Sunday, June 24, 2007

Monday Headlines 6/25

Dave Benton, executive director of the Marine Conservation Alliance in Juneau, called the action to ban bottom trawling in the Arctic "an important step for the health of Alaska's oceans and the seafood industry." As if this is some great revelation he alone got, or a Quest for the Holy Grail he has accomplished.

The middle of the three dams on the Rogue River in S. Oregon. The upper one now has a toxic bloom of algae. Pray for the king salmon in the river.

It was 28 Native villages and their political allies that convinced the NPFMC to not sic the Seattle and Tokyo fleet on their fish. Ask him if he feels the same about the rest of Alaska and see what he says.

North Pacific Council business (remember this is mostly Sen. Ted Stevens' handiwork) reminds me of a CNN segment today telling about how PBS cancelled airing of a documentary on "Moderate Muslims Against Jiihad." A not very moderate Muslim consultant from Chicago was consulted by PBS and a big thumbs down came from the PBS top brass. What struck me though was the fact that PBS called the documentary "slanted." The producer fairly stated that you don't make a documentary or report on much of anything unless there is an issue you are focusing on. Call it slanted if you want, or call it an issue, but semantics aside, where would we be without investigative journalism following a premise?

You wouldn't have the FBI house cleaning now underway in Alaska without the dedication of the people whose faces you see on the home page of, have been on, and of course the webmaster. Public integrity type law enforcement people love us, but ironically, marine resource law enforcement ignores us.

The law enforcement establishment comes from a military outlook, not a biological one. Deputize the biologists instead and things will change. That comes from the East Coast experience where some environmental watchdogs do pack heat. I'll bet if there was a riot at a North Pacific Council meeting, NMFS law enforcement would just break out the popcorn.

And this leads to an article I read yesterday on how folks are at least taking the National Marine Fisheries Service to task for not doing anything about all the poisons going into salmon spawning streams. I wrote about this last month because the State Troopers seemed to white-wash a fish kill down here in Southern Oregon.

B.C. natives mourn missing eulachon

Shrimp trawling in the inlets around Bella Coola is thought to kill the juvenile eulachon. The Mainers are up in arms over the by-catch by the herring fishermen over there too. Management for production instead of ecosystem health is the problem. Fishing families and many others vote for fish production, not knowing that a healthy ecosystem is their better choice.

Drowning in Plastic
"Increasingly, researchers are peering through their microscopes at the specks in seawater samples and finding minuscule bits of poisonous garbage instead of life-sustaining mini-critters." "In the summer of 1997, while steering his catamaran home from a sailing competition in Hawaii, he ventured into the North Pacific Gyre, a 10-million-square-mile, slow-moving vortex that sailors usually avoid. What he saw there shocked and disgusted him: truck tires, disposable utensils, shopping bags, buoys, toys, a mountain of trash spread across hundreds of miles— the world’s largest garbage dump, circling unceremoniously in the open sea." Who was it that said Alaska doesn't need Ocean Rangers on the cruise ships?

Fisheries Netted In Federal Alaska Probe
"Metcalfe estimates that Stevens has been paid at least $904,000 in fees by fisheries between 2000 and 2005." That's why those 1200 king crab fishermen lost their jobs, they didn't pay Ben Stevens/Ted Stevens. And will the fishermen that are left need to pay someone else, since the structure of fish management is the same? Twice in the last two days I heard quotes that keeping this a Republic is not guaranteed. We need lots more patriotic folks like Ray Metcalfe. Is it that out of vogue to want honesty and integrity from our leaders?

My final comments this week have to do with my son and the rest of "our boys" sweeping through Baghdad today in 110 to 115 degree heat. They are dodging bullets while we all make preparations for a Fourth of July picnic. Last time my son was in Iraq on the Fourth, he was slogging through fields looking for arms caches in 115 degree heat, at night, with a 100 pound pack. I didn't report on it until after the fact. This time let's remember ahead of time who it is that lets us toast our buns in the sun on the 4th with "no worries mate."