Thursday, September 20, 2012

NOAA's Secret Science

 NOAA locking the files on the science it uses must be the kind of thing we need to help send us over the fiscal cliff, so we can learn something? Shades of the world of the Western Alaska Native. Their CDQ groups have been doing this to them for 20 years, pissing away the cash in an orgy of spending. In NOAA's case, it's giving public marine resources to favored patrons for nothing. The other half of our double benefit is, drumroll please: destroying the marine ecosystem. If you haven't lived where this goes on, don't automatically disbelieve this.

If you have a passion for the marine environment, along with the land and air ones too maybe, or make a living from the sea, or live in a town by the sea, this stuff about NOAA should be extremely important to you. Like I said before, I know at least one Alaska mayor who is trying to find out why the seafood industry is going to pot. This is what is going on. I wonder how many marine ecology/management professors keep up on this kind of thing. They should, so students can see what kind of 'science' field they are getting into. The NOAA led 'science' of fisheries management is taking it's cue from W.C. Fields, the famous comedian whose motto was, "Never give a sucker an even break."

This kind of thing was certainly going on as far back as Alaska's territorial days and the Washington D.C. sanctioned salmon traps, in case anyone is tempted to blame Obama for it.

From: Patrice McDermott <>
Date: Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 10:53 AM
Subject: sign-on opportunity -- public access to info essential for marine fisheries management

Attached please find a letter about the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) proposed rule regarding confidentiality of information under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).  The proposed rule would improperly restrict public access to many types of fishery data central to the public’s ability to understand the management and performance of fisheries, including information generated from tax payer-funded science. As drafted, the proposal undermines the MSA’s public participation requirements, and is inconsistent with federal policies on scientific integrity, transparency and openness in government. The implications of this rule are significant for maintaining transparency in management decisions and providing a level playing field among managers, non-governmental scientists and the general public. The letter urges NMFS to withdraw this flawed proposal entirely and replace it with one that ensures public access to fisheries information.

To sign on to the letter – with your name & organizational affiliationreply to Joseph Gordon by 7pm EST October 16th.

Every year, millions of taxpayer dollars are invested in fisheries management including the collection of data by professional observers on fishing vessels. These observers collect data about what fish are caught, where, and how fishing damages other ocean wildlife. This information is essential for citizens to understand the impacts of fishing on our public trust resources, and to meaningfully participate in fishery management to help ensure the effective conservation of ocean fish, wildlife, and ecosystems.

Specifically, this proposed rule opens the door to:
§  Requiring the public to ask permission from private fishing permit holders who have a direct financial stake to access essential information about fishing and its impacts on ocean wildlife, even when the data collection is funded by taxpayers at $40 million per year.
§  Potentially providing information to the public in an “aggregated form” that could disguise specific impacts of fishing on our public trust resources. The proposed rule essentially asks us to accept that the government will develop procedures for making the information public in a useful form. The proposal does not describe how data will be aggregated -- Americans have a right to know how NOAA Fisheries proposes to do this and whether NOAA Fisheries’ procedures will enable the public to fully understand and participate in protecting our ocean resources.

NOAA’s proposed fisheries data rule would significantly restrict the public’s access to fisheries data, including publicly-funded observer programs. The proposal would undermine the extensive public participation envisioned in America’s ocean fishing law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), and could erode scientific integrity, transparency, and openness in government.

Please excuse duplicate postings.  Please feel free to share this post – including to whom to reply for sign-on.



Patrice McDermott, Executive Director

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Localnomics: A Tribute to Jim Poor

Jim Poor was not only an iconic fish processing figure in the Cordova/Prince William Sound area, but a visionary in seafood economic development. The stuff he worked on just plain worked; processing plants in Kodiak and Cordova, numerous other Cordova businesses, and ocean ranching of salmon to kick-start the salmon industry after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. I hope he got more mention somewhere than about five column inches in the Alaska Magazine.

I didn't know Jim, but knew many of his peers in Alaska. My father was cut from the same cloth in a way. These plant managers lived year-round in the towns they ran plants in. Unlike the majority of the plants in Alaska that closed in the fall and were typically left in the hands of a watchman and his dog. In fact, a cocker spaniel of the litter from my first dog ended up at the old cannery in Hawk Inlet. I spent one winter in the apartment at the now Ocean Beauty plant in Petersburg. The kitchen window of which was nearly pierced by the point of the bow of a Alaska State ferry  this year when it tried a 180 degree turn in the shipping channel and ploughed into the cannery dock.

My point though, is that there used to be fishing industry leaders in Alaska who stayed and cared about their communities. They cared about the health of the fisheries and they cared about family. My father turned down a job in Kodiak as the king crab fishery there started to boom. He didn't want to uproot us kids from the Petersburg school system. Both he and my mother served on the School Board there off and on. Dad never became a mayor like Jim Poor did, just enough City Council duty to learn how easy it is to piss off potential fishermen/business associates.

They pretty much stayed in one area of the state to build on previous work to improve the place. I have to categorize that: nowadays, by saying they did it for the people there and not for some corporation. The latter seems to be the norm these days. Just look at the CDQ group in Nome.

They instinctively knew that a strong economy starts at home. Especially in the fishing industry in Alaska. Wow, is that the farthest from the goal these days. But the money doesn't go as far away as it used to. Even Trident seafoods uses it's $50 million jet in Alaska on occasion. They even flew a band over to Petersburg, from Norway, for the Little Norway festival. In Nome, the CDQ group keeps pouring all the people's money down a rat hole, with nice commissions for themselves extracted first, of course.

In my last post, I mentioned that the City Managers in Alaska should pick up the slack in watching out for the communities. Then a few days later, Time Magazine runs this article about Localnomics. Their fifth main rule is that local leaders must step up. Well, there ya go. You can't count on the politicians at all anymore. Guys like Tim Smith in Nome are living this philosophy, yet they get beat down at every turn. The CDQ group's attorneys besmirch him in the most profane ways. They know the law is on Tim's side, yet the money men serve only their money.