Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hunting the wily crab rats

The italicized piece that follows, was certainly written in emotional response to a comment made by a lobbyist that seems to have the ear of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

This picture I took at the Boardwalk in Cape May, NJ, the heart of the U.S. clam industry, reminded me of the circus the NPFMC is getting to be.

I can understand fully the frustration (to put it mildly) of fishermen that have spent decades fighting the weather, mechanical breakdowns and human endurance limitations just to see someone that used to be an aide to powerful congressmen trump their testimony.

At issue here is John Iani saying that consolidation of processors is a figment of your imagination. I haven't been out to Westward as much as this fisherman has, to see these processors shut their doors or sail off, not to return again. I'm just going to reprint his communication and if you are one of these "Westward" processors, and are still processing, my apologies in advance.

These guys that are trying to ram rationalization down the throats of the U.S. public are starting to implode if you ask me. On this consolidation issue alone, the Darth Vader of fisheries economists said there WOULD be consolidation of processors and fishermen to get to a "core of efficiency." Now that consolidation has come about, with the much more efficient siphoning off of capital to Japan, we are being told that there is no consolidation? He's only saying that because everyone is turning on them and putting these "crab ratz" in their crosshairs. And at this rate the American Fisheries Act might get washed away in the flood of public revulsion and official inquiry too.

Here is a list of some of the fish plants that are now extinct:
Barge Unisea-GONE
East Point-GONE
San Soucci seafoods-GONE
F/P Robert e Resoff-GONE
M/V Sea Alaska-GONE
Vita Barge-GONE
M/V Viceroy-GONE
M/V Galaxy-GONE
Pacific Pearl-GONE
Northern Victor-GONE
M/V Atrctic Enterprise [several boats]GONE
Deep Sea fisheries-GONE
M/V Akutan-GONE
M/V Western Sea-GONE
Iclcle Barges-GONE

Who is left now?
Alyeska & Westward plus all their boats are owned by Maruha Corp. - this 100% Japanese company owns 28.4% of pollock and 17.5% of the Bering Sea king and tanner crab.
Unisea is owned by Nippon Suisan, and when you call Royal Aleutain for a crab market, you are told to call Unisea. 23.7% of Bering Sea crab. Peter Pan (Nichiro Corp) 19% of the Bering Sea crab.

Trident is it. 26.95% of Bering Sea crab. I guess it will end up like Washington, Oregon and California where one man owns every single plant. Just think what would happen if you were a fisherman who pissed him off.
What upside down thinking makes the State of Alaska give away 60% of the Bering Sea pollock to 100% Japanese-owned companies?

This is about a billion dollars every year, forever. It makes oil look pale, as you only sell it once. Just think, every year, forever and ever. The majority of the Bering Sea's pollock and crab renewable resources are going in a box over to Japan. Why? In what kind of economic model does this make sense? Why would anyone in State goverment want to do this (repeat the Bering Sea experience) to the independent men and women of Kodiak and Gulf of Alaska? It is no wonder that the highest % of guys who sold out forever, to the Crab Buyback Program, were from Sand Point/King Cove Area. With the plant closures, they were already reduced to one market.

John, people have called me and said that at this last North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (meeting), John Iani claims there has not been any recent consolidation of processors. I guess if you are a lying lawyer lobbyist (LLL) you can claim that when a large company buys all the assets of a smaller company, controls it, and keeps the name, then it is not consolidated.