Apr 29, 2009
By now you’ve probably read that the Chinook (King) Salmon run is expected to be even worse in summer 2009 than it was in 2008.
From the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
Chinook salmon returns in 2007 and 2008 were unexpectedly weak and ADF&G scientists believe the 2009 return will be below average or poor as well. A small return of Chinook salmon will impose hardships on subsistence, commercial, personal use, and recreational harvesters, because of the central importance of Chinook salmon for both personal consumption and commercial harvest.
AKM sums it up as only she can over at the Mudflats so we won’t even take a shot at it here.
We watch as salmon fisheries are closed, and as residents worry they will not have enough food. We watch as we put ourselves in danger of violating an international treaty. We watch as private citizens try to organize food drives, and as the governor shows up with food provided by a religious organization, and a plate of cookies as a way to make this all better.
Limits on subsistence and commercial fishing will once again be imposed and it will difficult for our Neighbors to harvest enough salmon to store for winter and sell for cash to buy fuel. Sound Familiar?
Victoria did the best she could on our behalf at the bycatch meeting to prevent this but…
Maybe it’s time to turn our attention to the other cause of the crisis of 2008. The rivers froze before the tanks were full of fuel for the winter.
In a state that profits from favoring the oil industry over the environment, it is shameful that people are paying such high prices for fuel and that villages, such as Nunam Iqua, are running out cooking oil/heating fuel before the end of winter.
The rivers froze early – that was unexpected. They were expected to freeze at some point! Villages should be required to have their shipments delivered and their tanks full weeks before the earliest freeze recorded.
Any ideas how we can help get fuel to rural Alaska earlier and at lower prices? If there are as many boards and agencies involved in energy issues as there are in fishing issues, we got our work cut out!