Tuesday, April 07, 2009

"I want it all, I want it now."

This title is from a new TV series on the Tudor family of Great Britain. It pretty much was the Tudor motto through the centuries until they got so big that "the sun doesn't set on the British empire." Shift to the North Pacific fisheries. A convenient little mechanism was put in place by empire builders there called 'rationalization,' or privatization, or LAPPs, or quota shares. The name shifts depending on what makes it go down easier in the local arena.

As the big fish swallow the little fish(companies), they can legally stay big without threat of competition, or rebellion, and even have their own Court and science folk. The Tudors wished they had it so good.

Now jump to the present fact of trawlers catching those iconic king salmon by the tens of thousands and throwing them over dead. That is literally a lot of peoples' lunches, and high quality ones at that. When king salmon are around they bring a LOT of LOCAL economic activity. In testimony in Oregon's fish fights, the owner of a large chain of sporting goods stores said a king is worth about $500.

Not surprisingly the trawlers are now pointing to how many people around the world they feed with the virtually worthless whitefish they are allowed to keep and sell. Personally I prefer a bottle of water over a greasy breaded pollock sandwich where health matters are concerned. Notice they said "around the globe." Of course, Americans don't eat pollock eggs, nor that much fish paste either. And you can bet it's being sold to a foreign subsidiary at cost to dodge U.S. taxes. I'll bet if you really scratched your head you'd find the whole thing doesn't benefit the U.S. that much.

Here's an e-mail I got on the recent North Pacific Fisheries Management Council hearings: "From what I heard, McCable showed with a per diem Exodus of Coastal Villagers, schooled in talking points, perhaps supplied with testimony. Must have cost Coastal a quarter million to put on a farce for "American" seafoods."

"But there was some social networking by the good guys and girls that will help later. Like Obama says a movement fizzles out without an organization to perpetuate it. Need to be as tactical as the very well rehearsed opposition."

"It's ironic we can't save them from themselves."

Another comment, reported in the Anchorage Daily News; this from the Washington D.C. elite: "In a tense exchange just before the vote, Nicole Ricci, a foreign affairs officer for the State Department, told the council that the new cap wouldn't do enough to meet a treaty agreement between the U.S. and Canada to ensure strong salmon stocks in the Yukon River.

"I don't understand how you can call this a reduction," she said, noting the upper limit of the cap is higher than the average bycatch over the past decade.

"This has been one of the most disappointing things that I have sat through.""

The upshot is that the 'Council' voted to keep wantonly wasting 60,000 plus king salmon every year; in the face of Alaskan food shortages in the area because of failed king runs, and a broken Treaty with Canada, broken provisions of the Alaska Native Interest Claims Act (an Act of Congress), and the Alaska delegates and the Administration probably violating the Alaska State Constitution.

How is wiping out a vital food supply taking care of the Alaska public? Well, the good Governor said the Western Alaskans should move away and get a real job. I sure hope cooler heads in Washington D.C. prevail on this one. The Tudors of the North Pacific may have won a round, but it's not over until the fat lady sings. No pun intended to the President, or the head of Commerce I should say. That should be fun to watch, because he was the Governor of the state where these big trawl companies are headquartered. Does he want to ever go home again?

There were comments made at the Council meetings recorded on this blog, http://anonymousbloggers.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/npfmc-salmon-by-catch-meeting/ that some of the king salmon are from the endangered runs in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California. I know some don't believe that, and I think research has been squelched on that issue. And I read where the 'upper six figure' CDQ managers threatened their own share-holders with pulling salmon restoration funds if they testified against king salmon trawl by-catch. Of course these Community Development Quota groups that get 10% of the harvest of the Bering Sea don't give much back to the villages, or there wouldn't be hunger and cold out there, of couuurrrse.

And I'll say it again, when you speak up about this stuff you get called every name in the book. And not the 'Good Book' either. And that's the kid glove treatment; this is not a fight for the timid.

At the NPFMC meetings we've all just witnessed executive privilege run amok, and how renewable resources become unrenewable. This is what happened to the buffalo. It's happening again right before our eyes. And it's not only king salmon stocks that are being knocked flat, but it's herring, squid and halibut too. These trawlers were given the go-ahead to catch the pollock because it was a resource being 'wasted.' And in 1981, the Council voted to open to trawling the king crab sanctuary the Japanese fleet had set up to protect spawning female crab. Big 'red bags' of crab were the result and the crab stock collapsed the next year.

This is where the Nobles have a chance to stand up to the Tudors on the Plains of Runnymeade. But I see the Northern Tudors point, the Nobles let the Wall Street Tudors have hundreds of billions of dollars with no strings attached, so nobody is going to make us sign no steenk'n Magna Carta on fish. Coincidentally there is a bill in Congress aiming to legalize any amount of king salmon catch: "...and 44 national, regional and state conservation groups today pressed congressional leaders to oppose "The Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act of 2009," saying the legislation would allow overexploitation of vulnerable fish populations."

But I'm encouraged to see citizen lobbyists stepping up to the plate, http://notrawlzone.blogspot.com/, that are voices for the peasants; the ones that were told to 'eat cake.' That was a French Queen who said "Let them eat cake," when told of her subjects hunger, but the same difference as the Tudors. The point is, we don't NEED kings to admire and to say they have our best interests at heart, we have Oprah.