Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday Headlines 6/18

UVic makes ocean history off Vancouver

"The first phase of the most challenging ocean observatory installation ever attempted was completed early last month in the Strait of Georgia near Vancouver." $10 million is an unusually large amount of money to put a bunch of sensors and video gear on the bottom of the ocean to take a look around. But it's an indication of how much information they will gather, how little everyone else knows about ocean ecology, and how well the public will be included in the process.

Present day main street, Pelican, Alaska. We have lots of pictures of people and activities on this street, from 57 years ago. We moved to Petersburg in '51 and I got a whole bunch of board streets to play on, including the main street.

Grand jury probes Alaska senator's ties to oil-field contractor

A fight about fish farms
National Fisheries Institute, a Washington-based trade association, is all for fish farms in the ocean off the U.S. coastline. They are the businesses that would have the money and infrastructure to take advantage of the opportunity, and they are already joined at the hip with NOAA, the licensing agency. If you like how NFI members and NOAA have run the Regional Fisheries Management Councils, you'll like how they will farm fish. Good hyper-links in this article.

New processors springing up like mushrooms in Alaska
The resurgence of shoreside fisheries entrepreneurship seems to be concentrated in Southeast Alaska, except for Copper River Seafood new operation in Anchorage. I wondered why the Panhandle's Regional Seafood Development Association floundered. This is enough excitement for the moment.

There's also a darn good sized floating processor out under the radar somewhere, purchased by seven highline fishermen, the organizer being from Petersburg. I remember discussing the possibilities of a floater in S.E. with him while studying at the Oregon State University Library around 1970. He finally realized his dream. Only goes to show perseverence furthers.
Petersburg Cold Storage.
Wrangell Seafoods
The old Sitka pulp mill rises as a cold storage
Floating fish by-products processor
Juneau's Alaska Glacier Seafoods expansions

Lobbyists and more lobbyists
This is the official list from the State of Alaska. It's all neatly organized into columns. The whole data-base amounts to a "fifth column" I guess. But you sure can get ahold of someone with this list that's interested in the same things you are.

Environmentalists and villages unite to stop bottom trawling in Arctic waters
With cod and crab spreading(or moving) north out of the Bering Sea, trawlers were eying fishing grounds farther north. This was nipped in the bud when twenty odd villages signed a resolution and gave it to the NPFMC meeting in Sitka recently. They cited the ecological destruction it would cause, to jeopardize their livelihoods. So, what about the livelihoods of all the other Alaskans living adjacent to where bottom trawling goes on?

12 Page written testimony before Congress of Gordon Kruse of UAF on Effects of Climate Change, etc., on Marine Resources.
Gordon lists all the species in Alaska that have had problems recently after heavy fishing effort, but points to unknown climate related variables. Newer unknowns compound the old ones which are compounded further by the unknown effects of bottom trawling(Next to zip observer coverage on trawlers in the Gulf of Alaska, etc.)

Remember how fast numbers grow from Probability 101 class? Pushing for more bottom trawling in the GOA is going in the wrong direction, if understanding the marine environment is any goal at all. So much for the greatly hyped finesse of the North Pacific Council/company lobbyists.

Oceans: A new frontier in planning
"Determining what can and cannot happen in state-controlled waters is too important to leave to a case-by-case permit review." "The act would create two advisory groups: a 16-member ocean management commission composed of legislators and representatives of state agencies and the fishing industry, and a nine-member scientific advisory council." "With their guidance, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs would craft an ocean management plan laying out a guide to future placement of commercial operations — things like sand and gravel mining, dumping of dredged material, aquaculture, liquefied natural gas terminals, and, yes, wind turbines."

"There's no room for small fishing entrepreneurs in Alaska"

"This Wal-Mart model of shipping our processing industry overseas may provide profits to the out-of-state-owned large processors in the short term, but ultimately will put China in charge of our state's salmon-processing industry -- and is that a place we want to go?" I've been saying this for two years in my articles. The anti-trust violations and product laundering has been documented for longer than that. Government at all levels knows about it, that's why marine resources folks from Maine to Depoe Bay Oregon are forming new mechanisms to utilize ocean services(the new buzz-word for fish).

This week it's a "town review": Pelican, AK
I bumped into the Wikipedia rundown on Pelican yesterday, so was checking my recollections against the unknown "contributor's." I lived in Pelican for the first two years of my life, but had to visit it in my troller to get the picture. I remember when delivering my troll catch, Bosco Max took my fish ticket into the office about the time I started looking at trolling spoons in the adjacent store. I heard this loud, "JOHN ENGE!" come from the back office. Seems that both Bosco and the bookkeeper had worked for my father of the same name for the few years he ran the plant around 1950. And of course Rose made me stand on the pool table at Rose's Bar and sign my name on the ceiling. I think this was in 1981.

I remember hearing Charley Raatikainen's name mentioned frequently in our house. Wikipedia made clear why he sticks out in my mind, he founded the cold storage, the whole reason for being of the town. And I remember hearing the name Larry Freeburn associated with Sitka and this area, but didn't know he put canning equipment in the cold storage one year. (I worked on a tender in Naknek in 1970 when Larry was running the Whitney-Fidalgo cannery there. I left my Mustang GT at his house in Seattle that summer.)

The good stories won't ever show up on Wikipedia though. Like the time one bar patron showed up one stormy night without his partner, and the rest of the patrons got worried about him. "Don't worry, they were told, when he fell off the street drunk I went down to the beach and tied his leg to a piling." (The lone street is on pilings and the tide comes up under it. This was also a source of continual consternation to my mother who had a growing number of small boys who liked playing on this street.)