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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
July 30, 2018

Front Page Feature Photo By KAREN HORN

The Turquoise Ocean
According to the photographer, biologist Barbara Morgan took samples of the water last Monday. Morgan said, “ I did a series of phytoplankton tows [last Monday] to see what is causing the lovely turquoise color in the ocean here. More north there is mostly Rhysosolenia, not toxic, and out south there is mostly Pokykrikos, also not toxic. There is still the chance of toxic ones [algae blooms] though, if but now then soon so don't eat personally harvested clams, cockles or mussels!” 
Location: Overlooking George Inlet Lodge south of Ketchikan.
Front Page Feature Photo By KAREN HORN ©2018

"Very High" Fire Danger; No Burn Permits, Open Burning Discouraged - In a joint release Friday from the Ketchikan Area Fire Chiefs, including North Tongass Fire Department, South Tongass Fire Department, and Ketchikan Fire Department.  Due to the recent run of warm weather with no precipitation, effective immediately and until further notice no burn permits will be issued and open burning of any kind is highly discouraged. - More...
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FISH FACTOR: Global Survey on Gender Equality in Seafood Industry Released By LAINE WELCH - Alaska appears to be an exception in terms of gender parity at all levels of its seafood industry.

Women comprise roughly half of the world’s seafood industry work force, yet a report released last week revealed that 61 percent of women around the globe feel they face unfair gender biases from slime lines to businesses to company boardrooms. The women’s overall responses cited biases in recruitment and hiring, in working conditions and inflexible scheduling. 

The findings were based on 700 responses gathered in an online survey from September through December of last year.  Thirty percent of the respondents were men; 27 percent of the total responses came from North America.   

In my view, Alaska doesn’t fit the picture. 

Based on “empirical evidence” spanning 30 years as a fisheries writer, I always have encountered women at all levels of seafood harvesting and processing, business, management, education and research, as agency heads and commissioners and in top directorships in industry trade groups and organizations. While women may be outnumbered by men in the state’s seafood industry overall, they are highly visible and valued throughout the workforce hierarchy. 

Maybe Alaska’s small population levels the playing field and smart, talented women are not so easily overlooked.  But that’s clearly not the case elsewhere.  

 In the survey, 33 percent of women said they have faced discrimination at work, 49 percent said there are unequal opportunities for men and women; 12 percent of women cited sexual harassment.            

One striking finding of the gender equality in the seafood industry report was that women and men have very different perceptions of the problem - fewer than half of the men said that they believe women face biases throughout the industry.

“Less than one men in 10 consider women are facing discrimination.  It is important to see that men and women do not share the same diagnosis. If it is not shared, things cannot change,” said Marie Catherine Montfort, report co-author and CEO of the international group Women in the Seafood Industry (WIS).

Many women said they are not given incentives to join the seafood industry, especially at school levels. 

An interesting view shared by 80 percent of both genders was that the industry holds little appeal for women. - More...
Monday PM - July 30, 2018

Alaska: Murkowski Questions Administration on Impacts of Seafood Tariffs - After the Trump administration announced $12 billion in aid for farmers last week, Senator Murkowski encouraged President Trump to take a broader view of the impacts his administration’s trade policy is having on various sectors, such as the seafood and energy industries, and reminded the President that trade assistance is no substitute for trade itself.

During a Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee hearing held recently, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) questioned Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative, on the administration’s plans to ensure our trade policy allows seafood producers to thrive, citing China’s recently announced 25 percent tariff on American seafood imports.

“It has clearly rattled my state. Our seafood industry is the number one private industry in terms of the jobs and the economic opportunity it brings. Last year with our salmon exports about 40 percent of our salmon went to China over the last 5 years, it’s been about a half of our salmon has been exported to China. And it’s not just the salmon. With Cod, 54% of our Cod [exports] last year went to China. So this is very, very significant to us,” said Senator Murkowski.

Murkowski said,  “We’re still trying to figure out exactly what this means not only to our fishermen, but to the processors, the logistics industry – all aspects of the seafood supply chain. And then the 10 percent retaliatory tariffs that were announced just last month put even more pressure on our seafood processors because many of our fish and shellfish that are harvested in the state are then processed in China before reimporting back to the US for domestic distribution. So, in many ways were looking at this and it is in effect, imposing a 10 percent tax on our own seafood. Which is just a tough one to reconcile.” - More...
Monday PM - July 30, 2018


Alaska Forest Association Members Overwhelmingly Support Congressman Young for Alaska - The Alaska Forest Association (AFA) on Friday announced that its Board of Directors has voted to endorse Congressman Don Young (R-AK) in his reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives. If reelected, this will be Young's 24th term.

Young is presented the Alaska Forest Association's endorsement in his reelection to the U.S. House of Representative. The endorsement was made in Ketchikan during a press conference.
Photo courtesy AFA

Friday's AFA endorsement highlights Young’s continuous fight – as a senior member of the House Natural Resources Committee – for the interests of the working men and women in the Alaska forest industry. Congressman Young was in Ketchikan on Friday and was present for the endorsement announcement.

“Congressman Young has always been a champion for the workers in the woods and in the mills. We can always count on him to fight hard to protect and create jobs in in the forest industry in Alaska. He is fighting now to prevent the US Forest Service from instituting an ill-advised, major change in timber management in Southeast Alaska which could lead to the closure of the only remaining midsized mill in the State,” said Bert Burkhart, President of AFA.

"And he has long supported the AFA’s legislation to establish a State Forest managed and owned by the State of Alaska. Don believes this is the only way to save the remaining industry and promote a recovery of the forest jobs in the State,” said Owen Graham, Executive Director of the AFA.

"I have always felt that it takes a strong economy to provide the quality education and healthy communities we all want for our families. That’s why my focus in the House has always been on economic development and good paying jobs for Alaskans. I am grateful for the strong show of support from the Alaska Forest Association and from its members throughout the State," said Congressman Daon Young. - More...
Monday PM - July 30, 2018


Fisheries: Vessel tracking exposes the dark side of trading at sea - First ever large-scale analysis of fishing vessel interactions exposes the potential extent of the unmanaged exchange of goods at sea, raising global concerns over illegal fishing and human rights abuses. The study, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, brings transparency to trading at sea. It provides the first ever public view of the extent to which these exchanges could be occurring and exposes the need for a global collaboration to improve fisheries management.

"The practice of transshipment -- refrigerated cargo vessels meeting with fishing boats at sea to exchange seafood, crew, fuel or supplies -- is common in many fisheries as it enables fishing vessels to remain at sea while their catch is taken to market," says Dr Nathan Miller of SkyTruth, USA, who led the study. "However, it lacks uniform regulation and transparent data. This hinders sustainable fisheries management as it makes it very difficult to monitor the amount of marine life being taken from the sea."

The lack of consistent regulation enables illegally caught fish to enter the market. It also creates the opportunity for other illegal activities relating to drugs and even people. 

"Some human rights abuses have been associated with transshipment. By allowing fishing vessels to remain at sea for months or even years at a time, captains are able to keep their crew at sea indefinitely, resulting in de facto slavery," say Miller. 

The outcomes associated with this poor regulation motivated the researchers from Google, Skytruth and Global Fishing Watch. They wanted to create a transparent and publicly available way of identifying and sharing transshipment behaviors on a global scale. 

To do this, the team analyzed over 30 billion vessel tracking signals to identify potential transshipment encounters. This included refrigerated cargo vessels loitering at sea long enough to receive a transshipment, or two vessels in close proximity long enough to transfer catch, crew or supplies.

"Our research is unique in its scale, but also in that we use a big data technology platform and satellite tracking data to provide the first public view of the potential extent of global transshipment," says Miller.

Analysis of the data showed that transshipment activities occur on a global scale, yet some areas had particularly high activity.  - More...
Monday PM - July 30, 2018



JOE GUZZARDI: Earth Overshoot Day Offers Sustainability Lessons - August 1 will mark Earth Overshoot Day, the day that worldwide humanity will, in only seven months, have taken more resources from the Earth than can be replenished within a single year. During a calendar year, the globe's 7.6 billion residents consume through overfishing and overharvesting forests more than Earth can replace and emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than ecosystems can absorb, about 1.7 Earth equivalents as measured in natural resources.

With 328 million people, the United States ranks third behind China and its 1.4 billion people and India with 1.2 billion in total population. Within seven years, India's inhabitants will exceed China's. Nigeria, currently the world's seventh largest country, is growing the most rapidly and is expected to surpass the U.S. by 2050. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs projects that the unsustainable global population will reach, unless immediate behavioral changes to slow the current growth pattern occur, 9.8 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100.

But the challenges that Overshoot Day highlights are daunting. The group of 47 least developed countries (LDCs) has a high fertility level, 4.3 births per woman in the 2010 to 2015 period. As a result, the populations of those 47 countries have grown rapidly, 2.4 percent. Although some slowing is anticipated over the coming decades, the combined population of the LDCs, roughly one billion in 2017, is projected to increase by 33 percent between 2017 and 2030, and to reach 1.9 billion persons in 2050. Africa will also experience high population growth rates. Between 2017 and 2050, 26 African countries are expected to double their populations. - More...
Monday PM - July 30, 20-18


DICK POLMAN: Lots of Tips on How to Live Sanely in Trumplandia - The pollsters at Pew recently reported that 68 percent of Americans are suffering from news exhaustion, and that jibes with what I witness on an anecdotal basis. I don't presume to everyone, but many of you probably agree that conversations with friends these days are sometimes strained. The dialogue often goes something like this:

"We've gotta talk about Trump and everything that's going on."

"I'm so sick of it. Must we?"

"How can we not?"

"Can't we talk about something else?"

Sure we can. But we're also well aware (or we certainly should be) that democracy at home and the western peacekeeping alliance abroad are under unprecedented attack by destructive forces in Washington and Moscow. With each passing week, the challenge facing each of us becomes more urgent: What's the best way to remain vigilant and still lead a sane life? What's the best way to balance obligations to self, friends, and family with the obligations of citizenship? Is it possible to monitor the avalanche of news without going nuts? How can we best calibrate these factors in year two of Trumplandia? - More...
Monday PM - July 30, 2018

jpg Jeff Lund

JEFF LUND: Summer reading - There’s a single hammer pounding on a roof around the cove. Every couple of hours a plane banks and lines up for final approach into the Klawock airport. The lone hemlock that stands in front of the yard sways with dignity unlike the alders and their dry leaves that are noisy in the wind. 

There are eagles. Of the few clouds, there’s one that looks like a grayling. Another that’s an elk hair caddis and then there are thin, white ones that aren’t much of anything except for what they are supposed to be. 

This is why I find it hard to read during the summer. Too many simple distractions. 

A few nights ago, around a campfire in which everything from proper sticks for S’mores to the importance of historical context when reading literature was discussed, I admitted my problem with reading.  - More...
Monday PM - July 30, 2018

jpg Political Cartoon: Congress August Recess

Political Cartoon: Congress August Recess
By RJ Matson ©2018, Portland, ME
Distributed to paid subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.


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jpg Letter / Opinion

Open Letter: Announcement By Austin Otos - To the residents of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Throughout my years as a borough resident, I have seen our island based-community exponentially grow into a flourishing travel destination for tourists and a stable home base for long-term residents. The unique environment our town provides - such as a sense of community - creates local residents who are committed and engaged in the betterment of our neighborhoods, schools, and fellow citizens. This tight-knit social fabric has had a significant impact on my life upbringing by investing my personal time in community service. Since pursing higher education and re-planting my roots back in Ketchikan, I’ve recognized areas our community could focus and build upon, thus creating a stable community-based environment. Economic and social cohesion are the building blocks of a society in which our local government should invest in, attracting entrepreneurship and providing a safe environment for local residents to prosper. Economic development is the backbone of any community; it fosters long-term employment and a healthy local business environment. I believe it’s the duty of our local Borough to facilitate private-public partnerships that establish new jobs for residents and attract locally-based business opportunities. By investing in tourism, seafood, forestry products, healthcare, shipyard expansion, and nonprofit organizations, we can spur long-term economic growth for local residents. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 25, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Simple Answers By Ghert Abbott - Contrary to what Alaska’s officials and legislators have told us, the solution to our current fiscal crisis is relatively simple and straightforward. All we need to do is reestablish the 1975 progressive income tax and end the tax deduction currently being given to each barrel of oil. The income tax would bring in a median return of $1.25 billion, while the increase in oil taxes would have a yearly return of between 900 million and 1.1 billion. These two measures, taken together, would supply enough revenue to largely fill in our state’s budget deficit.

There would consequently be no need for the state to confiscate money from your Permanent Fund Dividends, the most regressive and unfair system imaginable. There would be no need to for the state to draw money from the Permanent Fund’s Earnings Reserve, which is both freezing and endangering the long term value of the Fund. And there would be no need for the state to make further destructive cuts to essential public services and vital infrastructure: education, healthcare, policing, roads, and the marine highway system. Should the price of oil return to the point where the state government could be fully paid for with oil tax revenue, the income tax could be refunded. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 25, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

The Mind Reels By Winslow Myers - I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest." — Winston Churchill

Equally enigmatic is how Mr. Trump went about representing the national interest of the United States at Helsinki. Until Mr. Mueller is ready to provide possible clarification, the fog around the president’s motivation persists: narcissistic ineptitude almost surely; perhaps also kompromat, collusion, and/or fear of money laundering becoming exposed.

All the confusion provides an object lesson in the plasticity of enemy-imaging. As someone old enough to remember the lame British-American interference in Iran in the fifties, the hysteria of McCarthyism, Hoover’s clandestine harassment of Martin Luther King Jr., and far greater debacles like the wanton destruction of Vietnam and Cambodia, I persist in my skepticism concerning the degree of competence we can expect from the bureaucrats and generals to whom we reluctantly entrust our safety.  - More...
Wednesday PM - July 25, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Trump Is A Security Threat By Donald Moskowitz - Trump is a threat to our security because he continues to befriend Putin, who is an adversary of the U.S. and the Western world; and Trump continues to condemn our intelligence agencies.

Trump refuses to condemn Russia for interfering in the 2016 election, and he demeans Special Counsel Mueller, while trying to weaken the investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Trump fired FBI Director Comey and had Attorney General Sessions fire Deputy Director McCabe. They were heavily involved investigating the Russian interference in the election. - More...
Wednesday PM - July 25, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Reelect Governor Bill Walker By Gil Stokes - The 1st Alaskan Combat Intelligence Platoon was assembled to defend Alaska during WWII. The members of this platoon gave themselves the name “Cutthroats” as a nod to the special freedoms the military granted them in their operations. Fisherman, trappers, and hunters; these men were chosen because they had demonstrated an ability to survive and thrive in the harshest situations, to dig in amidst the heaviest storms. In times of peril, they could be counted on to run towards the fire. - More...
Friday PM - July 20, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

The Three Components of the PFD Tax By Ghert Abbott - The PFD tax that the state government has imposed on Alaskans is composed of three components. The first is the $1,000 dollar head tax that is taken directly out your Dividend. This is a quintessentially regressive tax – working and middle class people pay a far greater portion of their total income to the state then the rich, who pay practically nothing. This is perhaps the worst system of revenue the state could have devised and enacted. It penalizes families, taxing them higher then single individuals. It hurts young people trying to make a start and save for their future. It burdens retirees trying to live on a fixed income. Its regressiveness also discriminates against small, rural communities, such as Ketchikan, where the cost of living is higher. This results in wealth, population, and power further being concentrated in Anchorage and the rail-belt.- More...
Tuesday PM - July 17, 2018

jpg Letter / Opinion

Dunleavy for Governor By Jim Minnery - The 2018 race for Governor could be the most consequential state election in Alaska’s history.  The gravity of Alaska’s problems helps explain why—an economic recession, skyrocketing crime, and a state government that is in a perpetual budget crisis.  - More...
Tuesday PM - July 17, 2018

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