Archive for the ‘Fishery Disaster’ Category

Open Letter…

June 4, 2011

to  the Yankee Fishermen’s Cooperative in Seabrook, NH :

Imagine our personal and collective surprise here in Alaska upon finding  Sarah Palin stopped by to boost morale there :

“Palin: Well, commercial fishing is near and dear to my heart of course, you know having fished for so many years. And I understand fish politics… Biology needs to dictate decisions in a fishery.”

Hoooo!

Um…

Oh, for heaven’s sake!

We  are as worried as you are as to what this catch share program will do to you.

We have many communities  which have suffered enormously under the experimental catch share program here but please do not mistake Ms Palin’s assertion that she understands fish politics or thinks biology should be the decisive factor in fish policy as the truth.

Examples abound of her lack of knowledge and  understanding of fish politics  and downright refusal to accept  biology before, during, and after her bizarrely truncated stint as our Governor. She has a long history here of avoiding answering direct questions with comprehensive and coherent responses and fish politics are/were no exception.

We’ll skip right on by her relying-on-biology routine over our polar bears here, but please keep it in mind should you ever feel a real itch to accept that she really does care for unbiased science winning out when big development is at stake.

Those little slogans about individuals’ entrepreneurial spirit, getting government out of the way, and so on which  she brings up repeatedly, are just that  -slogans.

As our Governor she cleared the decks  for government and big business to run right up over the top of the everyday person on more than one one occasion.

She also turned her back  , multiple times, on the very people she wooed into supporting her with all those slogans and suchlike.

You can see in the responses here , at the Alaska Dispatch, that news of Ms Palin dropping in to lift your morale and claiming to understand fish politics met almost universal Pffft!s no matter what side of the catch share issue one is on.  It is perhaps a sign of her greatly diminished influence here that the comments rapidly moved to arguing about catch shares themselves after folks weighed in on the ex-Gov’s fish knowledge base. We would urge you to do the same.

It’s hard for us to picture the short 13 mile coastline and small fishing fleet of New Hampshire  in relation to our coastline which exceeds those of all other states combined and fisheries which provide 78,500 jobs but it is not hard for us to understand the fears and concerns you have there about the change in your fishery management.

The catch share philosophy , while embraced by many , has had far reaching consequences here, many of which are not good.

We stand with you in your concern as this change comes to your shores.

The Alaska Dispatch story, Palin disses fishing quotas at N.H. tour stop, linked to a very good overview of  catch share information and philosophy per the status quo.

We would invite all who visit here to also look carefully at criticisms and recommendations for real change to the philosophy as well.

The concerns that these shares, granted free, granted in perpetuity, and treated like property to be traded or sold, is completely askew are real.

The concerns that these shares have tended to consolidate access with fewer and fewer and bigger and bigger businesses are real.

The law and policy which governs this should always be open to review and revision.

Everyday Americans need to stand together, not as individuals fighting the system, but rather as people striving to make a system which works for themselves.

This is not simple, easy stuff to follow but since it affects so many real, live people we think it is worth folks educating themselves some to be able to make better decisions when they vote  or align themselves towards or against policy.

We don’t speak up much here at Anonymous Bloggers about  things outside Alaska but this issue affects every ocean fishery in America and Alaska has been the “beta-tester” for the method.

Alaska Pi and Ugavic

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More important than any of the boy-are-we-tired-of-whatzername’s-lies  links above-

Further reading and criticism of catch share ‘stuff’ can be found at :

Rethinking Fisheries Policy in Alaska : Options for the Future

by Daniel W Bromley and Seth Macinko

Abdicating Responsibility:The Deceits of Fisheries Policy

by Daniel W Bromley and

FISHING COMMUNITIES AS SPECIAL PLACES:
THE PROMISE AND PROBLEMS OF PLACE IN
CONTEMPORARY FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

 by Seth Macinko

And we are hoping  Mr Whittier’s full length film comes to fruit.

Happy Anniversary Anonymous Bloggers! Looking back on our first year:

January 21, 2010

Anonymous Bloggers

Working together to bring relief to our fellow Americans!

Jan 21, 2010

Has it really been a year since Jane started this site?  We went from just a few of us who gathered here to exchange ideas on how to bring relief to rural Alaska, to having hundreds of people visiting here every day brainstorming both short and long term solutions to the issues that face rural Alaska.

We remember in the beginning when we first got excited that we had more visitors than board members.  Today we have someone visiting AB on average every 6 minutes!

What has brought nearly 100,000 hits to Anonymous Bloggers this first year?  Let us review.   Please feel free to wander the side bar and the archives to see everything we’ve been doing.

Here’s the time-line Jane created with a lot of hard work and patience.

Anonymous Bloggers our 1st year…a review…..

Jane started AB on January 21st, 2009  but we need to go back a few weeks before that to get a full understanding of why she made this decision.

Nicholas Tucker, Yup'ik Elder, Emmonak, Alaska

January 9, 2009

The crisis in rural Alaska came to light when Nicholas Tucker presented a letter to Fuel Summit Participants sharing the stories of people in his village who were suffering. His story was picked up by regional news outlets and eventually became headline news in Alaska.

Emmonak man seeks food airlift to combat economic crisis

A combination of extreme cold and high fuel prices has created a humanitarian crisis for the village of Emmonak, according to resident Nicholas Tucker.

January 14, 2009

Prominent Alaska blogger AKM brought the crisis in rural Alaska to the attention of hundreds of readers on her blog, TheMudflats, and asked for donations to send a filmmaker to Emmonak to document the situation. The footage eventually appeared on CNN.

A Cry for Help from Rural Alaska. Is Anyone Listening?

The Mudflats

January 14, 2009

One of our local progressive media heroes, Dennis Zaki of The Alaska Report, is stepping up trying to raise money to get to Emmonak and other villages to put a camera where it needs to be. Many national and international media outlets are interested in seeing footage. Flights are not inexpensive, and he’ll be traveling on his own dime. If you want to help put a spotlight on this issue as it relates to Emmonak and ALL Alaska’s rural villages in crisis, consider donating with the Paypal button below.

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Emmonak’s Nicholas Tucker interviewed on KUDO.

Hope Coming to Emmonak and Beyond?

The Mudflats

January 14, 2009

If you didn’t get the opportunity to hear Nick Tucker talk to CC on KUDO, he had a message for all those who have stepped up to help rural Alaskans who are having to make the choice of whether to keep their children and elders warm, or fed. “It’s a blessed day. It’s like angels have landed on Earth.”

January 16, 2009

AnnS left this comment on TheMudflats:

January 17, 2009

Enough money to pay for Dennis Zaki’s flight has been raised and he is set to depart the following day.

Alaska’s Rural Villages in Crisis – Update.

The Mudflats
January 17, 2009 Thanks to generous contributions to the effort, many coming from Mudflatters, Dennis Zaki of The Alaska Report has raised enough money to pay for travel to Emmonak and other remote villages, to talk to locals on camera, and capture footage for use by the national media. Dennis needed $2000 for his ticket, and will distribute the rest for energy relief when he arrives in the bush. As of this writing, there is $6283. in the account!

***

AnnS left a comment on Margaret& Helen’s blog (a blog that went viral in the fall when Helen made one of many on-target assessments of Sarah Palin’s character) saying that the crisis was more widespread. More people jumped into help.

By: Struggling in Nunam Iqua

January 17, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Hi everyone,

I was asked to come here and blog. I have been blogging on themudflats.net about how it isn’t just Emmonak that is struggling.

It’s not just Emmonak that is struggling it’s the entire Yukon Delta. I live in Nunam Iqua, a village that is 25 miles south of Emmonak. Not only are we faced with the same issues as Emmonak but also our crisis is harder because we no longer have a store here. Our trading post collapsed several months ago, so we have no place here to get groceries.

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January 21, 2009

The attention the crisis in rural Alaska was receiving in the comments section on Helen & Margaret’s blog caused complaints by some who thought the conversation was to far off-topic. Information about ways to help were strewn across the comments section of a number of blogs – it need a clearinghouse.

We our started our Facebook group and registered our domain name on Jan 21, 2009

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January 23, 2009

The first boxes arrive in Nunam Iqua and we started our blog!

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January 25, 2009

The first, and maybe only, story in the main stream print media about the crisis was published in the Los Angeles Times on January 25, 2009.

In rural Alaska, villagers suffer in near silence

By Kim Murphy

January 25, 2009

Reporting from Tuluksak, Alaska — As the temperature plunged to minus-40 degrees last month, Nastasia Wassilie waited.

The 61-year-old widow had run out of wood and fuel oil, and had no money to buy more. Nor was there much food in the house.

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February 5, 2009

Almost a month after the crisis in Alaska made news there, CNN brought it to national attention

In rural Alaska villages, families struggle to survive

By Mallory Simon

CNN

(CNN) — Thousands of villagers in rural Alaska are struggling to survive, forced to choose between keeping their families warm and keeping their stomachs full, residents say.

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February 6, 2009

Victoria Briggs first reported that the suffering extends to the Alaska Peninsula.

Letter: Hardship exists on the Alaska Peninsula, too

Victoria Briggs Ugashik February 6, 2009 at 1:28PM AST

Before you read any farther please realize we are not putting our hand out for assistance, but certainly do need it! I am a resident in a village that is very small, 10-12 full time residents, that face many of the same issues that the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta does.

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February 13, 2009

Food and donations from far-flung relief efforts begin to make a difference.

Worldwide donations find way to lower Yukon

A wave of donated food and cash has swept into lower Yukon River villages over the past month, with more than 19,000 pounds of supplies and $13,000 landing in Emmonak alone.

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February 17, 2009

The first boxes of food arrive in Ugashik/Pilot Point

ugaVic Says:

February 18, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Update – the first food reached us yesterday, thanx Seattle and MO (forgot the town – is written down – will fill in later) We got a box of food out to each of our most needy households yesterday. Since we hadn’t really said much about what we were doing until we had our food show up, they were surprised, overwhelmed and just so grateful my words can’t say enough. All of you who are working on this have them so surprised that someone actually cares – I can’t tell you the impact that has already made.

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February 19, 2009

Sarah Palin announces plan to visit rural villages on February 20.

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February 20, 2009

Sarah Palin Visits Russian Mission with Samaritan’s Purse

Video of Sarah Palin, upon leaving Wasilla with Samaritan’s Purse personalities to deliver faith-based aid to the villages of Russian Mission and Marshall. She states government is not the answer, faith-based organizations can help in the interim, but suggests young people should consider leaving their villages to find temporary work and return to the villages with the salaries the have earned to take part in the subsistence living skills they are trying to preserve.

Nicolas Tucker Sr., the brave villager from Emmonak who brought this crisis to our attention, flew to Russian Mission to speak with Sarah Palin. View a video of their conversation.

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March 2, 2009

Sustainable Gardening Becomes a Topic

The last few weeks in February brought some lively chatter in our Cold Weather Gardening threads. We were looking for sustainable solutions to life in the bush and got plenty of ideas and suggestions. Victoria answered many questions about garden tunnels and potatoes as a traditional staple; her growing season and tomatos and the 90 one-day-old chicks she was raising for summer egg production.

She told us privately she had been trying to get funds from the Ugashik and Pilot Point Village Councils to attend a sustainable gardening conference in Fairbanks to help start a community garden in Pilot Point but had not been successful.

We asked you to come up with creative ways to get her there.

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March 6, 2009

Victoria Will Travel to the Sustainable Gardening Conference in Fairbanks:

Thanks to all of you I am going to the sustainable/gardening conference!!!

L.Gardener stepped up and offered to pay for my plane ticket so it would be a ‘for sure’ thing. Then as people contributed we could gather funds and reimburse her. That is now done with a number of people from all over jumping in to help defray the cost. She shares some of the things she learned in her garden journal.

Victoria is a powerhouse! This post is a must-read to get an idea of her energetic enthusiasm in pursuing a more stable and richer life for Native Alaskans. By the end of it she’s already talking about her next project – the salmon bycatch issue!

***

Emmonak’s Nicholas Tucker rips Sarah Palin for “disrespect”

Emmonak’s Nicholas Tucker wrote to AlaskaReport.com editor Dennis Zaki and asked him to print his letter about his dissatisfaction with Governor Sarah Palin’s slow and lackluster response to the food/fuel crisis plaguing the villages of Western Alaska.

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March 17, 2009

Salmon Bycatch in the Pollock Fisheries

Our first post about the devastating effects salmon bycatch in the pollock fishing industry was having on the the salmon fisheries rural Alaskans depend on for winter sustenance.

We called for people to write letters to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which would be meeting in Anchorage April 1-7, demanding they call for a lower bycatch number than the one they were considering. We posted a petition and collected signatures from people from across the US and Canada and as far away as Germany who endorsed a lower bycatch. They were delivered by hand before the March 25 deadline for comments.

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March 31, 2009

Victoria to Attend the NPFMC Salmon Bycatch Meeting in Anchorage

Victoria, in an update, reported that she and Ann had been invited to attend the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting to speak before the council about the effects salmon bycatch is having on rural Alaska.

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April 5, 2009

Victoria Live Blogs From the NPFMC Salmon Bycatch Meeting

Victoria wrote about her first two days at the NPFMC meeting and continued to live blog through the rest of the conference. Sadly, the 68,392 limit was adopted, not the 32,500 that we had been urging, but Vic gave it all she had on behalf of all of us.

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April 16-27, 2009

Unusually early break-up on the Ugashik River

Normally it is right around the very end of April or the first of May before we start to see holes in the ice or the river flowing.

We usually go through days or even a week or more of open holes and areas of water. Then some breaking up of the river. We woke up Sunday morning, after a night of some winds in the 20-30 knot range and the river was flowing some.

Hubby, who grew up in the village does not ever remember it going from basically solid to flowing like this.

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April 24, 2009

First the bad news…

Out of Fuel in Nunam Iqua

Ann reported that Nunam Iqua’s fuel/stove oil tank had run dry. This happened because the early fall freeze in 2008 prevented their last fuel order from being delivered.

The next day, with the food drive slowing down, she and Victoria gave us a detailed update on the situations in their villages. This post offers another glimpse of the monumental task Ann and Vic undertook to help their fellow villagers and the extent to which people from all over pitched in to help.

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May 6,2009

In a conversation Victoria brought up to Ann how busy she was getting ready for the fishing season, and they were in need of  a good crew member for summer.  After hearing how mostly nonexistent the commercial fishing on the Yukon would be this year,  Segundo and Ann decided to take the offer and leave Nunam Iqua to spend the fishing season in Ugashik.

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May 9,2009

‘Tsunami’ Of Ice Wreaks Havoc On Alaskan Town

Breakup brought it’s own challenges on the Yukon, especially in Eagle Village which was flattened by an ice flood. FEMA stepped up to the plate this time and a plan for sensibly rebuilding the town using kit homes with the help of volunteers from the US, Canada and beyond was completed before winter set in. Bloggers worldwide contributed by donating money and supplies.

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May 18-27,2009

Watching and Waiting for Breakup on the Yukon

As breakup continued down the Yukon, communities along the way kept close watch on the flood warnings.

Bloggers waited anxiously for news from Ann in Nunam Iqua at the rivers mouth. She sent updates on May 18, May 19, May 22, May 23, May 26 and on May 27 when she reported that planes were able to land in Nunam Iqua and that her family would be leaving for Ugashik the next morning.

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May 28, 2009

The Stronghearts arrived in Ugashik.  Things are different there,  including cooking in Vic’s modern kitchen and bathing in the land of running water!

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June 28, 2009

Palin tweets that Emmonak residents are meeting subsistence needs

by Channel 2 News Staff

Sunday, June 28, 2009

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — According to Gov. Sarah Palin’s posts on Twitter, half of the people in Emmonak have met subsistence needs and the other half believe they can do the same. Palin says her rural advisor, John Moller, recently returned from Emmonak and those were his findings.

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June 30, 2009

Emmonak villager demands apology from Palin camp

Posted by thevillage

Posted: June 30, 2009

What was that good news? I asked Palin’s spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow, today in an e-mail.

“The good news – At the Federal Subsistence meeting in Emmonak last week, Nick Tucker reported that 50 percent of the residents have met subsistence needs and other 50 percent are confident they will meet their needs,” Leighow replied.

(Tucker drew statewide and national attention this winter when he wrote a letter describing a food and fuel crisis on the lower Yukon.)

Here’s where it gets complicated. Tucker says he never said that and is demanding a public apology from the governor’s camp.

“I want them to take it back,” Tucker said in a short phone interview today.

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July 3, 2009

John Moller: I talked to many, many people over those two days

The Alaska Daily News rural blog, The Village, interviewed John Moller, Sarah Palin’s rural advisor, on Wednesday. They we’re specifically interested in the display of civil disobedience in Marshall but, since Moller was just back in the office after being out of cell phone range while fishing, he couldn’t address that so they talked about other rural issues including the Governor’s tweet about Emmonak.

***

Governor Palin Resigns – Ann Asks What That Will Mean for Rural Alaska

After all the time we Alaskan Natives have been dealing with both the Palin administration’s actions and inactions toward the plight of our rural people, we now find ourselves asking a lot of questions. When I look at where we’ve come from and what I want for my people in the future, I find myself contemplating right now: What does this new leadership mean to bush Alaskans? Fisheries? Subsistence? etc etc

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July 11, 2009

Vic Took a Time Out to Give Us a Glimpse of Summer in Ugashik

So much of this time of year in Alaska, at least the western parts that fish, is rush, rush, rush!! You do any projects that need decent weather, earn most of your yearly income in a few short weeks and, if you can, get the relatives up to visit when it isn’t below freezing.

In the past few weeks I felt you needed to see part of what we try to sandwich in all this work, work and more work.

Time to view all the flowers, well some call them weeds, that spring up and give us color.

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August 2, 2009

AnnS Aired Rural Woes Internationally

Monday, August 3, 2009 – Salmon Ban on the Yukon River: (listen)

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has banned commercial fishing for king salmon along the Yukon River and is limiting subsistence fishing. The ban is in response to the state not meeting their treaty agreement with Canada for the past two years to deliver 45,000 kings via the Yukon. But groups of Native fishermen are ignoring the ban – facing possible jail time, heavy fines and equipment seizure. How will village residents make it through another tough winter if they’re not allowed to fish this summer? Guest is AnnS from the village of Nunam Iqua.

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August 5, 2009

Ann Writes an Open Letter to Rural Advisor John Moller

…During the program, moderator Harlan McKosato mentioned that he put in a call to you before the show but never got a call back.

Because rural Alaskans are openly voicing their serious fears about the coming winter, we were disappointed that you were not involved in the conversation with Ann and Nick on the air. Rural Alaskans need to know advisors have the ear of Governor Parnell and need to believe that the governor realizes today that things may be even worse this winter for rural Alaskan villages than the previous one….

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August 7, 2009

Alaska’s Governor Parnell Urges Disaster Relief for Yukon Fishery!

In a letter today, Governor Sean Parnell asked Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to declare a fishery disaster in the Yukon River Chinook salmon fishery.

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August 10, 2009

Legislature overrides Palin’s stimulus veto By SEAN COCKERHAM

scockerham@adn.com

Published: August 10th, 2009 02:31 PM

Last Modified: August 11th, 2009 06:25 PM

The Alaska Legislature voted Monday to override former Gov. Sarah Palin’s veto of $28 million in federal stimulus money for energy cost relief. But it was as close as a vote can get.

(snip) Palin vetoed the appropriation of $28 million in federal energy stimulus cash in May, two months before she resigned as governor.

She kept up her fight against the money by posting a message on her Facebook page Sunday.

“As governor, I did my utmost to warn our legislators that accepting stimulus funds will further tie Alaska to the federal government and chip away at Alaska’s right to chart its own course.

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August 11, 2009

Excerpt from a letter to a Tribal Administrator from Nick Tucker:

“…I want you, your children and grandchildren to get education. We’ve always been strong, intelligent, and wise, particularly our culture precious with values and teachings. Take that for our next generations. But, keep your heads up, your whole generation. We will have been a forced to be reckoned with, because I think, many of us are beginning to turn to God, and we might just rule with justice, goodness, fairness, and generosity again, but educated…”

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August 12, 2009

Obama’s Rural Tour Visits Bush Alaska

By KYLE HOPKINS

khopkins@adn.com

Published: August 12th, 2009 10:42 PM

Last Modified: August 13th, 2009 06:20 PM

BETHEL — Four of President Obama’s cabinet members whirled through a pair of remote Alaska communities Wednesday to hear an earful about the state’s novel needs and the borderline third-world conditions in some villages.

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August 14, 2009

Ann Writes an Open Letter to Governor Parnell, John Moller and others

…Although with another non existent salmon fishing season on the Yukon and winter fast approaching I am worried that this winter will in fact be worse than last winter. I was happy to see that Governor Parnell made a disaster declaration for the Salmon Fisheries on the Yukon, although I fear that this will not be enough

We at Anonymous Bloggers have been trying, in vain, to find out if the rural villages have enough fuel for the winter. We have contacted, with little to no response, the Rural Advisory Panel and the Rural Subcabinet and Rural Advisor Moller and the Attorney General.

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August 16, 2009

First Nations Call for Zero Bycatch

More than 65 first nations in Alaska and the Yukon are asking the United States’ Secretary of Commerce to ban the pollock industry’s bycatch of chinook river salmon.

At its annual meeting held recently at Lake Laberge, the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) voted in favour of a resolution urging Gary Locke, the U.S. commerce secretary, to invoke his emergency regulatory authority and order the pollock industry to reduce its annual bycatch to zero.

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August 18, 2009

We were all saddened by the unexpected death of Segundo Strongheart on Tuesday, August 18. He suffered a massive heart attack in the early morning hours and despite immediate attempts to resuscitate him including use a defibrillator under the guidance of medical professionals by telephone, he passed away at 6:00 A.M.

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September 4, 2009

Another Open Letter From Ann to Governor Parnell, John Moller and Others

…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…

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October 23, 2009

Pres. Obama Reaches Out to American Indian Tribes

By KYLE HOPKINS

khopklins@adn.com

Published: October 23rd, 2009 11:03 AM

Last Modified: October 24th, 2009 04:19 PM

The Obama administration is launching a rapid, sweeping review of the way the federal government manages subsistence hunting and fishing in Alaska, Interior Department officials said Friday.

“The system, frankly, today is broken,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced in a video shown at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention in downtown Anchorage.

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November 5, 2009

President Obama delivers remarks at White House, Tribal Nations conference

Pres. Obama delivered the opening remarks at a White House Tribal Nations Conference and participated in a discussion with leaders from the 564 federally recognized tribes. The conference is addressing issues facing American Indian tribes such as economic development, housing and education. This is the first such meeting since 1994. Washington, DC.

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November 26, 2009

Fall Sea Ice Flood in Nunam Iqua Leave Residents Struggling

Ice piled up during the Fall Flood at Nunam Iqua 11/11/09

The flooding wreaked havoc on the Yukon River ice. The flooding brought in massive amounts of sea ice from the Bering Sea that unfortunately is still clogging the Yukon. Several people lost their fishing nets they had set under the ice and a couple of families even lost their boats during the flood.

With all of this sea ice still in the Yukon River at Nunam Iqua it has caused a hardship on the residents. Normally during the winter families will go out onto the river and place fishing nets under the ice to catch fresh fish. But due to the mess of sea ice currently in the Yukon this has become very difficult if not impossible to do now. Fresh fish caught under the ice with nets is a large staple for families during the winter.

Since Ann is spending this winter in Ugashik,  she is gathering information for promoting an adopt-a-family program in Nunam Iqua to match donors and families directly.

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December 3, 2009

Bright Outlook for Winter in Ugashik

There is some better news this year coming from Pilot Point and Ugashik when it comes to our ability to deal with our winter conditions.

Our fishing season was much better this year than last on our main season of Sockeye salmon, although the Chinook/King returns continue to be dismal.

This allowed for most everyone to either work in the industry if they wanted/needed to and also to get fish put up for the winter…

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December 14, 2009

Rollie Briggs’ Energy Ideas for Rural Alaska

Roland Briggs watches new technology, guess it might be the Mechanical Engineering part of his background which keeps him “tuned in”, and he wants to share some of what he sees as exciting. As things cross his path and they look like they might have use in Alaska you will see him post on his new page in our Energy Section.

January 7, 2010

Alaska Federation of Natives calls for Native and rural subsistence priority on all Alaska lands

By Alex Demarban

The Arctic Sounder

The Alaska Federation of Natives lays out an ambitious agenda that seeks to expand hunting and fishing rights for Alaska Natives as part of the first-ever review of the federal subsistence program in Alaska.

In a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar offering ways to improve the program, the statewide Native organization draws on historical arguments and legal precedent to make the case that all Natives, as well as rural residents, deserve priority over other hunters and fishermen.

Salazar announced the review in October.

The Jan. 7 letter, signed by AFN President Julie Kitka, also asks that the rural subsistence priority be applied to all land and waters in Alaska as Congress originally intended.

Read the story

January 15, 2010

FEDS DECLARE YUKON FISHERIES DISASTER

January 15, 2010 by alaskapi

From Governor Parnell’s news release:

State of Alaska > Governor > News > News Details Federal Fisheries Disaster for Yukon Chinook Printer Friendly FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 10-010

Secretary Locke Declares Federal Fisheries Disaster for Yukon Chinook January 15, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska –

Governor Sean Parnell today welcomed a decision by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke finding that a disaster has occurred with the 2009 Yukon River chinook salmon run, opening the door for federal aid to the area. “I appreciate Secretary Locke’s recognition of the severity of the situation along the Yukon River and the dependence of Alaskans on these salmon runs,” Governor Parnell said. The federal disaster declaration is in response to requests made by Governor Parnell, the Association of Village Council Presidents and the Alaska Federation of Natives. The request detailed the biological and economic situation on the Yukon River and the impacts of the reduced chinook runs. The declaration does not bring immediate aid to the affected area. The congressional delegation must still secure a federal appropriation. Federal aid, once secured, could be used for relief programs, stock research, training programs, fisheries infrastructure, or other regional projects.

Here's a copy of the actual letter from Sec. Locke to Gov. Parnell

YES WE CAN!!!!

Disaster declared – now what?

January 20, 2010

Secretary Locke's letter to Governor Parnell

Jan 20, 2010

Here’s what AB has so far….

We were able to reach Senator Begich’s office this week and speak to a Legislative Aide who is familiar with both the process and declaration itself.

Part of the reason the actual declaration took so long is that there is not a set group of procedures or rules for how this process is supposed to work.  As any good government division should do,  NOAA wanted to sit down and make some rules  so that there would be an outline to follow.  Most of the funding following formulated requests have  been fulfilled through ear marks. This is a process the federal administration has declared that they want to get rid of.

With the official declaration there is now the work to decide what types of aid and programs should be requested.  Work has started on this task by the various agencies and organizations who deal with Yukon area issues.

The Senator’s office will continue to work with them until a complete plan is formed. It will most likely be run through one of the more umbrella groups serving the Yukon region and its people.

Everything from research, economic development, to direct aid will be discussed and a plan draft formulated.

It then will be presented to Congress for funding. The push is to try and include it in this round of budget talks.

There is also a state component, due to the federal Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), which matches the federal aid with 25% of our monies. This will take coordination with the state Legislative body and Governor’s office to calculate and complete.

We will continue to work to find out what is being worked on, what is suggested and how the time-line is progressing.

Jan 20, 2010

Begich, Murkowski, Young: Next Step in Fishery Disaster – Recovery

January 18, 2010

Jan 18, 2010

In May 2009 the federal Alaska Delegation,  Senators Mark Begich, Lisa Murkowski and Representative Don Young, signed a joint letter asking Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to declare a fisheries disaster in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.  The three officials praised the recent announcement by Secretary Locke to issue a Disaster Declaration for the Yukon River Chinook salmon fishery for 2008 and 2009:

US Senator Mark Begich:

“I am very pleased Secretary Locke has answered our requests and those of Western Alaska fishermen to declare a disaster after complete fishery failures in 2008 and 2009.  This declaration recognizes the hardships imposed on Alaskans in this region by the closure of commercial and subsistence fishing for Chinook for the past two years.

My staff and I have worked closely with the Commerce Department for a number of months on this issue and I appreciate the Secretary’s recognition of the magnitude of the disaster.

Residents who live in this remote region of our state face some of the highest costs of living in the nation. With heating oil at $8 per gallon this past winter, residents reported having to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families. The fishery collapse has made these already dire circumstances substantially worse.

This announcement from Secretary Locke while visiting Alaska comes as great news. Our next step will be to move forward on funding to support the disaster declaration.”

US Senator Lisa Murkowski:

“I am pleased that the Department of Commerce has determined a commercial fishery failure for the Yukon River Chinook salmon run. The poor runs in 2008 and 2009 have had a devastating impact on the commercial and subsistence fisheries and the declaration authorizes the Department to work to restore the fishery. I look forward to working with local communities, the State of Alaska and Commerce Secretary Locke to find resources to assist in the recovery and restoration of the Chinook fishery.”

US Representative Don Young:

“I am very pleased Secretary Locke has answered the requests of the Governor, the Congressional delegation and those of the Yukon River fishermen to declare a disaster for the Yukon River King Salmon run,” said Rep. Young.  “This decision recognizes the suffering by Alaskans in this region caused by the low returns of King Salmon over the past two years.  I will continue to work with the delegation, along with the state, and the local community however I can, to assist in the recovery and restoration of the fishery.”


Thanks to all three for bringing national attention to the hardships the fishery failures have brought to the Y-K Delta. We’ll be looking forward to learning more about sources of funding to support the disaster declaration.

Breaking News…A step in the right direction!

October 25, 2009

Oct 25, 2009

Obama seeks changes in Alaska hunting, fishing oversight

We’d like to credit two mudpups who helped bring this to our attention, Gramiam and GreatGranny2C, who found this breaking news.

Feds seek to reshape hunting and fishing rules

‘SYSTEM IS BROKEN’: Interior Secretary proposes to revamp oversight of subsistence in Alaska.

By KYLE HOPKINS

khopklins@adn.com

Published: October 23rd, 2009 11:03 AM

Last Modified: October 24th, 2009 04:19 PM

The Obama administration is launching a rapid, sweeping review of the way the federal government manages subsistence hunting and fishing in Alaska, Interior Department officials said Friday.

“The system, frankly, today is broken,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced in a video shown at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention in downtown Anchorage.

Subsistence rights — the battle over who gets the first opportunity to hunt and fish on state or federal land — is a headline issue at this year’s convention. For decades, the debate has pitted rural Alaskans and Alaska Natives, who say they hunt and fish to survive, against sports groups and urban hunters and fishermen, who argue everyone should have equal access to fish and game.

The state makes hunting and fishing rules across Alaska. But the feds regulate subsistence on federal lands, creating a confounding, overlapping system.

In contrast to the state Constitution, a 1980 federal law guarantees rural Alaskans priority when it comes to subsistence. Some Alaska Native leaders say the feds haven’t done enough to protect that right, and are proposing a resolution at the convention today that calls for broad changes to subsistence management.

AFN leaders met with Interior officials at least twice in the past four months, outlining some of those requests, said state Sen. Albert Kookesh, an AFN co-chairman who praised Friday’s announcement.

READ the ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE

*Update* Alaskan and Canadian First Nations and Tribes Along the Yukon Call For ZERO Salmon Bycatch

August 16, 2009

yukonriver

Aug 16, 2009

It’s too bad Commerce Secretary Gary Locke didn’t join the other Cabinet Secretaries when they visited bush Alaska as part of the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Tour. Residents could have explained to him in person a couple of recent requests he has received from Alaska.

The first request was from Governor Sean Parnell asking him to declare a fishing disaster along the Yukon. Everyone reading this blog knows this is a year overdue and we are very glad Governor Parnell is trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s crisis. Thank you  Governor Parnell!!

The second message is from the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) urging Secretary Locke to invoke his emergency regulatory authority and order the pollock industry to reduce its annual bycatch to ZERO!

At its annual meeting held recently at Lake Laberge in Canada’s Yukon Territory, the Council voted for a resolution asking Secretary Locke to stop the pollock industry’s wasteful practice of killing and throwing back Chinook/King Salmon that is snared in the trawl nets of huge floating pollock processing factories. Pollock is commonly used in fish sandwiches, fish sticks and imitation crab.

From the Whitehorse Daily Star:

Under current practice, when salmon are caught in the huge pollock trawler nets, the dead kings are counted and most are thrown back into the ocean, while some are donated to the needy.

“We do know for a fact that the pollock fishery is slaughtering wholesale and wiping out the king salmon stocks out there that are coming into all the major tributaries,” Nick Andrew Jr., executive director of the Ohagamuit Traditional Council in Alaska, told The Associated Press this month.

“The pollock fishery is taking away our way of living.”

YRITWC is an Indigenous grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of the Yukon River Watershed. Made up of 66 First Nations and Tribes from Alaska and Canada’s Yukon Territory, it is dedicated to protecting and preserving the river that for thousands of years has provided sustenance for those living along its banks.

This advocacy group also protects the river from numerous Alaskan, U.S. and Canadian agencies charged with regulation of the river.

The Roy and Lila Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University recognized this in 2005.

While at least eleven federal, state, and/or provincial agencies have some regulatory responsibility for managing the River and its watershed, no advocacy group existed that was singularly dedicated to the well-being of this watershed. Recognizing the need to preserve the River for the health of their communities, tribal nations, leaders and citizens along the River initiated the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC or “Council”). The YRITWC is the first organization solely dedicated to the responsible management, use, protection, and enhancement of this resource.

The Ash Institute recognizes part of the success of the programs has been its non-Western approach to its internal workings.

The Council maintains external effectiveness in part, because of the authenticity of its internal relations. Its operational procedures are grounded in traditions common to the membership. A previous attempt to use Western-style committees failed. The organization succeeds now because its guiding principles are culturally appropriate and explicitly based on the desired traits of an elder-modeling inclusiveness, listening, patience, knowledge, wisdom, and tenacity in all activities. These traditional norms and procedures help maintain the Council’s relevance to, and re-affirm its authority with, the citizens it serves.

This is the voice the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) should be listening to. Pandering to industry and special interest has led to deep mistrust and resentment of the NPFMC among citizens along the Yukon.

YRITWC is an organization formed solely for the wellbeing of the Yukon and its Peoples. It is important that Secretary Locke understands the importance of this request.

The Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council has a mission:

We, the Indigenous Tribes/First Nations from the headwaters to the mouth of the Yukon River, having been placed here by our Creator, do hereby agree to initiate and continue the clean up and preservation of the Yukon River for the protection of our own and future generations of our Tribes/First Nations and for the continuation of our traditional Native way of life.

We join the Council in urging Secretary Locke to consider the request sent forward by the YRITWC concerning eliminating bycatch in Alaska’s pollock fishery.

*Update*

Yukon River group granted UN status

Josh Saul
Aug 16, 2009

Earlier this month, Jon Waterhouse, director of the Alaska region for the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, received an interesting e-mail from the United Nations.

The YRITWC is an organization dedicated to keeping the Yukon River clean enough to drink, and three years ago the group began seeking special consultative status to the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council.

The YRITWC succeeded and will now join the 3,284 other non-governmental associations that currently enjoy that consultative status.

“It’s one of the largest rivers in the world, and one of the cleanest,” said Waterhouse. “And we want to keep it that way.”

Read the rest in Alaska Dispatch here.

 

Breaking News: Alaska’s Governor Parnell Urges Disaster Relief for Yukon Fishery!

August 7, 2009

Aug 7, 2009

Thank you Governor Parnell!!

In a letter today, Governor Sean Parnell asked Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to declare a fishery disaster in the Yukon River Chinook salmon fishery.

Residents of rural communities along the river rely heavily on income from fishing and have few alternate income sources. These residents struggle with a high cost of living and limited employment opportunities, and this year they are struggling to rebuild after devastating flooding. This combination of factors makes the loss of income from the commercial fishery critical. The estimated average household income in the area for 2008 was $31,866, a level approaching the federal poverty line even before adjusting for the high cost of living in the area. Commercial fishing is the only identified industry in the region that brings new money into the economy. Over 800 Alaskan permit holders are directly affected, along with crewmen, processing employees, and those who provide support services.

In his letter Governor Parnell acknowledges similar requests by the Association of Village Council Presidents and the Alaska Federation of Natives and offers his full support.

He told the Alaska Dispatch this on August 7:

“I trust Secretary Locke will recognize the severity of the situation on the Yukon and declare a fishery disaster,” Governor Parnell said. “I look forward to working with federal agencies and Alaska’s congressional delegation to secure disaster relief assistance for this region.”

This is not a task force or an advisory board or a committee!! This is a bold move to avoid another crisis. His request:

I ask that you make such a determination for Yukon River Chinook salmon fisheries and enable those affected by this significant resource disaster to access federal assistance.

Bravo Governor Parnell!!

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