Dennis Zaki, who was the first blogger to cover the emerging food and fuel crisis on the lower Yukon River last winter, hopes to return there this week, to - among other things - give us an honest accounting on how the the communities are reacting to being forced to curtail almost all fishing, leaving their drying racks empty. Meanwhile the Bering Sea pirates continue to rip them off, making millions, and dining on hidden, stolen bycatch salmon, at the same time.
Here's what Dennis hopes to do:
Dear Progressive Alaska readers,It is a matter of great urgency that I be in Emmonak ASAP. The Federal Subsistence Board has called a meeting with the Emmonak tribal leaders and residents to discuss the Yukon's king salmon subsistence and commercial fishing crisis. At the State meeting last January, I was not allowed to film. Residents later told me the State did not want that meeting on film.
The people of Emmonak have been prohibited from commercially fishing for early run King Salmon. Alaska, the Feds, and the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council have chosen the marginal benefit of a few commercial pollock fishermen from Seattle over the livelihood of the villagers of Emmonak, and others of Alaska's Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
The fact is indisputable that the salmon bycatch of Seattle's pollock fishermen is the direct cause of the steep and devastating decline of king salmon in the waters of Western Alaska. However, few, if any, of our state's government officials have the courage to bring up this topic on the record, presumably due to the fact that they would be championing the "hapless" Natives (not a new concept in our history) over the strong, wealthy, lobbyist-backed (non-Alaskan) pollock industry.
What this intolerable situation needs is to be brought to the attention of the American people, even as it is being swept under Alaska's political rug. A few months ago, when the heating fuel/food crisis in Emmonak first surfaced, I flew there with my camera and interviewed the victims of the crisis. My filming gave their plight national exposure on CNN and other national outlets. I want to follow up the story and do it again.
We cannot let this problem just fade away as if our fellow Alaskans mean nothing. This is not just the problem of the villagers of Emmonak. As Alaskans, this is our problem just as much as it is theirs. (See: Lack of King salmon in the Deshka River, Ship Creek, Bird Creek, Kenai River, etc., etc.)Help me get to Emmonak to do something about it. The trip will cost $1080. That is $720 airfair and 4 nights in the Emmonak hotel.
Here's where you can help Dennis.
More on Dennis' upcoming trip at The Mudflats, and at Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis.
And Linda Kellen is seeking assistance, as she has to pay thousands of dollars to get documents one could obtain for honest costs, or for free, in states with "sunshine laws" in place. That's not Alaska, as we realize more and more each day.
Here's Linda's FAQ page on what she's doing right now.
It is updated from today, and you may donate there. I have.
Once again - Please help!
image - Linda and Dennis at last year's Alaska Democratic Party Convention