Nicholas Tucker: We Need to Prepare for Winter Now! *UPDATED*

by

Sep 4, 2009

Dear Governor Parnell, Mr. Moller, Ms. Jollie, Mr. Black,

After reading this  article in the Dispatch I am gravely concerned and worried even more so than before about what this winter will bring to rural Alaska.

“We have people desperate to go out moose hunting, whale and seal hunting, geese and other species of fish,” he said. “You could let them go out and get these by giving them the opportunity to get gas, motor oil, ammunition, repair parts and every single thing that is necessary to prepare much better for this winter.”

~ Nicholas Tucker

Not only is the lack of both subsistence and commercial fishing, greatly diminishing our ability to put away fish for the winter but also the lack of funds brought in from commercial fishing is now making it hard, if not impossible, for rural Alaskans to put away other subsistence game.

Moose season is now.  The birds are flying now.  Now is the time to be out hunting for seals and whales.  All of these types of game are critical for us to survive this winter.  If we cannot purchase gas to go out and hunt then I fear this winter we will have a crisis of much greater proportions than last winter.  Last winter we were able to depend a little bit on other game that we had put up for the winter since we were lacking fish.

It looks like this winter that option will not be available to many rural Alaskans because they simply cannot afford the gas and other necessities required to go out hunting.

I am quite confident in saying that none of us want to again have to rely on food and fuel drives to keep rural Alaska from having to make the choice between feeding their families or heating their homes this winter.  Additionally, I am certain that ADF&G will NOT open up commercial fishing of Coho Salmon to try to help rural Alaskans earn some money for fuel.  Even if they do, there might not be a market for them and the money that might be made probably won’t do much to avert another crisis this winter.

So, what can we do???  I know that a fisheries disaster declaration went to Washington DC.  But let’s be realistic, even if a disaster is declared the help and funds will be slow to come.  Although these monies and aid will help, they will not bring back the birds, the seals, the whales and other game we need to put away for winter.

There has to be something we can do NOW.  Fuel vouchers for gas so we can hunt now before the game heads south?  There has to be some type of emergency funding available to help rural Alaskans now, so we can try to put away enough game to make it through the winter.

Last winter the BIA stepped in and helped.  Who can help NOW?  I refuse to think that there isn’t something that can be done now.  We have been seeing the warning signs for months.  Winter is fast approaching.  Help and solutions need to happen NOW before people have to make the same life threatening decisions they had to make last winter.

Step up NOW, help NOW!  Come up with solutions NOW before we have a much bigger crisis than last winter.

Rural Alaskans will tell you NOW is the time we need help, NOW is the time to help prevent another crisis this winter.  NOW before winter sets in is the time to do something, not later when we start getting reports of families going without food or going cold this winter.

Please do your jobs, help your people!  We are telling you NOW that there is a high risk for a repeat of last year’s crisis only this year it looks to be much worse than last years.  Don’t ignore us, don’t wait until we are freezing and going without food to hear us.  Help EMPOWER us NOW, to keep us from having another crisis this winter.  Last winter was hard; this winter looks like it’s going to be worse.  We need to start coming up with solutions for not only this winter but also what about next year and after that?  Plan ahead, come up with solutions now, let’s not keep going through the same thing year after year.  Don’t ignore us and placate us until we are in a full emergency crisis winter after winter.

Coming up with solutions and preventative measures now will not only empower us but also will save hard earned taxpayers money now and in the future I am sure.

UPDATE!

Way to go Nick Tucker!

“Four days after he pitched a “crazy” idea to the state, Emmonak fisherman Nick Tucker Sr. is getting his wish: one last chance to earn money catching salmon before winter hits.”    Read the full article here.

 

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7 Responses to “Nicholas Tucker: We Need to Prepare for Winter Now! *UPDATED*”

  1. Bill Hess Says:

    I hope the governor listens.

  2. UgaVic Says:

    I am THRILLED to see the ADF&G realize there is a way to work with fishermen and it can be good for all.
    The market is good for Coho right now, sales and prices, so I hope it is passed down to fishermen.
    To have groups listening and working to prevent versus react is so good to see.
    Victoria

  3. Jim Says:

    I had asked the rural subcabinet to see if there would be some way to help people purchase fuel if they can’t afford to go fishing. It is so sad they didn’t address that or respond.

    I’m not rich, but if you REALLY can’t afford to buy fuel for Sunday’s opening, contact me at jim@behlke.com. I could provide a small amount to your fuel distributer. I’m just a guy and my finances are limited, but if somebody needs 5 gallons of fuel, I’ll see what I can do. Tell me how to communicate with your fuel distributer. I can only help two or three people at most.

  4. Martha Unalaska Yard Sign Says:

    Mr. Tucker, I salute your persistence and common sense. And way to go ADF&G for listening.

    Sunday is going to be a GREAT day for fishing – best of luck to all of you! May many healthy, shiny cohos leap into your nets!

  5. alaskapi Says:

    http://alaskadispatch.com/blogs/the-outpost/1819-qgasoline-and-bullets-cannot-be-purchased-with-food-stamps

    ” “Gasoline and Bullets cannot be purchased with food stamps.’
    Jill Burke
    Sep 5, 2009
    The letter below comes from the Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association. It’s a petition to the Board of Fisheries for an emergency finding to allow a fall commercial harvest on silver salmon. It comes just as the Department of Fish and Game, in a separate action, has agreed to grant a one-day commerical fishing opportunity tomorrow, with more to possibly follow depending on the outcome. The concern is the impact of silver fishing on this year’s record-low chum run. ”
    ———————
    Kudos to the Alaska Dispatch for staying right on top of news about the lower Yukon…

    It is important to keep all the eyes we can muster on what happens with this petition. If fall chum has mostly moved through the area , this chance for folks to earn dollars for supplies through commercial fishing is a must. To continue to exhort people to provide for themselves and ignore that they have been stuck in a complex mess and unable to do so is getting old…
    more than old…
    Food stamps can’t buy the dignity providing for yourself does either, so let’s let folks provide for themselves…

  6. Michigander Says:

    What an encouraging update! Keep on talking, your voice is being heard. What an honor to know a man like Nicholas Tucker (I don’t care that it’s internet, I feel like we have become family).

    Good luck tomorrow, hoping for a great fishing day.

  7. alaskapi Says:

    Food stamps can’t buy the dignity providing for yourself does either, so let’s let folks provide for themselves…

    And let’s do it while the birds and other game are still within their reach…
    Asking folks to stand down for the greater good – salmon escapement numbers to ensure sustainable fisheries for all – is acceptable. Painful, but acceptable.

    Asking them to stand by and watch their own chances of survival diminish when there may be remedies is more than unacceptable, it borders on criminal.

    Here’s hoping today’s opening yields many cohos to fishermen and verification that the poor chum run has largely moved on… that more openings may follow.

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