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.