Archive for the ‘pollock fishery’ Category

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.


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 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.


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


January 23, 2009

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


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.


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) — 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.


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.


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.


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.


February 19, 2009

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


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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….


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.


August 10, 2009

Legislature overrides Palin’s stimulus veto By SEAN COCKERHAM

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.


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…”


August 12, 2009

Obama’s Rural Tour Visits Bush Alaska


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


October 23, 2009

Pres. Obama Reaches Out to American Indian Tribes


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.


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.


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.


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…


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


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


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

August 16, 2009


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.


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.


Open Letter to Alaska Rural Advisor John Moller

August 5, 2009

Aug 5, 2009

To: John Moller:

CC: Sean Parnell:
Daniel S. Sullivan:
Linda Lord-Jenkins:
Rachel Maddow:

Mr. Moller,

On August 3, Alaska Natives Ann Strongheart of Nunam Iqua and Nicholas Tucker of Emmonak were guests on “Native America Calling” on nationally-aired Native Voice 1 radio.  They were invited to discuss salmon bycatch and its effects on rural Alaskans.

Like so many other Alaskans, both Ann and Nick feel this is a critical issue facing rural Alaska today.

Ann Strongheart and her husband are working at a small salmon processing plant in Ugashik on the Alaska Peninsula this summer. She squeezed in time to spend an hour on the phone with NAC between cooking for the fishing crew, caring for a toddler, working as a strong advocate for rural Alaskans and being an expectant mother in the bush.

Mr. Tucker took time away from his subsistence fishing efforts to be on the program.

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.

If you were unable to work time into your schedule for that event, we would have greatly appreciated suggestions via the rural advisor’s office for an alternate speaker. Rural Alaskans want to hear what actions are being taken right now to avoid another winter crisis.  At the very least, we would have valued a simple response, of any kind, to the invitation.

People nationwide are paying attention to rural Alaska these days.  Will there be another winter crisis next January? Will people be asked to donate support to food drives because the government of Alaska ignored all the same warning signs, yet again?  If so, it will contrast mightily with the state attempting to pipe natural gas down to the lower 48 yet routing none of that gas to its own rural villages that recently paid $8 or $9 a gallon for fuel.

Please communicate with us.

The warning signs were there last winter but nobody paid attention.  We really want to know that efforts are being made now by the state to avert another disaster this winter.

We have posted this message on our blog. You may reply in the comments section at:

From: Anonymous Bloggers

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NPFMC: Fishing Dismal – Let’s Take a Road Trip!

June 23, 2009

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.

Rural Alaska gets voice in NPFMC committee

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.

The Mudflats and Progressive Alaska have much more on this and Dennis Zaki will soon have film from a meeting he’s attending about subsistence fishing in Emmonak tomorrow.

~ Jane

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!!

Alaskan Fishing Permits: Fishy Toxic Assets?

April 30, 2009


AKM’s post about 2009 fishing limits was picked up by the Huffington Post today. It should be front page news but, at least they are paying attention. 

One comment there seems to add another dimension to the complex universe of Alaskan fisheries. “TheRubberRoomHotel” posted a comment about commercial fishing permits 

AKM, Thanks for bringing this to national attention.

It would be so nice if our new administration could take notice of this. My community is already facing so much hardship with the cost of fuel and goods. This will impact it very badly. The sad thing is that people who have commercial permits here paid a great deal of money for them, sometimes upward of 60 thousand dollars, and they are no longer worth the paper they are written on.

Very sad time in Alaska indeed. 

To see the pollock industry talk about not making enough profit  and then hear statements like this, from a village where a whole community might lose its livelihood and investment to assure the profitability of the pollock industry, just does not seem right. 

To see villages dry up because what has kept them going for more generations than most can count, was pulled out from under them for profit – somehow there has to be a reckoning. 

Please share your fishing permitting woes, stories of hardship because of the limits last year and what you are facing in the coming months. Tell us what topics we should be addressing here! 

Quyana Cakneq!

Bob Poe: Let’s Hope They’re Right

April 22, 2009


By Bob Poe

Earlier this month in Anchorage, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council was faced with the Solomonic choice between maintaining the lucrative Bering Sea Pollock fishery and significantly reducing Chinook bycatch to restore salmon runs in the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers.


Residents of western Alaskan villages like Emmonak, Kotlik and Nunam Iqua were hopeful the Council would make real reductions in allowable salmon bycatch.  Commercial salmon fishing is one of the only ways to earn cash in villages along the Yukon and Kuskokwim.  Recent low Chinook returns combined with record high fuel prices forced some western Alaska residents this year to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families.


To read the entire post 0r post a comment, click HERE


I received a Facebook friend request from Alaska gubernatorial candidate, Bob Poe. When I accepted, he replied with this article  about bycatch issues in the Yukon Delta fishery. He offered his permission to print it at anonymous bloggers.  Additionally, Mr. Poe has expressed an interest in listening to my input, and that from all of us here at anonymous bloggers, in addressing issues facing rural Alaska. 

I  look  forward to working with not only Mr. Poe, but all current and future elected officials in building more sustainable bush communities.  

NPFMC salmon by catch meeting

April 5, 2009

Greed, Money and Fear Took Over and Won

Anchorage – April 7, 2009

I KNOW – Big surprise!!
After many hours of preparation and then attending of the meeting  we end with really no progress on a the by-catch issue.

The Council reduced the recommended 68,392 hard cap down to 60,000, and also stipulated that if the by catch exceeds 47,591 in any 3 out of a rolling 7 year period, then the cap is automatically reduced to 47,591.

The overall opinion is that this was little more than a token gesture.

We had hopes of at least seeing something around 47,000 for a top but it looks like all the money spent, fear induced and overall impression that “what we do is more important” that was produced by a handful of processors and a CDQ seems to have won, at least the first round!

The need for people to have the right to earn an income, feed their families and maintain my culture , could not win out over, “If you do this I will loose most of my profit” statements.

We are regrouping and have not given up the fight but obviously the efforts will have to change and ramp up in a different way.

Thanks for all the support and we will pass on more details in the next day or so as I get home, have time to review what all this means to the actual fishermen.



Hello All from the NPMS meeting on Salmon By-Catch in Anchorage—

I am going to try and do a running comment section so you can have an idea of all that is happening here.
So far the first two days I have been here, we have had industry report after industry report on the salmon by-catch and impact of the pollack industry in Alaska.
Some highlights (and giggles when they came) as most of this is VERY dry. (hopefully all my facts are right as I am trying as I go with notes)
*A good recap was given on the Alaska State subsistence report back in 2005. A few interesting things I learned;
The cost of food in – over the cost of Anchorage stores;
Bethel – a hub village near Ann’s village 197%
Nome – farther north but nearer oil fields 204%
King Salmon- a hub near us in Bristol Bay 218%
This was in 2005 so you can imagine the impact your lower 48 dollars have in food for us in our villages. We have still more cost getting it to our villages outside of the hubs.
100_11822*One person who represented the pollock industry spoke on how many billions of pounds of fish stick that are provided to the world as an inexpensive food source. He mentioned that there are some high value items but much of what they produce feeds many overseas. He emphasis the importance of feeding all these people.
One board member stated that he was impressed that this company was so worried about “feeding the world”. He then asked what they did with the by-catch they caught. The man was a little confused as he stated that they are required by law to throw them overboard. (He was right)  Then the board member asked if they did not have the option to freeze the salmon and donate them to a food bank? (he is right too) The man then stated that the fish were too thick so they could not do it (this is due to equipment on board).
Interesting the reaction of the crowd at the time – it was a ‘gotcha’ :-))
(UPDATE – I just learn that the food bank donations most likely go to Seattle, the home port for most of these ships)
*One report showed that if there was the low cap we are now calling for the last few years the EXPECTED number of fish that would have returned –
Yukon river would have had 5000+ more fish
Kuskokwim ( a river on the east side of Bristol Bay)  12,000+ fish
If you take the price of fish to the fishermen at $5/lb for an average of 20 pounds ( a med sized King) you are looking at 100,000 pounds for Yukon and a value of $500,000 to the commercial fishermen. This is the value of just that portion to the commercial fishermen and does not even speak to the subsistence value to family and culture.
Approximately the same value is for the fish of the Bristol Bay as we are paid someone less, $1.50 to $2.00, but look to have more fish returning to that one river.
This does not count all the other rivers where Chinook return and are harvested and the volume we could have. They also spoke to some of the catch looks to be from OR, CA and WA – the fisheries that are so impacted the last few days!!
I will give you an update on the start of the actual public testimony after the break. The bum can only take so much before I have to spend some time standing in the back listening, thus typing is hard:-))
100_1185Nap time – the adults are envious

Nick Tucker’s comments- (I do NOT type fast enough:-)


That he is talking for his villages.

Is he talking to the air? His villagers deserve more than that. He hopes he is not.

He tended to the wounds of his village during this winter. (he referred to it as the human tragedy, the lack of food and fuel,  a number of times)

If you have ears and a heart make the two fisheries together. We need your help!

They have survived together.

This statement deserves more and I hope you have questions.

He was asked why Nick is going  back to 1991 for a by-catch amount versus what they, the committee studies have chosen?

He stated that in ’97 was the last time that they made their full catch. (From 1998 to 2000 they started getting fish that were returning not as healthy, caused by ocean conditions. Then from there a number of thing started to happen that have led to the disaster of this past year.- clarification supplied by a great lady from ADF&G sitting next to me:-)) They, the Yukon River Drainage,  have been in a building and restoration mode for years.

He referenced the United Nation agreement? they made in the 1990’s to stop high sea fisheries to preserve fish stock and I believe a way of life ( we will look this up and get more info)

He referenced that no one cried that they could not make money during that time so we should be able to return to that time.

Next question asked by a board member-

Assuming that by-catch will happen – if it were caught and frozen would the villagers accept it?

He went on to say there is nothing that replaces the catching, skinning and all the other items it entails of the salmon that swim up the river. (interesting as I was wondering about the impact of not having those Chinook be able to spawn or at least a portion of them. Just a thought)

He STRETCHED it well:-) as he was only allowed 4 minutes but he made full time of it.



Nick and I spoke after his testimony and when I said that I was trying to get his words out he asked that I get the following out ‘ as loud and much as you can’–

We must work together and IF the Pollock industry does not start to do conservation measures now  they are going to pay dearly for it in the future. He is referring to the reduced catch limits that pollock industry are currently working under.

If I am understanding his concern correctly he is worried that they are not taking care of their industry as well as they should be.

I felt this showed a great concern for those other villages, like Coastal Villages, that rely more on their CDQ monies than a salmon industry.

Also Nick JUST gave me a copy of the full testimony he HOPED to present but is stopped by time. I will read and give you the highlights a tad later. I need to listen while doing this – so please excuse the bullet point methods:-))



One villager from MT View Valley (?) spoke to the need for pollock money to the continued health of his family and village. When asked what is more important, he had to agree that salmon was.

Vic & Ann, salmon bycatch, gardening & more

March 31, 2009

By Victoria Briggs

Pilot Point/Ugashik has had enough blowing snow and wind the last ten days-to-two weeks for us to think it was mid-January.  It’s been a winter of prolonged cold spells but precious little snow. Global warming at its best, from what I understand.

I am doing this in a hurry, so, if it is not complete, I apologize.  I will double-check before doing the next update.  Unexpected plans (see below) are keeping me hopping.


Mt Redoubt is wreaking havoc with mail deliveries, so do not be alarmed if your boxes are not listed.

1 box from B Family
Anchorage, AK

1 box from C T
Sterling, AK

1 box from E D
Wasilla, AK

Ms You Know Who – thanks for the hair dryer – it is already at work:-)

3 boxes from LG

1 box from Linda (my helper was writing, so not sure if the last name is missed or she couldn’t read it)
Willoughby, OH

5 boxes from TT
Juneau, AK

Thank you all so much and we really do appreciate the variety you continue to come up with. We are good at this point on beans, sugar, flour (I believe I got everyone stocked up well for a bit on these basics), and powered milk

Although we are low on supplies, I am trying not to panic, because I feel the lack of mail shipments is due to the volcano interrupting flights into the state.

Doing this each week, I (and sometimes my 4-year old ‘helper’) unpack and make up bags to distribute so we usually have a start on the next ‘bag’. This helps us give our families a balanced bag most times with a little from all food groups.

Spring may be the hardest time as we are still many weeks away from fresh game and fish or the chance to return to spring/summer jobs.

Two families were added to our list this past week, one returning from some time away due to health issues, and another finding themselves in a place they never imagined!

We have received the goodies for our toddler needing additional formula and for our lady with the yogurt/dairy need. Thanks so much from both of those families for keeping them and their needs in your thoughts.

I contacted the Alaska Food Bank and am attempting to track down some shipments of food to a local Native Association that the state sent out. No luck so far, but I will let you know when I find them.

OVERALL, please know we are ever so thankful that you continue to support us and keep us in your thoughts. The words of encouragement and ‘extras’ you are sending are helping ever so much!!!

Our kids have pen pals in Hawaii!

Our kids are corresponding with the 2nd grade class in Hawaii via letters and art. Wish I could send kid photos, but we have a bunch that are camera shy :-)

Hopefully, I will get some of the art work to share in the future with you.  Our kids are thrilled having ‘pen pals’ with whom they really have so much in common: fish, different weather than most of the US, different things to eat, ‘island’ life, Native culture, etc.

Salmon bycatch update

Yesterday, Ann and I were invited to attend the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage this week to testify directly to them on the Chinook Salmon By-Catch issue.

With travel being so expensive, over $1000 for us to just get to Anchorage, it was not within our individual means to go, and we did not feel we could ask for help again.

A group we have been working with offered to pay our way, which came VERY unexpectedly, and we are thrilled.  After some discussion between Ann and me, and considering her ongoing “bug”, it was decided I would make this trip alone. I am in touch with Ann and all those in her village who have helped us so far, and I will attempt to present their side of the issues as best I can.

IF I remember correctly, I will be allowed 3 minutes of testimony, amongst days of others doing the same thing. We expect to hear, mostly, from large corporations and some other groups.  Few individual speakers directly impacted by the bycatch limits are expected to address the council, so the hope is they will take that into account.

I will spend the next couple of days jotting notes on ‘talking points’ and getting ready to head out Thursday.  I will probably testify on Friday or Saturday and return Sunday.

The final bycatch decision is expected by the time the meeting adjourns the middle of next week.

Editor’s note: We wrote about the pollock bycatch cap in a previous post and asked you to leave comments asking NPFMC to set a 32,500 cap on salmon bycatch. You left a total of 43 comments and they were delivered to NPFMC before the March 25 deadline.

Victoria will now be there in person to present our comments and speak to the Council. Our comments from the lower 48 and as far away as Germany will let them know it’s not just rural Alaskans waiting for them to do the right thing.

In other news…

window-plants-kitchen-windowIn the Bristol Bay/Alaska Peninsula area, where Pilot Point and Ugashik are located, we have two different meetings this week.  The first one is in preparation for a meeting later in the year that deals with fishing regulations for our area.  A second meeting this week deals with the lack of a subsistence level of moose. These will keep a number of us busy for a few days.

I continue to work on the gardening updates so keep checking in on our ‘gardening journal’ page. We are putting a plan together for the kids to start seed before they leave school in May and planning how we will get the garden under way when life gets ever so busy for all of us due to fishing.

I am going to have to end for now as there is much to do before I leave for the meeting but know that Ann and I are ‘talking’ and our team of ‘helpers’ are keeping us sane with all of their support.

There are not enough or the right words to express all we both feel, and the villagers you are touching, with this show of support!!

Don’t make us do this! Cap bycatch at 32,500

March 17, 2009

Update: The deadline for comments was March 25 and our comments have been delivered to the NPFMC. Thank you all for your thoughts! We will let you know what the outcome of the meeting is.

Send your comments to NPFMC asking them to cap salmon bycatch before March 25!!

fishsand3Factory-owned trawlers fishing for pollock in the waters off Alaska’s coast cater to America and the world’s growing appetite for fast-food fish sandwiches, fish sticks and imitation crab (Krab) and lobster.

Sadly, tens of thousands of salmon are snared in the huge nets of pollock trawlers and don’t live to make their right of passage – a courageous trip against the pristine  river currents of Alaska, and some all the way to spawning grounds in Canada to reproduce and guarantee the survival of their species.

Rural communities in Alaska depend on a healthy salmon run each year. Subsistence fishermen fish throughout the summer, under strict regulations, and normally harvest enough salmon to preserve for the winter. The local commercial village fishermen also use their catch to pay for their families’ need for cash items like fuel, help support local businesses and pump cash into local economies that help others support their families.

Commercial pollock trawlers are intercepting and killing these same salmon upon which rural fishermen depend. Since 2002 the bycatch, salmon caught in pollock nets, has been as high as 121,000 – many of which should have been preserved and stored in our neighbor’s winter pantries.

Native Americans living in villages in rural Alaska depend on an abundance of salmon. This winter’s scarcity brought to the forefront just how important a healthy salmon fishery is.

salmonsafePlease take a few moments to let the North Pacific Fishery Management Council know the world is watching. Demand that they cap salmon bycatch at 32,500 so more Chinook salmon have a chance to swim upstream next summer.

It took a worldwide boycott to make tuna dolphin-safe. Self-regulation has not been working in the pollock fishing industry. Add your voice to the cry for a salmon bycatch cap, send a comment to the NPFMC here.

The salmon bycatch cap and why it’s important…

Send comments to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council before March 25, 2009 demanding a 32,500 bycatch cap!

The demand for pollock to produce fish sticks, fish patties, imitation crab and many other fish products is threatening the health of a huge fishery off Alaska’s coast. Huge factory-owned trawlers capture tens of thousands of salmon in their nets. This “bycatch” in thrown back, dead after hours of being dragged in a trawl net

Fishermen in rural villages depend on a healthy salmon run each year. For thousands of years, Native American villagers have relied on an abundant salmon run to preserve for their winter diet. The salmon run was so bad this year that rural Alaskans are struggling to feed their families.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet April 1-7, 2009 in Anchorage to choose a management measure to reduce Chinook salmon bycatch. The Council is considering a hard cap on salmon bycatch, which would close the pollock fishery down once the cap was reached. The Council is considering a range of hard caps from 29,000 to 87,500. Many Western Alaska groups are recommending a hard cap of 32,500 or lower. This 32,500 cap is based on the average bycatch prior to 2002, when the Yukon River Salmon Agreement was signed. The Agreement requires bycatch reduction and meeting escapement goals into Canada every year. Since 2002 bycatch has gone up, with over 121,000 Chinook salmon killed in the pollock fishery in one year!

The Chinook salmon that die each year in pollock nets would make a huge difference in the life and wellbeing of hundreds of rural Alaskan families in coming years. In these hard times for our communities and our Chinook salmon runs, every single salmon makes a difference.

Please join us in our effort to protect the Chinook salmon that Alaska’s Native peoples depend upon. Send a comment to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council asking them to protect salmon from pollock fishing bycatch.

They will be accepting written comments for consideration until March 25. You can also provide comments in person at the meeting in Anchorage, April 1-7. Please take a moment to request the bycatch cap be set at 32,500 for Chinook salmon.

Key points to include in comments are:

• The importance of Chinook salmon to you and the people of your region for subsistence and/or commercial fisheries;
• The impacts recent years of low Chinook runs have had on you, your family and your community;
• The Council and NMFS should adopt a hard cap of no more than 32,500 Chinook salmon immediately to protect Western Alaska Chinook salmon.

You can submit written comments to the Council.

Send to: North Pacific Fishery Management Council
605 West 4 Avenue, Suite 306
Anchorage, AK 99501-2252
Fax: (907) 271-2817