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
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
millions of lobsters, and monk seal pups starved to
death. Graphic (large file).
Friction. Industry resists Pew Commission’s
call for change. Full
mammals killed by Pacific fisheries. Graphic
to speak “fisheries”.
2: The Rockfish Files.
show the Pacific Fishery Management Council ignored
scientific advice as it let the bottom dwellers crash.
stocks are down. Hundreds of tons of imperiled
rockfish are killed and wasted as bycatch each year
in West Coast fisheries. Graphic
ownership of a public resource? The IFQ debate. Full
3: Essential Coral Gardens
Pacific council rejects plan to protect coral and sponge,
though the plan meant
little reduction in commercial fishing. Full
our Undersea Yellowstones. Scientists find
marine reserves build bigger fish and produce more young.
Baja to Bering. Exploring coral and sponge
secrets along the West Coast and Alaska. Graphic
effects: A conservation map of the North Pacific. Graphic
(very large file).
our Failed Fisheries.
you can do for the Pacific Ocean.
Pacific Ocean Conservation Directory.
A follow up article from Dec. 31, 2003, in the Honolulu
©2003 Cascadia Times
Plundering the Pacific
I N O U R O P I N I O N
Fixing our failed fisheries
Cascadia Times Fall 2003 issue, "Plundering the
Pacific," investigates the decline of the North Pacfic
Ocean and its wildlife in the wake of decades of industrial
The 24-page print edition contains numerous graphics and full-color
photographs that richly illustrate this report. Please support
Cascadia Times with your subscription
or by making a donation.
are available for $5 each. For reprint information, please
contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
self-interest, ignoring warning signs of declining species, knowingly
permitting overfishing, and looking the other way when accidental
catches - or bycatch - severely deplete vulnerable species such
as sea turtles: these are just a few of the features of the failing
management system that governs the precious resources of the Pacific
This survey of three regional
fishery management councils reveals specific examples of how individual
managers, the councils, and the federal agency that oversees those
councils have failed the ocean. Perhaps the most unsettling aspect
of this review is that it may be just the tip of the iceberg. Having
only begun to look, who knows what the hidden, cumulative impact
of 25 years of such faulty resource management may be.
And yet, with so little
knowledge of these cumulative impacts, we keep fishing. Part of
this has to do with demand for seafood. Part of it has to do with
short-term economic interests. But part of it is a system that knows
only how to harvest fish. When the
Magnuson Act was written
into law, the impetus was to promote fishing as an economic force.
Now, with major fishery stocks in decline and the potential for
many stocks that have not been assessed to be in trouble, not to
mention the corals, invertebrates and marine mammals which are also
in jeopardy, we have reached a crossroads in how we will manage
The recent prestigious,
multi-stakeholder Pew Oceans Commission charts a mid-course correction.
The first comprehensive review of US ocean policy in thirty years
identified the very problems detailed in this report and a whole
slew of other problems facing our oceans. From non-point source
pollution to coastal sprawl, restoring the oceans will be a tremendous
Restoring America's fisheries,
though challenging, is well within our grasp. We simply need the
political will to do it. A quick look at the rapidity with which
we created a department of homeland security indicates that creating
a department of the oceans can be done. The stakes are high: according
to NOAA Fisheries statistics, the value of commercial landings in
California, Oregon and Washington in 2002 amounted to $319 million.
Hawai`i totaled $52 million and Alaska topped the list at $811 million.
Economically, these are valuable natural resources. Ecologically,
it's clear that we really do not know that much about the ocean
yet from the recent "discoveries" of deep sea, cold water
corals to the complex interactions between different species of
The first order of business
is to reform the deeply flawed fishery management council system.
Separating conservation decisions from allocation decisions, that
is, removing the conflict of interest, is the first step. To do
this - and to take the next step in creating a management system
that puts conservation first (instead of commerce) and moves us
toward sustainable management
- your voice is needed. As the Oceans Commission stated so clearly:
"This is not a decision about us. It is about our children,
and actions we must take to bequeath them thriving oceans and healthy
So take a look at the ideas
listed below in the "What You Can Do" editorial and get
involved in restoring the fish and the oceans.