Friday, April 12, 2013

Recognize our Mortal Sea as we prepare to give away the Gulf of Alaska.

As we prepare to give nearly 45% the Gulf of Alaska away to the draggers, perhaps we need to be reminded of what has happened to our East Coast neighbors. If we are to judge by what has gone before, our management strategies, of which we are so confident, are flawed.  Our 'need' for development and growth and economic expansion are all inclined to reduce our Gulf of Alaska to the same empty sea as the Atlantic.

Take for instance the failure of king crab stock, once so abundant they could be picked up out of the shallows at low tide, now only a memory, a stock that should be declared endangered in the GOA. What about the shrimp, such incredible abundance...gone.  Tanner crab scarce enough only a few hundred thousand pounds for harvest, when there were once tens of millions.  Regime shift?  Decadal oscillation? Where are the halibut, 35 million small fish gone missing?  Avarice, over confidence and mismanagement have resulted in these losses.  King salmon are there now too, on the missing fishes list.  And the NPFMC can't control the arrogance of the drag fleet, who must already 'suffer' because they have to leave quota 'stranded' if they are to conform to the PSC caps.  The Gulf is not limitless.  The arrow tooth are taking over because the resident stocks are damaged.  The balance is upset.  So to solve it, we give the Gulf away, piecemeal to the draggers, then the pot boats, and finally the longliners.  They are all screaming there won't be enough for them.  They are right you know, but there won't be enough left for anyone unless action and not some flaccid good intentions are brought to bear by management.  The sea is mortal, like the buffalo, you can indeed kill them all. Watch. You will see.

Give a listen to the abundance that was once the Atlantic:

Winslow Homer, Fog Warning, 1885.

And keep yer flippers wet.

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