Monday, February 26, 2007

Old salmon to stream manager: Leave my people alone!

Here's a lesson for Alaska as it contemplates mixing mining with salmon spawning streams. Even though the Lower 48 version of this scenario has to do with dams across spawning streams, the lesson is the same. Once the offending edifice is in place, it's danged near impossible to remove it. Of course, even more so with a hole in the ground.

This is a picture of fishing from a Planer on the Rogue River. Robin is sending a green transducer down the cord to the planer. The wireless read-out is attached to the rod(fuzzy, darn). The water was 49 degrees, 5 -6 feet deep, and blips were steelies passing under the Planer.

Going by the example of Pacific Power, who wants to just up the electric rates to pay for a more expensive alternative to dam removal, the miners would just charge more for their metals when they have to pay all the Bristol Bay fishermen for ruining the runs of salmon there. Then everybody is happy, except the consumers, and the fishermen's children, and their children, and the bears, and the trout, and the seals, and the plankton in the lakes, etc., etc.

It reminds me of a John Grisham movie I saw last night in which the term "America is at war with itself" was used. I know ethnic groups still clash, but corporate culture and a lot of government culture clashes with everyone else worse than that. I was like the writer of the above-referenced article, I thought the U.S. Dept. of Commerce and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had the weight to get those four Klamath River dams removed like they wanted. I guess Warren Buffet could make sure none of those guys would ever get promoted again. Like the Pacific Seafood Processors Association, the big fish plant operators, does around Alaska.

Here's some good news for a change. A software developer has come up with an electronic logbook for fishermen. After awhile, presumably, it will cough up the best spot to be at any one time. (Wish I could remember the day I ran into those kings in Seymour Canal.)

Speaking of kings, the winter king salmon fishery in S.E. Alaska is going mighty slow, but the ex-vessel prices have gone to a record $9.00 a pound. Other commercial fishing stuff from the Seafood Market Report out of Juneau can be had for only a click here. It's interesting to note that the Japanese portion of the sockeye market has dropped from 80% in 2005 to 36% last year. The American market is really heating up when it comes to seafood. We just don't produce nearly enough of it for our own needs, importing 80% of what we need.

Now, you'd think that Alaska would really have it's act together in regards to blockades on salmon streams. Guess again. Culverts, those large corrugated aluminum pipes under road beds to channel a creek through, are blocking who knows how many salmon runs. They seem like a good idea when putting in a road, but before long the water coming out the downhill end digs a hole. Then pretty soon the end of the culvert is above the pool and the salmon don't know to jump up into the culvert. A nifty example of this is the culvert across the road and railroad tracks from the Potter's Marsh bird viewing area in Anchorage. The engineers had their shot, inventors should be tapped now.

Since I'm on the subject of blinding paradigms, I'll throw out a few choice quotes for the grey matter to conjutate on. This one I got out of the middle of a book on dental amalgam years ago. "When a mass spectrometer was used to quantify the amount of mercury vapor in a person's mouth, it was found to be many times higher than that allowed by OSHA in a factory environment."

I was a junior manager of a plant when an FDA guy was asking where we sent the big halibut that had so much mercury in them, like he was going to go shut them down or something. You probably couldn't get enough mercury out of the whole annual halibut catch in the North Pacific to make one good tooth filling: half mercury, half silver, right? Why doesn't someone figure that one out before any more "scares" happen.

And while I'm on a roll, check out this note on global warming from a reader:
"Want to watch a carefully constructed propaganda piece? See Al Gore's INCONVENIENT TRUTH and watch not only the movie, but especially pay attention to the producer's/director's special feature, where they tell you how Al did manipulate the audience. It is amazing to see Gore stay straight faced right in front of a graph that shows what his opposing hoax-revealing scientists have said, that the facts show that CO2 during warming lags temperature rise by 800 years or so, and then when temperature declines, the CO2 takes about 2-3,000 years to pattern its way down... so, CO2 results from Temp changes, if anything, NOT causes temperature rises or drops. 600,000 years plus of verification, and Gore will stand right there and say something else entirely. Amazing.
And he shows shots of Mt. Kilamanjaro - where summit temperatures have stayed steady! (he doesn't mention it) - and attributes melt off there to man-caused global warming. It is result of local ag deforestation etc. on a localized scale. Same as Lake Chad drying up - result of ag use etc. not global warming.
We need Gore however, he could really put the crazy on a (North Pacific Fisheries Management)Council meeting floor... he can bring the mosquitoes that he forgets do live in cold climates too.
Or some swimming polar bears. Geez Louise!"

When I was working on a fish farm in Israel, there was a national effort to plant pine trees like mad, to lower the mean temperature of the country by a few degrees. When the Turks owned the place, they taxed the locals by the number of trees on their property, so you can imagine what happened to all the trees.

And a couple of recent warming quotes I read and heard: "There was as much greenhouse gas released from Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines, in that last eruption, to equal all the greenhouse gas generated by mankind since Day One." And, "Mt. St. Helens releases as much carbon dioxide in 90 minutes as the whole U.S. does in a day."

The point is, don't let science become a idea popularity contest if you can help it. "Go home and Google it." That was the advice given my wife at a seminar over the weekend on Whole Foods when she asked about Splenda. That is, after the lecturer got over her shock of someone actually using the stuff. Another note on that lecture, "wild" salmon was the example of a protein food that is "whole,'" that is, without more than five ingredients, and none being ones you can't pronounce. That leaves out farmed salmon. "You are what you eat" goes for fish too. On behalf of wild salmon, you certainly can pronounce "plankton," "krill," and "herring" in the ingredient list.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Alaska fish wars come to Portland

These meetings, to divvy up the fish in the North Pacific, seem to be in places that Alaska fishermen can't get to easily. They should stop the pretense and just have them in the Bahamas. The Council members are mostly lobbyists and their bosses can certainly afford to send them anywhere.

Keep an eye on this emerging pillar of integrity in the North Pacific fishing business - Shawn Dochtermann

It's pretty hard for the uninitiated to keep up with the blow-by-blow of Council business, and it's been some years since I frequented these meetings. It's easy to pick up on real obvious low blows however. Like some crab ratz lobbyist holding up four fingers to imply that that was how many discontented crews there were when the crab were given to the investors. One of the most impressive mix and match statistics shufflings I've seen.

The Governor of Alaska and the Institute for Social and Economic Research must surely be mistaken by saying 1350 crew lost their jobs. The job losses in the communities go far beyond that of course. A fleet owner from Kodiak testified that the number is conservatively well above 900 lost crew jobs. The Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference highlighted these ambiguities and their effects on fisheries policy making recently on their website.

And we all heard the crab guy say that crewmen were losers for not wanting to go back and risk their lives again for pennies on their previous dollars. The question was put before the Council as to what they are going to do about such obvious perjurious testimony. People that sign up to testify swear to tell the truth. Was that snoring I heard from NOAA Counsel? I don't know if this kind of thing opens the Council up to further threat of lawsuit or not.

And I heard that "Pacific cod HAVE to be caught by trawls when they school up." Another lobbyist saying that his trawler bosses want to convince everyone that they hold the Holy Grail of fishing methods. In actuality, this would be a devastating management tool, as the brood stock would be hammered. It is possible to catch all the cod with pots selectively at other times of year, AND to prevent massive by-catch of other species. After all, two big Japanese financed pot boats cleaned up almost all the Gulf black-cod quota one winter by themselves, in a very short time. You just can't make up this stuff.

In more of a show-and-tell vein, here's Shawn's testimony.

North Pacific Fishery Management Council

180th Plenary Session – February 5-13, 2007

Public Comment re: D-2 BSAI Crab

By: Mr. Shawn C. Dochtermann, Kodiak, Alaska 99615, Tel: (907)486-5749

Mr. Secretary, Madame Chair, Council members, and Honorable United States Citizens,

My name is Shawn Dochtermann. I am here representing the Fish Heads; an organization representing fishermen, their families and coastal communities. We’re here to address multiple concerns about Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands crab rationalization.

  1. The question of whether the NPFMC had the authority to create a program as specified by the Congressional record.
  2. Whether the proper economic analysis of the impacts of all the options on communities, processors and fishing fleets were done in a timely manner.
  3. The claims of improved economic conditions for all sectors of the industry.
  4. The claims that the council designed a program that was fair and equitable, and that would protect the interests of all those that depend on the BSAI crab fisheries.

The Congressional Record dated December 15, 2000 Pages H12276-79

SEC. 144 (a) The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et. seq.) as ammended--

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council shall examine the fisheries under its jurisdiction, particularly the Gulf of Alaska groundfish and the Bering Sea crab fisheries, to determine whether rationalization is needed. In particular, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council shall analyze individual fishing quotas, processor quotas, cooperatives, and quotas held by communities. The analysis should include an economic analysis of the impact of all options on communities and processo rs as well as the fishing fleets. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council shall present all its analysis to the appropriations and authorizing committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives in a timely manner.

The council was asked to determine whether rationalization was needed for the Bering Sea crab fishery. They were then asked to analyze IFQs, PQs, Co-ops, and quota held by communities. Then the council was mandated to present all its analysis to the authorizing committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives.

  1. There was no mention of the Aleutian Island crab fishery.
  2. There was no mention that the council had authorization to submit only a preferred alternative.
  3. It was clear that the mandate was to present all the analysis on BS crab rationalization, which never did occur.

I’m going to quote from a letter written to congress from the chairman, Dave Benton, of the NPFMC, as of August 5, 2002.

“The council recently completed an analysis of rationalization alternatives for the BSAI crab fisheries as requested by Congress.”

The final EISs were not available until late 2004. This was not in accordance with the mandate of which the Congress requested.

“Rationalization will improve economic conditions substantially, for all sectors of the crab industry.”

“Allocations of harvest shares would be made to harvesters, communities, and captains.”

Next I will refer to the Minority Report of the Advisory Panel, dated June 2002 Dutch Harbor, Alaska. The multi-sector effort was undertaken to provide a viable alternative to the two-pie proposal. The motion offered was flatly rejected by the processing sector.

"The minority feels the IPQs will:

  • Un-necessarily complicate management of the crab fishery
  • Create a highly segmented market, negatively impacting competition and prices
  • Contribute nothing to achieve resource conservation goals
  • Artificially allocate market shares
  • Turn fishermen into a commodity, extinguishing market freedom
  • Constitute economic protections rather than rationalization
  • Accelerate irreversible consolidation
  • Undermine the ability of Kodiak and other communities to benefit from rationalization
  • Allocate public fishery resource control to the foreign corporations"

Here the council had a minority report that predicted all the ills of crab ratz, and now the ugly head of the beast has arisen . We’re sitting in this room today with vessels that can’t go out and prosecute the Opilio fishery or even make a delivery until March and probably April. This council, the Department of Commerce, Ted Stevens, and the Congress are all responsible for halting the natural progression of commerce in the Bering Sea crab fisheries.

You have allowed the very basic properties of the problem statement to be broken. Trident, Unisea, Icicle and Snopac have been given special rights to not process in the Northern region and this violently goes against the community protections that this program was first based on.

The city of King Cove has been devastated by the onslaught of crab rationalization. The new boat harbor that was built is almost empty year round. The pot hauling business has 6 or 7 boats now, versus 60-70 boats, to haul gear for. The stores have lost about 90% of their crab food orders and crew gear buying sprees. Where were their protections?

In just two years we’ve seen a dramatic decline in prices of king and opilio crab. Binding arbitration is like negotiating over a cow after the product has been processed through the sewer plant. IPQs have given the processors the overall control of the price making mechanism. There is no comparable uncontrollable price as the crab market is controlled by a cartel that you have created. IPQs violate antitrust laws of this country. The Council, of their own volition, can change the extreme distress to the industry. I would appreciate it if all of you would move to make a motion to remove IPQs from crab rationalization forthwith, to let the free market operate as it has since this country gained its independence.

The fishermen, the actual harvesters, were given nothing, I will repeat, nothing, for our life- risking services. Without crew, not one single crab would have been hauled aboard, sorted for legal size, put in the holding tanks, and brought to the dock and unloaded. We work in some of the most adverse conditions in the world and all this council came up was “it was too hard to figure out who the crews were,” as spoken by Dr. Earl Kreiger. There are such things as crew contracts, vessel logs, and 1099s that the boat owners retain, so I beg to differ. The most interesting fact that will need to be dealt with in the very near future is that there is no definition for “fishermen” in the MSA. But the council decided to allocate quota without a definition.

Well, I’ll tell you what a fisherman is: a person that puts on his boots, goes down to the dock, prepares his boat and gear, and actually goes to the fishing grounds and prosecutes a fishery, then returns to port and delivers his catch. This council gave all the fishing rights to investors, not to the true harvesters, except the pittance of 3% of allocations to the skippers/captains.

I will repeat, as I have previously spoke to this council, that they have disregarded Sec. 600 .325, National Standard #4, Allocation. "If it becomes necessary to allocate or assign fishing privileges among various U.S fishermen, such allocations shall be:"

"(1) Fair and and equitable to all such fishermen"

"(2) Reasonably calculated to promote conservation"

"(3) Carried out in such a manner that no particular individual, corporation, or other entity acquire an excessive share of such privileges"

The crab allocations were not fair and equitably distributed to the crewmen and if this council will not make provisions in the future for crewmen allocations we will have no other choice but to seek judicial review.

A letter of update to the Congress from the NPFMC, April 2003: Additional Provisions

“A program that would allocate a portion of each fishery for the exclusive use of captains and crew”

So where is it? The so-called program for crew to purchase quota is devoid, as there is no money appropriated for the program. Why should the crewmen that worked for 5, 10, or even 20 years, such as myself, have to purchase the public resource that was given to investor/boat owners. For the 3 year review, we expect this council to initiate a motion for a discussion paper from the staff on the redistribution of crab quotas to crews, with a guild system built in, so that there is a viable future for crab fishermen, AKA Crewmen.

I would appreciate it if this council would take careful consideration of my comments. Many professional crewmen did exist before crab rationalization and are now out of work and would like to participate in the Bering Sea crab fishery. They will not work for peanuts, which is how the majority of the vessels/co-ops are paying, because of the intolerable lease fees as the result of crab rationalization.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mariculture vs ADF&G

Even though this mariculturist's testimony to the Alaska Legislature exudes pure frustration with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in the past, I see a real champion of doing things the right way in ADF&G now. And the better news is that he is the newly minted Commissioner of ADF&G.

Alaska is so diverse that it makes sense for there to be a system for fishermen to work closer with state biologists.

I saw him in action this weekend in Portland at the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council meetings. He made a series of motions, that were passed, that you couldn't refute the logic of, which saved the Council from shooting many fishermen in the OTHER foot too. But more on that later.

It is my hope too that the ADF&G will see the wisdom in working hand in hand with fishermen to manage and develop fisheries. Oregon fishermen take state biologists out on their boats to get information. Alaska could save a ton of money by just admitting fishermen know where the fish are, and a lot of other marine related things, better than desk jockeys. The old "We're from the government, and we're here to help you" mentality dies hard it seems. In the federal fisheries it's all different, but we're talking about near-shore stuff today. Following is the testimony of a life-long Alaskan fisherman who seriously wants to work WITH the ADF&G. I guarantee he isn't the enemy for wanting to see Alaska develop.


Seward, Alaska

Honorable Members of House Fisheries Committee

Regarding Testimony on HB 26

David J. Otness, Shellfish farmer

Dear Members through the Chair,

To those of you in particular who have not had extensive exposure to the politics inherent to mariculture, allow me to state as one with years of frustration under his belt, ADF&G has not been a good partner in encouraging the growth we have attempted to secure in this wonderfully promising industry. In fact this extends into other sectors of ComFish as I will demonstrate. This is and has been a state-wide problem for many years and hope-fully one we can finally address under this new administration. We will be watching closely as the new Commissioner makes his personal stamp evident.

My background in all of this represents 3 generations of commercial fishermen originally out of Petersburg. My grandfather fished out in the Gulf of Alaska in January in a 46 ft wooden boat as far back as 1917. They delivered fish into Seldovia and Prince Rupert, B.C.; Anchorage was hardly more than a tent town. There were no radars, radios, depth sounders or any means of rescue if things went bad. A good compass and good sea sense was what you had in your deck. I would not be writing if it were otherwise.

I first went to sea with my father at the age of five. This was salmon seining in the Territorial days of fish traps, I was working in the power skiff by the time I was 7 and running it by myself at the age of 9. That was also my first season commercial longlining. We used to pull the seine in by hand with what was called a turn table which was mounted on the stern with a center pivot pin, the roller on the outboard toward the seine as we hauled it in. It was a time of big arms.

Coastal Alaska in the 1950’s was characterized by hard times and pulling together.

Between the fish traps taking the majority of salmon and Japanese and Russian trawlers scooping up halibut nearly on our front porch we truly were left with subsistence as a major means of getting by. The winters were exceptionally cold and often the deer meat we had to eat was blue because the animals were starving. I remember my father getting 18 in 1day, feeding a lot of people in Petersburg. Clams were an important component to our diet as well, in many forms unimaginable today.Clam hotcakes for breakfast,anyone ?

I learned our beaches early.

When I was 11 my father’s boat, the Teddy J, was lost with all hands [5] off Prince Rupert. According to cousin Captain Richard Hofstad, one of the first skippers on the State Ferry System, she probably struck Alexandra Reef. This was my grandfather’s boat and eventually would have been mine. I was almost aboard that trip but had school. This event left my mother with 6 mouths to feed in April of 1962. Dad had just cashed in an insurance policy worth $70,000 for boat improvements. Bad timing.

I spent my first winter in the bush in 1968-69 at the age of 17. My trapping partner was Mike Potts, 18, just out of high school in Minnesota. We considered ourselves mountain men and I guess we were as no one once came to check on us in 4 months. We ended up eating 11 deer that winter and probably 75 lbs of Gravy Train dog food. It was one of the coldest winters on record and our clam shovels and smelt net were useless in the thick shore ice and no airplane could land to pick us up even if they had tried They didn’t try and so we spent an extra month waiting for the ice to go out. My partner’s Brittany spaniel didn’t know some of the thoughts extreme hunger will manifest regarding mans’ best friend becoming mans’ best meal. We had incipient scurvy when finally picked up.

The reason for this extended forward is to acquaint the reader with what I consider my extensive personal background in Alaska’s natural resources and partaking of them from Southeast to the Arctic and Aleutian Islands, all the way to their territorial terminus at Attu Island. FYI Attu is 7000 miles due north of the center of New Zealand. As a matter of fact, I’ve taken abalone in S.E., cockles 6 inches across on Unalaska Island, dug 5gallons of butter clams from 2 cubic feet of beach soil at Chernofski Harbor, taken Horse clams in excess of 4lbs [ea] in Kuiukta Bay on the Alaska Peninsula [shells as big as dinner plates]. I’ve dug on razor clam beaches where a shovel is not required, simply grabbing them [carefully] by their extended necks. I’ve seen miles of wave rowed razors on the beaches of Unimak Bight, brown bears feeding on them every 50 feet, after a big southeaster rolled them up ashore.

Port Moller, Herendeen Bay, Cinder River, Egegik. Togiak, Orca Inlet, Kayak Island Yakutat, Seymour Canal, Taku Harbor, China Poot,[the old-timers pronounced it “pot”], Constantine Harbor[s] Shelikoff Bay, Russian Harbor, Elrington Passage, Kamishak Bay, Silver Salmon Creek, Kukak Bay, Chignik, Aniakchak Bay. You get the picture. In the course of my 56 years in Alaska I have sailed virtually every navigable waterway all the way to Prudhoe Bay and whenever and wherever possible have gone ashore, whether hunting, fishing, but most of all, beachcombing. I have made it my business to be aware of food sources wherever I might eventually find myself shipwrecked. I make a point of looking for good anchorages and trying them out under good weather conditions. One outstanding feature of most of these diverse places is the commonality of bivalve species across this broad geographical range.

Regarding HB 26, I feel there is over-blown concern regarding species crossing boundary lines we have drawn when we attempt to determine why a certain area hasn’t supported a given species. And yet several miles, several hundred or one adjacent beach away there may have been spat deposition which took and did fine. There are so many variables as to how the spawning, travel, maturation {or not}, deposition of gametes{or not}, ever occurs in a given area.

The same thing is true in terms of survival of the adult animal. Was there a specific predator responsible for a beach being cleared; a series of predators, infestations, temperature variations, high or low? Excessive silt deposition, not enough nutrients, tsunami or storm damage, oil spills, earthquakes. Even beyond the “64”quake and the “89” spill there have been great numbers of undocumented temblors as well as shipwrecks going back to WW II.

An earthquake that doesn’t make headlines or even merits notice to the average Joe is big news indeed to ocean denizens if near the epicenter. The mud that covers shelving rock in the Gulf of Alaska can be several feet thick, providing favored and excellent habitat for Tanner crab. One earthquake can bare that shelf of mud and these are no longer productive grounds, let alone the mortality from the mudslide. I have observed this fishing crab. Ocean currents and gyres could easily be why areas are skipped over, populated or not. This does not rule out random deposition naturally.

There are so many variables to a species’ ability to adapt and thrive, but not necessarily ones precluding the feasibility being transplanted without harming a species which did manage to thrive before, during and/or after an ecosystem changing event. I have seen so many areas where these bivalve species co-exist, and with proper disease prevention protocols I sincerely believe geoduck transplantation will prove to be “much ado about nothing”.

The ocean is an ongoing/undergoing dynamic and we bear witness to it, particularly now with our increasing awareness of apparent climate change, and by being out on site shellfish growers are the sentinels of change, we know what is new, we observe everyday on the farm. Therein lies another issue, being charged excessively for PSP tests while providing the state with information for the public good. More on that to an appropriate committee.

Testimony such as Willie Dunn’s of Kachemak Bay Conservation Society [ or whatever the incarnation/acronym] reflects obstructionism masking as valid concern, one more permutation of “The sky is falling”. Honorable ladies and gentlemen of the Committee, the sky has always been falling and God willing, we will continue to survive it. The contemporary theme seems to be we must fear “fear itself.”

I maintain we should act with reason, courage and alacrity towards opportunity rather than falling prey to the notion that HB26 will some how undermine the foundations of life on earth. The opposite seems to be recurring throughout our society---- as a measure of what we allow ourselves to do as humans-------- just because we obviously have acted heedlessly in the past. Blatant past mistakes should not be allowed to tether us to that past. Alaska’s uncertain economy and unpredictable budget are crying out for a positive sign, particularly in the coastal economy. We have been striving to be heard for nearly two decades and unless we move ahead reasonably as well as prudently, the State of Alaska will have killed off an industry of world wide significance.

There is both humor and despair involved our shellfish growers’ community self - description as the “Gray Oyster Cult” and most of our bane originates from ADF&G. Some of this is personality, some is regulatory, it all adds up to a defensiveness of authority manifested as offensiveness from the Department, i.e. “the Culture”.

Of course there are good people in the system but I will reiterate: many of us will be watching the new Commissioner for expected change, particularly after finding the Joint Board procedure lacking in forwarding names to the Governor. I have observed and tried to work with the Department over the years in many different areas and fisheries with mixed success. The largest single ongoing problem is their refusal to work co-operatively with fishermen in data gathering, anecdotal information, and by extension, discounting valid information, even to the point of ignoring information provided by a Tech authorized to gather data on a commercial vessel.

This attitude is rampant throughout Alaska in crab statistical areas [Prince William Sound, Southeast and the Dutch Harbor small boat fishery to name a few] and unless there are recent changes it probably still prevails. Many of us have offered our boats and gear for free to the Department for survey work and as a rule it does not happen. There are fisheries that could be providing income to coastal communities but for ADF&G’s insistence on using Dept vessels which invariably come with the caveat “we don’t have enough funding to survey”. Many of us fishermen who know the grounds have seen time and again they don’t have the innate knowledge one gets from spending a lifetime on those waters.

Most recently the humpback whale killed in an ADF&G herring seine in Sawmill Bay provides a clue as to who should be doing survey work.. Another recent, most egregious case, involved the S.E. king crab fishery where the Dept vessel found CPUE’s of approximately 4 legal crab per pot. A separate vessel skippered by a professional crab fisherman documented approximately 40 legal crab per pot. The biologist in charge refused the documented information of the second vessel, refused to open the season, and by that act cost the town of Petersburg nearly $ 1,000,000 dollars to its November economy. She got moved sideways in the Dept. instead of out}.

These actions ripple across Alaska in towns like Cordova, Seward, Homer, Ketchikan and out to the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak. Not all the time, but often enough to form a pattern of the “Culture”. We of the Gray Oyster Cult have been hammered by these guys even worse as we don’t have the economic clout nor stature enough to try to change this on our own----- except when the Legislature steps up to the plate as Representative Seaton is doing with this bill.

Members of the Committee, I implore you to take an honest look at what’s at stake here. I urge you to look at The McDowell Report on Alaska Seafood Economic Strategies [ Dec 2006], and also the NOAA Ten Year Aquaculture plan, also from last year. This industry is the future of Alaska’s fisheries. Please pass this bill. Thank you.