Fall 2003

Plundering the Pacific

Part 1: The CATS
Who Run
the Fishhouse

Imagine the CEO of Weyerhaeuser appointed to run the national forests. As part of the deal, he gets to keep his old job. Federal law wouldn't allow it, of course. It's a simple conflict of interest. But when it comes to the folks who regulate ocean fishing, conflicts of interest are not only permissible, they're a regular part of the game. Full story.

Western Pacific council pushes plan to quash historic coral reserve. Council puts corals, spiny lobster and rare monk seal at risk so a few can profit. Full story.

They took millions of lobsters, and monk seal pups starved to death. Graphic (large file).

Science Friction. Industry resists Pew Commission’s call for change. Full story.

Marine mammals killed by Pacific fisheries. Graphic (large file).

How to speak “fisheries”. Full story.



Part 2: The Rockfish Files.

Documents show the Pacific Fishery Management Council ignored scientific advice as it let the bottom dwellers crash. Full story.

These stocks are down. Hundreds of tons of imperiled rockfish are killed and wasted as bycatch each year in West Coast fisheries. Graphic (large file).

Private ownership of a public resource? The IFQ debate. Full story.


Part 3: Essential Coral Gardens

North Pacific council rejects plan to protect coral and sponge, though the plan meant
little reduction in commercial fishing. Full story.

Protecting our Undersea Yellowstones. Scientists find marine reserves build bigger fish and produce more young. Full story.

From Baja to Bering. Exploring coral and sponge secrets along the West Coast and Alaska. Graphic (large file).



Net effects: A conservation map of the North Pacific. Graphic (very large file).



Fixing our Failed Fisheries.

What you can do for the Pacific Ocean.


More information:

North Pacific Ocean Conservation Directory.











2003 Cascadia Times


This is an Oct. 6, 2003 memo from Hawai`i Longliner Association President and Wespac Council Member Sean Martin to Rebecca Lent, a deputy administrator of NOAA Fisheries.

October 6, 2003

Hi Rebecca:

Upon reflection of our conversation of Thursday I want to stress that HLA, the Hawaii Congressional Delegation and the WESPAC Council believe that the solution to this problem needs to be developed with those individuals who know best the local science and biology of our area – that is the Pacific based individuals within NMFS.

That is why we are asking Admiral Lautenbacher to immediately convene a working group that is comprised of the Pacific scientists and suggested by a Species Protection representative from the West Coast. Unlike NMFS In Solver Spring, we believe that there is more than adequate science, enhanced with the knowledge gained from the Atlantic studies that provides the highest level of protection to the turtle population while allowing our fisheries to again begin business. To delay the development and implementation of interim regulations while concurrently finalizing permanent regulations will only further devastate the turtle population at the hand of our international competitors.

As an industry we have attempted to work with the Silver Spring based team with no real progress in over two and one half years and running. That is why we believe that the only reasonable process for a timely resolution of this issue is for the Secretary of NOAA to immediately convene a meeting of the working group with the purpose of cooperatively developing and published interim rules dealing with the pelagic fishing crisis and to establish the framework of the implementation of long-term regulations.

We have further asked the Secretary to task a representative of the Office of Protective Resources who is Pacific based to participate in this group. In this way, all processes are fully compliant with federal law, those who know the local marine and biological science bet will be in a decision-making capacity and with the addition of an Office of Protected Resources representative the likelihood of subsequent litigation will be minimized.

Finally we have talked the Secretary to appoint the current acting regional director for the Pacific area to chair this working group under the direction of the Secretary of NOAA.

We are hoping the emergency meeting in Hawaii can arrest the threat of chaos that will emerge among fishing interests in the Pacific an minimize additional harm to the Hawaii fisheries and the sea turtle species in the region. With the Secretary’s assistance, we believe we can avert the threat of a fishery closure and yet another round of useless and unproductive litigation.


Sean Martin
Hawaii Longline Association