Jun 23, 2009
It looks like another dismal salmon season!
Fingers are being pointed at the pollock industry and rightly so.
Although there are Native Alaskans that would be hurt by a strict limit on the pollock fisheries, the majority of the profits from the Pollock industry are raked in by huge, Seattle-based processing corporations that scoop up thousands of Alaska’s prized salmon and discard them as a fishing byproduct.
Native Alaskan’s right to pursue their centuries-old lifestyle of living off the abundance of the land has been trampled under the weight of the lobbying power and tax dollars of the fish sandwich factories.
The North Pacific Fish Management Council (NFFMC) , the body that recently set a bycatch cap that allows tens of thousands of salmon to be sacrificed before the pollock fishery is closed is facing criticism from Native groups.
June 16, 2009 at 3:16PM AKST
Amid accusations that Western Alaska residents don’t have enough input into federal fishery decisions, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council has created an advisory committee on Alaska Native and rural issues, according to the council’s latest newsletter.
The NPFMC, increasingly aware of a “huge communication gap” with rural Alaska, created the Rural Community Outreach Committee earlier this year, said Duncan Fields, a member of the new committee and a voting member of the NPFMC.
Further along in the article the committee chairman explains the committee’s role:
The committee’s chairman is Eric Olson, who is also chairman of the NPFMC. Olson is a longtime Bristol Bay fisherman raised in Dillingham.
Fields, reached at his set net fishing site off western Kodiak Island, where his family catches salmon, said the new committee is envisioned less as an advocacy group for rural Alaska and more as a way to reach out to an area of the state where media and communication options can be limited.
The committee will hold meetings in urban areas and invite tribal and Native leaders, he said. Council members and staff will also travel to predominantly Native rural Alaska to meet with people there.
You don’t even have to read between the lines – they put it right up front.
“We’re not going to help you get more fish swimming upstream but we’ll bring a dog and pony show to you and you can politely air your gripes, no guarantees.”
Bottom line: There’s not enough true representation of Tribal/Native interests on the front line of the fishery management battle.
P.S. I started this post to request donations to help get Dennis to Emmonak but in the time I’ve spent getting my thoughts down, Dennis has received sufficient donations and is on his way. You guys rock!!