Gubernatorial Q & A: Alaskan Fishing – Who’s Responsible for What?

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Apr 27, 2009

Another discussion that is too important to get buried in the comments section of another post:

Yesterday Elsie posted these questions as part of a comment about CDQ’ on the Bob Poe thread:

My questions:

On the surface, the new regulation requiring all the CDQs to publish an annual report would appear, to me, to be a significant improvement towards illuminating the secrecy of the financial workings of the CDQs—perhaps, in the best of all possible worlds, even affecting the elections of their board members. What’s the reality for expecting any meaningful, measurable improvements that will benefit the villagers in dealing openly with management of the CDQs and having a real say in how things are run and the money generated is spent? Have any of you seen a discussion of this anywhere?

Read from here down and you can skip the rest of this post.

Rob Rosenfeld replied in part:

CDQ groups have received their guidelines for operating from the State and Federal regulating entities. State and Federal entities are required to engage in meaningful consultation with Tribal Governments. Tribal Governments have a unique opportunity to demand their place at real and meaningful decision making tables. . .

. . . Consultation with tribal governments can not be a game of make pretend. The word, “meaningful” is the operative word.

Read the rest of the comment.

That got Elsie thinking:

Something that occurs to me is how absolutely wonderful it would be for a conscientious, knowledgeable person to draw up a comprehensive diagram of the interrelationships between the many various federal agencies, the Alaskan state agencies, the tribal governmental entities, the local municipalities, the ancillary organizations, and whatever the heck else is set up to govern, lead, control, direct, finance, assist, or engage the citizens of Alaska.

She must have taken a shot at it herself and now she’s put on her crown and become the Queen of the Question Mark!!

For example, to continue with my desire to understand the governmental structures, who all controls the fisheries? Let’s just start THERE!!!

The U.S. Dept. of Commerce is at the top of the list, I think, and holds ultimate authority over all the fisheries. How effective is THAT? How long does it take for Alaskans to send in a plan or receive a decision? If a “no” decision comes back, how many years does it take to implement a new decision? How badly does that time lag affect the fisheries if they are being overfished already?

Down from that, of several fishery management councils, isn’t the North Pacific Fishery Management Council the section of oversight, from three miles out to 200 miles offshore, for Alaska fisheries? But aren’t most of those same NPFMC board members out of Seattle and run large commercial pollock/other big operations? Doesn’t that “stack the deck” against the many small, one boat-type, local Alaskan fishing groups?

And there’s more!

And before I even finished this post, Rob Rosenfeld has responded with answers!!

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14 Responses to “Gubernatorial Q & A: Alaskan Fishing – Who’s Responsible for What?”

  1. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Copied from another thread:

    Elsie Says:
    April 26, 2009 at 3:11 pm edit
    Hi, y’all.

    I noticed that the Western Alaska Community Development Association (WACDA) web site (www.wacda.org) shows that a new regulation was passed last year.

    “Each CDQ Entity shall submit an annual report to its member villages summarizing financial operations for the previous calendar year. The annual financial report required … shall be submitted by the CDQ Entity to its member villages by no later than July 31 of each year. The annual report …. shall be sent by each CDQ entity to every mail box in its member villages, and shall additionally be sent by the Entity together with a copy of the Entity’s most recent completed IRS Form 990 to the Alaska Region of the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.”

    My questions:

    On the surface, the new regulation requiring all the CDQs to publish an annual report would appear, to me, to be a significant improvement towards illuminating the secrecy of the financial workings of the CDQs—perhaps, in the best of all possible worlds, even affecting the elections of their board members. What’s the reality for expecting any meaningful, measurable improvements that will benefit the villagers in dealing openly with management of the CDQs and having a real say in how things are run and the money generated is spent? Have any of you seen a discussion of this anywhere?

    Thanks.

  2. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Copied from another thread:

    robrosenfeld Says:
    April 27, 2009 at 1:07 am edit
    CDQ groups have received their guidelines for operating from the State and Federal regulating entities. State and Federal entities are required to engage in meaningful consultation with Tribal Governments. Tribal Governments have a unique opportunity to demand their place at real and meaningful decision making tables.

    That said, sound science and maximum collaboration is needed to ensure that the voices of non-native rural Alaskans combined with traditional and contemporary science are included in real decisions.

    Consultation with tribal governments can not be a game of make pretend. The word, “meaningful” is the operative word.

    I have always encouraged tribes to engage in strategic planning with municipal governments and corporations so a unified message is conveyed to the regulators.

    Sound science partners are desireable, while questions for further research and information gathering can and should be derived from traditional knowledge and local observation.

  3. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Copied from another thread:

    Elsie Says:
    April 27, 2009 at 8:02 am edit
    Something that occurs to me is how absolutely wonderful it would be for a conscientious, knowledgeable person to draw up a comprehensive diagram of the interrelationships between the many various federal agencies, the Alaskan state agencies, the tribal governmental entities, the local municipalities, the ancillary organizations, and whatever the heck else is set up to govern, lead, control, direct, finance, assist, or engage the citizens of Alaska. Is there already a written source somewhere that is ready for curious people to go to, to take a look? My perspective is particularly on Western Alaska, but I’m open to any fabulous explanation that breaks down the entire governmental structure of the seemingly hundreds of groups and reveals their relationships and power structures in some organized way. Any takers out there?

    And after that, I’ve got a few more ideas for questions about trying to understand who all holds sway over the people of Alaska at any given time, the relationships between and among the groups, the ultimate power brokers, who they are, how they are elected or appointed, etc. But, first, a family tree of Alaskan governmental and tribal entitities would be amazing, at this point!

    Thanks.

  4. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Copied from another thread:

    Elsie Says:
    April 27, 2009 at 8:40 am edit
    For example, to continue with my desire to understand the governmental structures, who all controls the fisheries? Let’s just start THERE!!!

    The U.S. Dept. of Commerce is at the top of the list, I think, and holds ultimate authority over all the fisheries. How effective is THAT? How long does it take for Alaskans to send in a plan or receive a decision? If a “no” decision comes back, how many years does it take to implement a new decision? How badly does that time lag affect the fisheries if they are being overfished already?

    Down from that, of several fishery management councils, isn’t the North Pacific Fishery Management Council the section of oversight, from three miles out to 200 miles offshore, for Alaska fisheries? But aren’t most of those same NPFMC board members out of Seattle and run large commercial pollock/other big operations? Doesn’t that “stack the deck” against the many small, one boat-type, local Alaskan fishing groups?

    Very important to all this, you also have the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game controlling most of the river fishing, too, up to three miles offshore. What other powers do they hold over the fishing decisions…Are their boards all appointed?

    How does the Board of Fisheries fit into all this? They DEFINITELY are governor appointees. Hmmm…how compromised is that decision-making group by political favors or relationships?

    Then, you have the Federal Subsistence Management agency controlling fishing, etc., on all Alaskan federal lands, right? This was set up to protect subsistence families after the Alaska Supreme Court ruled against the rights of subsistence dwellers years ago, which led to the feds coming in to the state to protect the subsistence fishers, trappers, hunters, etc.

    How does that conflict with the state closing fishing in certain areas….do the subsistence fishing folks answer to the feds letting them or the state denying them fishing on certain rivers, that might pass through federal lands, at certain times of the year?

    And then, are the CDQs only about the relationship to Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands, Gulf of Alaska, Bristol Bay, etc. fishing OFFSHORE?

    Are tribal councils/corporations/villages/municipal governments making edicts, too, about fishing?

    Whatever I missed here, please fill in the blanks. It’s like a spiderweb or a maze of interactions that seem overwhelming to understand their workings/interworkings/failure to work together. And, of course, these questions here are only about FISHING!

    Thanks.

  5. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Copied from another thread:

    robrosenfeld Says:
    April 27, 2009 at 11:50 am edit
    Now we are getting to one of the main issues. I have referred to the reality of regulators as the “Regulatory Pie” The pie has about 12-13 pieces on any given issue. For Fisheries there are a good deal of regulating entities with a significant voice. The same is so when it comes to wildlife management, emergency response, and water permitting.

    The complexity of the above lends itself to an environment of overlapping and conflicting jurisdictions.

    After 9-11 the Intelligence community was tasked with better coordination. The result was several innovative approaches to improve communications, knowledge, information sharing and coordination between entities. For example: senior management in each entity was required to engage in work exchange with at least two other related entities before they could be promoted. This was a great idea.

    In order for us to get beyond the confusion, we need to get everyone in the same room and create a regulatory manual that describes who does what as Elsie has suggested. I’m not sure who would be best suited to take on this project or of if it has already been done.

    About 10 years ago, I developed something along these lines for entities involved in water related decisions. It is very out dated and is more like a phone book at this point. It needs work to suit the needs of a discussion like this.

    Elected officials can play a role by reviewing legislation associated with the jurisdiction of each entity and determine when legislation can be passed to avoid duplication of efforts.

    As far as tribal entities go:

    There about 231 tribes in Alaska. The list can be obtained from the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) and / or the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council (AITC). AFN was created for various reasons, one of which is to be a political voice and AITC was created for several reasons as well, one of which is to build tribal capacity.

    The fabric of tribal entities include regional and village corporations. There are 13 Regional corporations with dozens of village corporations. The Regional corporations have sub-surface rights and the village corporations have surface rights.

    In each region their are one to two more significant entities: For example in the Athabascan Region: there is Tanana Chiefs Conference. Tanana Chiefs conference provides health care and more, as does the Yukon – Koyukuk Tribal Health Consortia in the Yupik and Cupik region. In the Athabascan Region there is also Fairbanks Native Association who provide services for native individuals in the Fairbanks area and the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments who provide health care and more in the Gwich’in Athabascan region (the Yukon Flats)

    There is also the Alaska Village Council Presidents who provide a variety of services to more then 50 villages in Yupik and Cupik communities.

    The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council works in Canada and Alaska with 66 tribes and first nations. Fifty-three are in Alaska. you can check out the YRITWC at http://www.yritwc.org Check out the publications section and you can see a manual we put together called, “Opportunities for the Protection the Yukon River Watershed” This is focused on Internatioanl Treaties and Agreements and there is a short section on the Pacific Salmon Treaty and the 1992 North Pacific Salmon Treaty.

    You will also see a book on domestic regulating entities regarding water on the site.

  6. Elsie Says:

    Thanks, Rob, for the info on tribal entities and the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council. I’ve been wandering the web site today at http://www.yritwc.org. trying to process some of the information I have found there. I appreciate the reference to this group and some of the publications mentioned at the council’s site.

    I remembered in my travels online today that the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development for the State of Alaska publishes the “Alaska Community Directory”. The current 2008 issue is 2.13 MB and is found online at http://www.commerce.state.ak.us/dca/MuniDirPublic/MODP.htm. Boroughs, Cities, Unincorporated Communities, Village Councils, Village Corporations, ANCSA Regional Corporations, Alaska Regional Development Organizations (ARDORs), Community Development Quota (CDQ) Corporations, Regional Non-Profit Corporations, Regional Health Corporations, and School Districts can be found in the nearly 400 pages that make up this directory. As I try to pull the pieces of the regulatory pie together, I need to remember this resource is available, too.

  7. robrosenfeld Says:

    Thank you Elsie for checking out the yritwc site (check out Yukon Circles under media / video) and also thank you for mentioning the Department of Commerce resource directory. When Pat Poland was the Director of Department of Commerce and Economic Development I ran a training series for rural outreach workers to be more creative in stimulating local economies. It must have been 2001. I appreciate the work of the Dept. of Commerce and many of the resources they have produced. The Department of Commerce is a typical example of an underfunded state entity with a mandate ten times its capacity.

    I will be pushing for increased funding for the AK Department of Commerce. The Work Force Development conference they put on for a few years was very effective in bringing together a rural and urban think tank.

  8. elsie09 Says:

    Hey, Rob.

    I wandered around in your council’s website, looking for “Yukon Circles” in the media/video area but failed to find it. Any other suggestions on where I need to look to discover what you are recommending there?

    Thanks.

  9. Alaska Pi ∆ Says:

    Elsie-
    Going CLEAR back to your original questions about the average rural Western Alaskan’s relationship to their CDQ, I think it is obvious that the “regulatory pie” including the multiple layers which have to be penetrated to see any kind of larger picture, create a wall which everyday folks rarely have the time and resources to scale.
    Relying on the stated objectives of each layer alone is inadequate. Some Tribal govts are less than open with their members… state agencies excel in state lingo rather than on-the-street/river talk…feds often respond so slowly we could all die or retire before a meaningful response arrives…

    Mr Rosenfeld and Mr Poe-
    Some kind of chart of responsibilites to citizens by each piece of the pie and open portal for citizens to interact, especially with recalcitrant entities, is necessary in my mind to meeting the needs of citizens.
    As we are bound to agree to accept our governments , our governing bodies must be bound to accept us.
    It is not enough to merely chart the incidence, placement, etc for each genus and species of regulatory bodies on our Alaskan landscape. It is also necessary to explicate their place in our “ecosystem” and untangle the relationships so we know how and where to go when issues have to be dealt with.

    We are all HERE at anonymousbloggers because all regulatory bodies and agencies failed to pay attention to folks in Western Alaska late last summer and early fall.

    That being said, I AM proud of Alaska’s work to make so much info available online for citizens – I hope we see further work and appropriate funding to keep and provide public information readily available.

  10. elsie09 Says:

    While puttering around the aforementioned http://www.yritwc.org. web site, I got side-tracked looking at the “AFN”, which turns out to be the “Assembly of First Nations” in Canada….While there, I came across these words and decided that poor ol’ Chief Tecumseh had it all figured out so many years ago:

    “MY HEART IS A STONE. HEAVY WITH SADNESS FOR MY PEOPLE; cold with the knowledge that NO TREATY will keep the whites out of our land; hard with determination to resist as long as I live and breathe. Now we are weak and many of our people are afraid. But Hear Me: a single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong. Someday I will embrace our brother tribes and draw them into a bundle and together we will win our country back from the whites.”

    Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief
    Circa 1795

    When the non-urban Alaskan population bands together, it can direct its wisdom, common energy and strength to support people, government, and initiatives that bring jobs, alternative energy options, improved infrastructure, and other benefits presently available to urbanized Alaskan citizens. “A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong.” Perhaps the time draws near when the non-urbanized Alaskan populations will bundle themselves together to effect much-needed political and economic change.

  11. robrosenfeld Says:

    It looks like this dialogue is still going on strong as it should be. I appreciate the posts from Elsie and Alaska Pi. I just finished writing a proposal and submitting an Abstract for funding for the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council which kept me busy the last few nights.

    Elsie the link to the video page on the http://www.yritwc.org website is:

    http://www.yritwc.org/Media/PhotosandVideos/tabid/74/Default.aspx

    if it doesn’t go to it then scroll down on the media / video page further and you will find “Yukon Circles”

    The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) was created to join the 66+ Indigenous governments together on the Yukon River to protect the health of the water, the animals and the people. The organization is a treaty organization that has been using the power of a unified voice to advocate for wise development and will eventually have the option of joining tribes for economic purposes as economies were tradtionally built around watersheds. The YRITWC is also a place for an exchange of ideas and innovation. For this reason the YRITWC won two awards from Harvard University in the past 3 years. One was High Honors from the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development (2005) and the other was “Finalist” from the Harvard Innovations in Government Award Program (2008). It was wonderful to see a native organization from Alaska recognized in such away. For amazing ideas on what tribes can do to better economic development, check out the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development website and their many publications. I will be speaking at Harvard in September at a symposium for past award winners with a native leader from the watershed.

    You can find the link about the Harvard Project on my Facebook group, “Rob Rosenfeld for Alaska State Governor”. Native people have been doing incredible work around the world. The key is to create exchange opportunities for native leaders to learn from one another. This is the essence of the Harvard Project.

    Last month I guided and organized a trip to Bolivia and Argentina to facilitate an exchange between the First Nations in the Yukon Territory and on the Yukon River with the Council of Guarani Chiefs and Assembly of First Nations in Bolivia. I will upload photos tonight on my facebook page and you can enjoy the signing ceremony photos when the Chiefs agreed to support each other in solidarity and with technical exchange opportunities for staff. Canadian International Development Association funded this exchange and has funded many like this. Check out their Indigenous Peoples Partnership Program.

    I will send a seperate post about the regulating entities later this evening.

  12. Rob Rosenfeld Says:

    To Alaska Pi:

    I agree that the current entangled mess is just that. I have four suggestions. I have voiced these ideas at various conferences, meetings and to heads of regulatory entities over the past 12 years.

    First: I would like to see the regulators all have a, “Compliance Assistance” Department to assist all of us to understand current regulations and to all provide necessary technical assistance when there is difficulty complying.

    Secondly: I would like to encourage all regulating bodies to partner with entities in the non-profit sector to assist with the information exchange and to provide assistance to communities to know what the regulations are and how to comply.

    Thirdly: There must be an individual inside each regulating entity who has a job title as, “Community Liaison” I will push for this during the campaign and after. It is critical to have one person at least inside each entity to help us all navigate. Each entity is complex, therefore a liaison is necessary.

    Fourthly: There should be more frequent overlap and collaboration between regulators to avoid duplication of efforts, confusion and to maximize available resources.

    Obviously the above is only a start. Let’s keeping talking and exchanging ideas. Rob

  13. anonymousbloggers Says:

    Rob –

    Does any one slice of the “regulatory pie” have the authority to close the pollock fishery in light of next season’s predicted dismal king salmon run?

    Does the governor? Could the Feds?

    Jane

  14. robrosenfeld Says:

    Hi Jane:

    The decision making entities and individuals at the top seem to be: Department of Commerce, NOAA, The Director of the Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service (North Pacific Fishery Management Council). Governor Palin had the opportunity to nominate 2 individuals to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

    It appears that the person with the most power is the Secretary of the Department of Commerce.

    Below is the Act that is most relevant I believe.

    SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES ACT

    On October 11, 1996 the Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA) became law. The SFA amended the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act (renamed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act). SFA amendments and changes to the Magnuson Act include numerous provisions requiring science, management and conservation action by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

    Implementing the Sustainable Fisheries Act – Achievements
    Sustainable Fisheries Act The Sustainable Fisheries Act, P.L. 104-297

    Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act
    An electronic version of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, as amended by the SFA.

    A Guide to the Sustainable Fisheries Act: Public Law 104-297
    Immediately after the SFA was enacted, NOAA’s Office of General Counsel for Fisheries summarized and interpreted each section of the SFA, and included a legislative history in most sections.

    Magnuson-Stevens Act Implementation Activity
    When the SFA was signed into law, NMFS developed a plan for its implementation. The electronic version of Implementation Plan tasks provides a list of the tasks required to implement the SFA.

    Proposed & Final Rules, and Documents for Public Comment
    The SFA requires NMFS to seek public comment on numerous provisions. NMFS is also required to publish certain information in the Federal Register. Click here to access documents for public comment and for SFA-related links to Federal Register items.

    SFA Update
    The SFA Update Newsletter ceased in 1998, when the majority of amendments were implemented. It contained information on actions taken by NMFS to implement SFA amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Text and .pdf* versions of the Newsletter are available.

    Atlantic HMS Activities
    The NMFS Office of Sustainable Fisheries, Division of Highly Migratory Species (HMS) implements the SFA requirements for HMS fisheries along the Atlantic coast. Information on SFA implementation actions being taken by the HMS Division can be found at this site.

    Reports
    The SFA requires NMFS to produce various plans, reports and studies on our Nation’s fisheries. This page provides access to these documents.

    Guidelines and Principles for Social Impact Assessment
    NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-16, May 1994
    A pdf version can be found at this site: http://www.st.nmfs.gov/tm/spo/spo16.pdf

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