Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Cool Wind Blows over the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council

They must have put up a giant marquee on the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. to announce instructions to the world. That must be where Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner McKie Campbell got the notion that "Congress is instructing us."

Tony Knowles launching pad for governor the first time, a deli and cafe.

“Congress has instructed this council to be doing what we’re doing. I understand there are a lot of you who wish that we weren’t doing it, but frankly, that’s not an option." Campbell said. Like I said before, without the benefit of this direct quote, the state is telling fishermen, (95% of them anyway, by witness accounts) TO GO JUMP IN A LAKE. And Gov. Murkowski wants fishermen to vote for him? And don't worry about the so-called United Fishermen of Alaska, they don't live in Alaska so can't vote. The AlaskaReport poll shows fishermen don't support him in the least. The few people who chose him in the poll are probably state employees or military.

Back to the point. There is no marquee, of course, just like Congress isn't instructing the Council. The Magnuson-Stevens Act isn't reauthorized yet. What we see happening is that Alaska's U.S. Senator, Ted Stevens, is telling them what to do to help his big money friends in the fishing business, like his big oil friends. And if they don't do what he says, then by golly, they won't get any more bridges to friends and relatives remote properties. (And they called them "bridges to nowhere"!) That doesn't amount to "Congress" Mr. Campbell.

The problem Mr. Campbell has is that he is put in a position to lie to cover up a fraud on the independent Alaska fishermen, and the young men that might want to carry on the fishing tradition. The big frustration stems from the fact that there is no solution to a fraud. There is no way to justify theft. How much more plain can it be? Read up on the privatization of common property natural resources and you'll quickly see that it is just flat wrong. There are other ways to manage fishermen (notice I didn't say fish) without all the unintended conseqences.

Like in, well Mr. Smith, we killed the cancer in your wife, but unfortunately she died. And in the meantime the current Governor has sanctioned all the communities in Coastal Alaska to start this giant squabble over shares of the fish, since that's the direction this administration chose to go. At that rate, you won't be able to get any two mayors or fishermen in the same room. We already saw it happen with the Native villages fighting among themselves. This privatization just leads to a what looks like a pack of hyenas on a carcass on the Saranghetti Plain. No way to BUILD anything enduring.

Fortunately, a cool wind blew, and the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council cooled it's heels on giving away yours and my fish up there until next December. By then Mr. Perk Stevens might have the give-away chiseled in stone in Washington D.C. But the good news is that all the serious candidates for governor, except Tony Knowles, take a dim view of the whole idea. They were all at the Kodiak gubernatorial debate. Which wasn't really a debate, because none of them are all that versed in the intacacies of the Council process and it would have been embarassing for all of them.

On a final note, it has been trumpeted that environmentalists are pleased with the version of the Magnuson-Stevens Act that flew through the Senate on gossamer wings. It barely is an improvement in fish protections, and throws the doors wide open for the theft of fish from the common property, by large Japanese companies in Dutch Harbor and other large nonresident entities. (It could come to a state near you too.) But that's no concern of the environmentalists being referred to, if any.

The ADF&G Commissioner wants people to give him solutions. Fat chance. Been there, done that. What happens is that it gets written up all cockeyed, then when it get's shot down, it's the idea's fault. No, Mr. Campbell we'll just wait to throw you out.