Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nick Andrew & William Andrew's Letter on the Marshall Fish Bust

Nick P. Andrew Jr. and William C. Andrew

Ohogamiut Traditional Council

October 06, 2009 at 8:04AM AKST

The Ohogamiut Traditional Council (OTC) as a federally recognized Alaskan Native tribal government opposes the citation issued on Jason Isaac for the protest fishing in late June.

On Sept. 30, 2009, two wildlife enforcement officers from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service flew into Marshall three months after the “Marshall Protest” occurred and ticketed Isaac, who serves as the OTC tribal president, and lone Marshall village police officer.

The citation was written for $275.00 according to 50 CFR 100.19 (g). Jason Isaac was the only person that admitted to the “illegal fishing” that prompted international media attention, high lighting the strong message of the dire situation our people are facing.

King salmon is our traditional and customary staple food source, and after a long hard expensive winter compounded by the energy crisis of 2008, we needed to get the message out that we will no longer sit idle and silent as another injustice happened at the hands of the state and key federal fishery managers.

One of the most important Yup’ik Eskimo cultural, traditional, and customary morals and beliefs encourages helping those most in need. Tribal Elder Paul Boots also firmly believes that no crime was committed, nor should anyone fight over a food resource that nature alone manages.

He said, “king salmon feeds us, and we should not fight over who gets to eat it."
Jason Isaac, who wants to get the message out that he is no criminal or a salmon poacher, stated, “I did nothing wrong, we helped those who could not provide for themselves, especially our elders, widows, and the disabled."

He further added that his citation should be “thrown out” based on the fact that the Pilot Station Sonar miscounted migrating king salmon this earlier summer, which affected both the subsistence and commercial opportunities during these trying times.

The OTC is requesting support and advocacy from the Native community of Alaska to urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to have the charges dismissed.

We also ask that all Alaskan tribal governments and regional nonprofit Native organizations revoke their working relationships with state and federal subsistence managers until this matter is resolved.

Subsistence is our God-given right that predates this nation and we must continue in our endeavors to preserve this right for those yet to be born.


funkalunatic said...

I'm not originally from around here, and I don't know much about fish issues, but if I'm following right, it goes a little like this:

-Outside corporations have been granted ownership of certain Bering Sea fisheries.
-Outside corporations waste tens of thousands of kings per year while trawling for pollock because changing fishing methods would cut into profits. These methods also have other immensely negative impacts on ocean ecosystems.
-The king salmon fishery depended on for centuries by now-impoverished communities is collapsing.
-To the corporations, authorities say carry on, and make symbolic bycatch cuts that won't be implemented for more than a year, and won't really change much.
-To the salmon-dependent communities, authorities say "Less fish for you!"
-Salmon-dependent communities lose faith in authorities, one stages a protest fishery so that people in the community won't starve and/or freeze later. The number of fish caught is a minuscule fraction of the number wasted by the pollock industry each year.
-The authorities don't notice.
-Community issues a press release.
-The authorities spend thousands of dollars in travel, per diem, and payroll to write some guy a $275 ticket for fessing up.

This is just perverted.

Philip Munger said...



You have a way with explaining the insane.

Anonymous said...

Explain the villages hypocritical position of complaining loudly while cashing in big checks quietly and totally supporting NPFMC trawl policy..

Coastal Villages CDQ Group, hardly an "Outside Corporation" owns 40% of American Seafoods. All six CDQ groups have formed partnerships with offshore pollock companies: five with factory trawler operations and one, Yukon Delta, with an offshore mothership operation. Today, five CDQ groups are part owners of factory trawler companies.

alaskapi said...

you've got a lot of the pieces... there are a few more.
On the Yukon, add in that those pesky salmon swim against most human notions of water rights. People are very used to the idea that what those do upstream affects those downstream... it's taking a lot longer to get hold of what happens downstream affecting those upstream.
Add in the Pacific Salmon Treaty and another set or 2 of authorities.
Also, add in the State of Alaska v the Fed regarding subsistence management- another whopping mess to further stir the pot.

I wish it was clearcut as mere hypocrisy- the CDQ thingy.
As time goes on I think it's obvious that the CDQ portion of the MSA is operating just as the more cynical stakeholders in the groundfish industry hoped it would.
By establishing money stakes and benefits for coastal communities within 20 miles of the Bering Sea the MSA effectively silenced the folks who first felt shifts in the salmon fishery...
Ex Senator Stevens was quite enamored of the business model of corporate structure being the way to deal with EVERYTHING.
The limitations inherent in that structure actually providing the benefits the law says it must are obvious and the tendency toward CDQs being more and more married to the status quo of the groundfish industry are built into the whole shebang.
The CDQs have turned out to be the double-edged sword of enough benefit to obscure the fact they effectively co-opt coastal voices who question things as time goes on.
It has divided coastal communities AND made them dependant on that which harms them.
It has made upstream folks suspicious of anything which comes out of coastal communities...

Some of the CDQ mess reminds me of the way the PFD has allowed Alaskan voters to keep their eye on THAT prize and ignore open corruption in the oil industry which fed that pot...and to ignore whether the state, which is ours, is meeting it's obligations to all citizens as long as the PFD hits the bank on time. But, then- I'm getting too cynical for my own comfort as time goes on... so ignore that last crack. Sigh.

Polarbear said...

I love the part where ADF&G deploys a fish-counting sonar, observes all-time record low fish counts, and fails to calibrate their sonar. If this kind of incompetence forms the basis of the closure, then the judge will hopefully toss any subsequent citations.