Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday Headlines - 6/11

Adopt-a-Stream Program
What do you know, there really is such a program, and it's alive and well here in Oregon. Well it figures. They have thousands of miles of dead salmon streams they feel a little guilty about. I'd thought for awhile that a program like this would be good for Alaska, to keep what it has of it's salmon spawning streams. Many of them are more degraded than you might think, mostly just overfished.

Someone would be a hero if they would restore this stream in the Medford, OR city park. This dam and rubble serve no other purpose than to block entry to baby king salmon condos; little hide-outs and feeding areas all along a natural stream.

In Alaska it's not a matter of dam and litter removal, but game-hog removal. Not that you want to start issuing side-arms to Boy Scouts, but they could do a lot and learn a lot, judging by(much of) Oregon's program. And if the Boy Scouts don't want to do it, then the Girl Scouts might, or the Jaycees, or the Kiwanis, or nerdy Harold down the street with the weatherproof web-cam. The spawning streams are going to be won back one at a time, with hip-boots.

Overfished tale
"While most everyone agrees in principle to sustainable fishing, it's never pretty in practice." and, "A federal court in Houston recently ruled that the current management plan for red snapper is in violation." I'll bet they have been assigning the same importance to a pound of baby snapper caught in a shrimp trawl as a pound of adult snapper, if they even count them. The same way they count baby halibut caught in cod trawls in the North Pacific; not at all.

International panel eyeing dogshark
Alaska bays and inlets are being overrun with spiny dogfish shark, as Alaskans call them. Europe is looking at listing theirs as endangered and the East Coast fishermen are getting a limited crack at theirs. As for the abundance in Alaska and the shortage in Europe, n'er the twain shall meet it seems. Someone in the Netherlands should just fly to Soldotna, AK June 13 and 14 and make a deal with Alaska's Governor at Global Food Alaska for some of the dogfish shark in her domain. (Also check out the Achievement Award nominees.)

US supports NZ-sponsored fishing proposal
"American politicians are now united in their support of a proposal in which NZ was a leading architect, which seeks to impose an international ban on harmful fishing subsidies." Congress has recently gotten behind banning "destructive fishing practices" on the high seas too. We look forward to the day when Congress and the public holds the Regional Fishery Management Councils to the same standard.

Launch of Aquaculture New Zealand
This speech by the Prime Minister is a classic. If anyone anywhere wants to launch aquaculture, drag out this speech. They have great opportunities in aquaculture, and those are about all the opportunities they have in seafood.

Book review of the week
From his Merchant Marine marine days during WWII, to gillnetting for those high priced reds on the Copper River, Stanley Samuelson says he's "Been everywhere except the electric chair." The bulk of his life has been spent in Alaska and he literally was on the ground floor of some things, like digging permafrost with a pick on the North Slope for exploratory drilling rigs. Most of the work he did was in a survival situation, even the routine of working for the Alaska Railroad, at 50 below zero. He helped rebuild after the '64 earthquake, and cleaned up oil after the Exxon spill, that is, until he got sick of seeing all the malfeasance.

Other people have stories like this of course. I even remember strictly board streets in Petersburg, Alaska. But "Sam" Samuelson took the time to write it all down. And amazingly, he has pictures from even his teen years as a Merchant Mariner. At 80 years of age now, "Sam" has mellowed and offers gold nuggets of wisdom throughout. I know four boys, mine, that are going to get a chance to read this book. It's 35o pages of raw Alaska-style fighting for a living in a frontier where they are just now getting around to the justice part.

I'd like to say more about his book, but this column gets long as it is. I was sold on "Sam" as a man when his comment on my column was, "Why, it's about fourty fathoms long." I identify with that "would rather be doing it than watching it" attitude. It took guys like Sam to "git 'er done" in the pioneering period of Alaska he lived in, so he needs to make no apologies for the way he writes. Again, he "got 'er done." Give Sam a holler at his e-mail address for a copy. It was first published in 2006 by Bergit Publishing Company, Inc.