Monday, July 09, 2007

Monday Fisheries Headlines 7/9

The fight for the Klamath River king salmon is symptomatic of the public's attempt to re-establish the concept of "common" ownership, as in "We the People....." The West has switched from hired guns to hired lawyers, so it boils down to who has the best lawyers. If Warren Buffet's lawyers win, the third largest salmon run in the West dies out. If the people win, the salmon live. Simple math.

My "beach count" on St. Paul Island, albeit in the winter, was floating processors - 1, fur seals - 0.

This statement is a sad testimony to the state of U.S. commercial fisheries management: "Consumer groups say its worth paying more for seafood that says "from Alaska" or "farm raised in USA." Or shop a local seafood merchant who personally can vouch for his fish’s origin." This is really saying that there are no more good quantities of wild fish anywhere in U.S. waters except Alaska, Canada included. The U.S. West Coast and British Columbia used to have mass quantities of salmon, much more than Alaska. There used to be lots of other species too, that you could catch in abundance. The runs are so depleted now they are not worth mentioning by food experts. And the NEW version of the federal fishing regulations is STILL production oriented.

Watch for this reporter in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Think about this comment by Sen. Ted Stevens about the salmon runs in Alaska: “without these projects, the salmon population in Alaska runs the risk of depletion.”
Since the Magnuson-Stevens Act won't stop the overfishing of salmon by the trawl fleets, Sen. Stevens helped increase restoration funding. Looks good on paper, but increasing the cash flow of bureaucrats isn't what the Latgawa Indians were looking for. "...includes $90 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund. That’s up from the $66 million provided in the current fiscal year to the National Marine Fisheries Service for salmon protection and conservation efforts."

Greenpeace tours Alaska on mission to protect marine resources
Greenpeace has determined to prove bottom trawling's harm to the food chain's ability to sustain itself. (Thank goodness somebody finally has.) They have a manned submersible to go down in the great canyons of the Bering Sea to bring up evidence of the damage to the ecology of the bottom. A key premise in the need for conservation zones around coastal communities. Right now commercial fishermen can fish right up to the docks in most of Alaska, leaving little for personal use by man or mammal.

Here's a letter by a coastal resident on the effects of trawling around his community, and the disregard given it by federal scientists, and of course the U.S. public who don't even know they own a large herd of pelagic seals. And the regulators counting on it.
"John, Yes, I tried the argument of female northern fur seals from here having to
travel away from their pups for 7-14 days in search of food for milk production.
Many don't return and many pups starve, interestingly Bogoslov Island near Dutch now
has a booming population of NFS and the average time away from a pup is only 3 days
and no trawling occurs there but you couldn't make some of these fishery regulators
understand the correlation."

"I just heard from a FWS(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) person that Kittiwakes
nesting on St. Paul have crashed. Murres are also doing horrible as they are doing
on both isles, I could go on forever here but you get the point. I like the heritage
zone concept George has proposed thru Greenpeace and support it, I hope it flies."

More salmon slaughter news:
  • A salmon tender passing Uyak Bay yesterday noticed a trawler(s) in there where they were told to keep out since it is loaded with salmon and they already wiped out the snow crab there.
  • Another report of a trawler bringing up a cod end half full of (dead)salmon.
  • The Oregon trollers routinely ask the bottom trawlers how their by-catch of king salmon is in the spring to judge the run strength.
  • Barrels of salted salmon fillets seen on a major processing plant dock in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor being readied for the owner's private stock.
  • Environmental groups rally 'round dam removal, but ignore that without stopping by-catch of salmon, any larger runs will just mean more king salmon to intercept.
  • Here's a generic article on the extent of by-catch all over. The feds guard the salmon by-catch numbers at Fort Knox I think.