Friday, November 30, 2007

December Fisheries Memo

Aquaculture strategizing by European Union
They feel that they hatch the technology and other countries benefit from it mostly. (They forget that it was Dr. Donaldson of the University of Washington who jump-started salmonid farming to begin with back in the 1960's.)

This plant in Petersburg, AK(center) was my "base of operations" from 1966 through 1978. It was also where I hung up a lot of my game, repaired my skiffs, and learned to fish for "dollies" and hunt crows.

DNA "Fin-printing" project for salmon launched
This project could show what commercial salmon fishermen or Indians are getting short-changed by the trawlers salmon by-catch.
The result (of Federal fisheries management) is "the piracy of the 21st century. Grab what you can and take off." Remember, Federal Fishery Management Council members can just ignore the scientists and vote depending on which side of the bed they woke up on. Other wild cards: they use non-fishermen to find and count fish, (the Dept. of Agriculture doesn't use fishermen to count trees.) they don't take into account that fish migrate, and they don't take into account long cycle water temperature changes.

The New Bedford Business Alliance announces a call to the industry to have Congress hold hearings on the National Marine Fisheries Service.
(This site contains an on-line petition as of Dec. 1)
A petition had been gaining serious traction Back East, then the head of NMFS resigned. Rats jumping off the ship? Just think how much bigger the longline, gillnet and troll fleets in the Pacific would be if trawl by-catch were eliminated and the estimated 6,000,000 pounds of king salmon and the extra 100,000,000 pounds of halibut showed up at the docks every year.

These are the numbers that Sen. Ted Stevens and his symbiotic NMFS have been holding back from the City Managers and Mayors in Alaska. And in the face of pollock and Pacific cod stocks declining in Alaska, this may be a lot of communities' and fishermen's last chance to call for transparency, and SANITY. Maybe the root problem is that NMFS burns up their budget on mundane and arcane details and doesn't have the funds (or will) to tackle the big problems.

If the "owners of government" want to speak up in a petition, it's going to be hard for Congress to tell them to get lost like Sen. Ted Stevens does when the average fishing delegation flys back to D.C. to see him.

Industry Market Research Report (Australia) is what we need for Congress to understand the fishing business. And make them read it, not like Hillary does.
I don't think Alaska's ports really bought into the "God bless us and nobody else" platform of "rationalization." Government leaders just got hoodwinked into it by some folks pretending to represent the industry. We now know that it shrinks the industry and causes divisions in the communities. As an example, some fishermen leaders in Alaska are promoting a smaller salmon seine fleet because they only get 35 cents a pound for chum salmon there, then sneak off and seine for them in Puget Sound, WA for 85 cents a pound with no explanation!

Here's a telling letter on how special interests and your average fish manager gangs up on the boat harbor. (Government folks buy into "privatization" of the fish because it simply makes their jobs easier.)

"Good morning John,
I agree that Brother Grimm was an odd choice. (A consultant from Colorado, that was brought(bought) to speak on limited access privileges.) That presentation was arranged by Environmental Defense - they are big LAPP proponents - you might want to check out their website.
I think you're right about the environmental gains not holding water. A friend who has a brother in Florida on the Gulf of Mexico told me because her brother didn't qualify for a red snapper share, he now has to throw overboard the snapper he catches while fishing for grouper. Our fisheries here are mostly multi-species too, so the same thing is likely to happen here.
During the presentation by Brother Grimm, (a fisherman) said, "My family owns 10 boats and I don't agree with LAPPs." A survey by our state fisheries agency found no difference between support of LAPPs between "big fishermen" and "little fishermen" - that was interesting to me.
I've wondered about Environmental Defense applauding the safety benefits too. For one thing, our fish are migratory so fishermen have to fish when the fish are here. For another, even without processor quotas, some fisheries run on volume and the fish houses call the shots as far as wanting fish or not. And, as you mentioned, prices are better at different times. (Referring to being forced to fish in stormy weather.)
One state employee whispered to me while the presentation was going on, "The problem is that NC (North Carolina) commercial fisheries have never been about economic efficiency but have always been about community wealth." This weekend provided an example of what we stand to lose here - at 3 am Saturday a fisherman called 911 and ended up in the hospital with serious heart problems. By 7 am this morning all the fishermen on the island committed to giving him 2 percent of their pay until he gets back on his feet.
As always, your insight is greatly appreciated,