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With heavy lobbying to reclassify hydro-power as "renwable energy" and to seek funding for hydro-power projects "without restriction" and with the Supreme Court deciding it's okay for the Army Corp of Engineers to call mine tailings "fill" and dump such tailings into lakes supporting wild fish (Kensington Mine case), we're reminded that wild fish stocks in the United States are all but lost and the importance of wild fish as a source of healthy, affordable food, all but forgotten.

In Alaska currently, the last homeland of wild salmon in the U.S., the pressure to make money off of hydro-power at the expense of sustainable wild fish stocks is relentless.

Would a Department of Sustainable Fisheries help remind those in power that people can't eat money and people can't eat gold, but people can eat wild fish? The protection of wild fish stocks needs to be given a higher priority among legislators and policy makers.

May I call your attention once again to the Chilkoot River in Haines, Alaska?  

The Chilkoot River in Haines, Alaska, is one of the most productive small (20-miles long) rivers on the planet. It supports sockeye, pink, chum, and coho salmon, among other wild fish stocks. It supports traditional lifestyle and sustainable community--commercial, sport, and subsistence fishing and tourism.  It supports Alaska Coastal Brown Bears, moose, eagles, otters, wolves, beavers, mountain goats, coyotes, and more.

Alaska Power and Telephone (AP&T) has just applied, once again, for a FERC permit to build a hydro-power project in Chilkoot's upper watershed above Chilkoot Lake that will significantly impact the sensitive salmon spawning grounds located in the narrow wetlands there that is also part of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve (because of the salmon it supports).

Previously folks asked for a place to donate for the efforts to protect Chilkoot.  We now have formed Chilkoot Watershed Coalition (CWC) and have a website that provides information to comment to FERC (by July 6) and a place for donations for this cause.

If you are interested in seeing photos and a map of the watershed, if you are interested in being part of the network of individuals, businesses, and organizations working together to protect the Chilkoot River and its wild fish stocks, and/or just want to learn a bit more, the CWC site is:

Feedback, suggestions, comments welcome.  Thanks.

Originally posted to akmk on Mon Jun 29, 2009 at 11:57 AM PDT.


The U.S. could benefit from a Department of Sustainable Fisheries

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't think that a separate Cabinet level (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, lineatus, Green Karma

    dept is required, although I agree with the need to protect the salmon.

    Question: I have heard that Alaska's state constitution requires that all fish or salmon be harvested sustainably.  Is this true, has it been interpreted out of existence, and does it provide another avenue of recourse?

    I hope that Obama's EPA will rewrite the Bush-era regulations that led to that unfortunate decision.

    Healthy Minds & Bodies, discussing outdoor adventures Tuesdays 5 PM PDT

    by RLMiller on Mon Jun 29, 2009 at 12:03:33 PM PDT

    •  I agree not a Department, but perhaps an (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania, RLMiller

      Office of Sustainable Fisheries.  Really, we need an office of Sustainable Resource Use - sustainable timber, sustainable water use, sustainable ranching... so many of these are intertwined.

      They only call it Class War when we fight back.

      by lineatus on Mon Jun 29, 2009 at 12:17:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent question. The practice is lacking (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania, RLMiller

      though the theory is in fact true.  Politics overrides everything in Alaska.  And most folks now know Alaska politics pretty well.  It's all about resource extraction.

      One example of how sustainable wild fish stocks are taking a back seat in Alaska is the exponential growth of what Alaskan's call "salmon ranching"--putting hatchery smolts into net pens and releasing them into the ocean year after year, place after place, to augment sport and commercial fishing.  The practice has gotten out of hand (developed into a new industry).  Frequently this is for "terminal" fisheries--where the King salmon, for example, have no river to return to.  The risks are many.

      Mining, oil spills, and general lack of attention to sustainable practices within watersheds are all taking their toll.

      We know wild fish stocks are suffering in Alaska.  Salmon returns are poor in many areas.

      I would hope the Obama Administration would step up to the plate on this.  We sustainable fisheries folk are highly outnumbered by industry lobbyists, however.  Does Congress even know what they are voting on most of the time?  

  •  I suppose NOAA has some related programs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Green Karma

    which probably just need a huge infusion of cash and political will.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Jun 29, 2009 at 12:05:49 PM PDT

  •  A song you might enjoy: (0+ / 0-)

    "No More Fish, No Fishermen"

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Jun 29, 2009 at 12:07:40 PM PDT

    •  And the lyrics (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania, Green Karma, akmk

      No More Fish, No Fishermen

      (w. (c) 1996 I. Sheldon Posen, Well Done Music, BMI m. John Goss)

      Out along the harbour reach
      Boats stand dried up on the beach
      Ghost-like in the early dawn
      Empty, now the fish are gone.

      What will become of people now?
      Try to build a life somehow
      Hard, hard times are back again
      No more fish, no fishermen.

      No more shoppers in the stores
      Since the fish plant closed its doors
      Men who walked a trawler's decks
      Now line up for welfare cheques.

      There's big "For Sale" signs everywhere
      Pockets empty, cupboards bare
      See it on the news at ten
      No more fish, no fishermen.

      Once from Ship Cove to Cape Race
      Port aux Basques to Harbour Grace
      Newfoundlanders fished for cod
      Owing merchants, trusting God.

      They filled their dories twice a day
      They fished their poor sweet lives away
      They could not imagine then
      No more fish, no fishermen.

      Back before the Second War
      We could catch our fish inshore
      Boats were small and gear was rough
      We caught fish, but left enough.

      And now there's no more fish because
      The trawler fleets took all there was
      We could see it coming then
      No more fish, no fishermen.

      Farewell now to stage and flake
      Get out for the children's sake
      Leave all friends and kin behind
      Take whatever job you find.

      There's some that say things aren't so black
      They say the fish will all come back
      Who'll be here to catch them then?
      No more fish, no fishermen.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Mon Jun 29, 2009 at 12:13:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Careful with regulation... (0+ / 0-)

    As we saw with Bush, it can become a sword against change and science.

    Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

    by smartcookienyc on Mon Jun 29, 2009 at 12:12:48 PM PDT

  •  Maine lobstermen did a great job with their (0+ / 0-)

    resource. It can be done. The oceans can no longer be viewed as the commons, with no one responsible for its health.

  •  Supreme Court. This is what happens when you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    allow agencies to act in direct opposition to the meaning of the law enacted by Congress.  Scalia & his darling discretion.  blegh.

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