fear and anger in fishing families over losing their livelihoods to the whims of a few people playing in the sand pile of power politics. Losing a boat to a storm is one thing, but losing it to the greed of the few is quite another.

I want to make it plain, the chorus that Kodiak is singing is being sung by fishermen all over the State. Why wouldn't it? If that meeting had been held anywhere else in the Gulf, the response would have been pretty much the same. They are fishing the same stocks and will be subject to the same regulations. Granted, Kodiak may be a bit more knowledgeable and hence more expressive, but as a lightning rod for comments from all over the state, I say the choir is harmonizing with them.

The burden of proof is on the Panel and the NPFMC to show EVERYBODY the studies that back up their claims, and that includes Kodiak being out of sync with the rest of the state. The General Accounting Office has discredited their studies so far. Cough it up boys or go home.