By Laine Welch
January 09, 2006
Kodiak, King Cove and Sand Point have partnered to provide an early glimpse at how crab ratz is trickling down into their towns. They've hired a fisheries economist to track three key things: how many people are working in the crab fisheries, how the compensation of crews and skippers has changed under the new system, and how spending by the fishing fleet may have changed.
"It takes decades to really understand the effects of a major fisheries change, but it does have a profound effect on just about everyone involved or associated with that fishery. It affects whole communities," said Gunnar Knapp, an economist at the University of Alaska/Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research, who will lead the study.
Knapp said he believes there is general agreement that we "have gone into a lot of changes in the past without a whole lot of thinking in advance about what the implications might be, and without necessarily studying what the effects have been."
At a time when Gulf of Alaska groundfish is already in the "restructuring" pipeline, Knapp said "it just makes sense to know as much as you can about what the effects are likely to be." He added that radical fishery changes result in a mix of good and bad, with differing opinions on what that mix is. "It's useful to try and establish what actually happens not just speculation. And it's good to begin documenting it right away," Knapp said.
Kodiak city manager Linda Freed agreed. "This data documents some of the anecdotal evidence of negative impacts the North Pacific Council has been hearing from community members. It will help the city and borough make the case to council members to pay close attention to the needs of coastal communities," Freed told the Kodiak Daily Mirror.
Knapp will unveil the study's early findings during ComFish in mid-March. The formal ISER crab ratz economic impact report will be completed by March 27, 2006. Anyone with knowledge to share is urged to contact Gunnar Knapp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907-786-7717.
BAY DELAY - The date
for Bristol Bay salmon fishermen to vote for their own marketing
group has been pushed back from March 1 to May 1. Called Regional
Seafood Development Associations (RSDA's), the groups comprise
an innovative new state program designed to boost seafood sales
in 12 distinct Alaska regions. The RSDA gives fishermen the chance
to direct their own marketing ventures using their own money.
But first, they must vote to approve a tax to fund the RSDA based
on their salmon landings.
A one percent landing tax on Bristol Bay sockeye by drift gillnet and setnet permit holders (roughly 2,900) could yield more than $1 million dollars each season, at a cost of about $300 per fisherman.. The money can also be used for infrastructure development, new products, and various programs in partnership with state or local groups and agencies.
Copper River/Prince William
Sound salmon fishermen were the first to embrace the RSDA concept.
Southeast's Rainforest Wild will vote soon to include a whopping
69 different fisheries in its RSDA. "The possibilities are
very exciting," said Waldrop. "So we're going to take
a little extra time and redouble our efforts to get more information
out to Bristol Bay fishermen." Questions? Contact www.bbrsda.org
The BOF has two and possibly
three seats up for grabs. The terms of Fred Bouse of Fairbanks
and Jeremiah Campbell of Seward end this year. Board chairman
Art Nelson is also expected to step down to dedicate more time
to his new job as consultant to a Western Alaska fisheries group.
The seven member board of fish is charged with regulating commercial,
sport, subsistence and personal use fisheries in state waters,
meaning out to three miles. Members are appointed by the governor
and must be confirmed by the Alaska legislature.
New (or returning) members of the BOF and NPFMC begin warming their seats in the fall. Also of note - the NPFMC is seeking applicants for a charter halibut stakeholder panel to help craft a new management plan for that fishery. Deadline to apply is January 10.
FISH FARM POO SPREADS BIRD FLU? Bird flu may be spread by using chicken poop as food in fish farms. That's according to Bird Life International, the world's leading bird conservation organization in one hundred countries.
Fertilizing fish ponds with poop is a common practice in developing countries. Called "integrated livestock fish farming", it involves transferring wastes from pigs, ducks or chickens directly to fish farms. IntraFish reported that at the right dosage, the nutrients in the manure give an enormous boost to the growth of plankton in the fish ponds, which are the main food of fish such as carp, and (increasingly popular) tilapia.
Bird Life believes the practice may set up major reservoirs of bird flu infection, if the poultry providing the poop are infected themselves. The suggestion echoes the mad cow scare when cattle were infected by their food. The practice also puts a big question mark over a procedure that is firmly backed by the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Bird Life is calling for an investigation into the possibility that thousands of manure fed ponds across Asia may be the means by which the potentially deadly strain of bird flu is being spread. IntraFish said although no mention has been made of the possible links between poopie ponds and influenza, the issue has been raised before. An FAO report two years ago references a paper published in the journal Nature in 1988 titled "Fish farming and influenza pandemics.," It said bringing together fish farms and livestock may well be the creation of a considerable human health hazard.
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