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.


Poachers R Us
A follow up article from Dec. 31, 2003, in the Honolulu Weekly








2003 Cascadia Times


Plundering the Pacific




What you can do for the Pacific Ocean?

While the ocean and the fish and wildlife in it can truly belong to no one, you as an American citizen and the federal agencies that manage these resources are responsible for how these resources are managed. Probably the single most important thing you can do as a citizen is to speak up and let your friends, family, community and decisionmakers know that you want increased protections for our oceans.


The 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 scale fishing.

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. Thank you!

Reprints are available for $5 each. For reprint information, please contact us at cascadia@spiritone.com.

There are several ways to do this:

1. Become informed about fisheries management. Two recent reports detail the state of America's fisheries. The first is the Pew Oceans Commission report which can be found at www.pewoceans.org. The second is the US Commission on Ocean Policy which can be found at www.oceancommission.gov. Various ocean conservation organizations put out electronic and printed information about pressing issues and how you can get involved. See a partial list of ocean conservation groups at: www.conservefish.org/site/aboutus/links

2. Sign the Conserve Our Ocean Legacy petition to build support for increased protections for our ocean ecosystems. Conserve Our Ocean Legacy is educating citizens across the country about the problems in our oceans and solutions. You can sign the petition and learn more at: www.oceanlegacy.org

3. Ask your representative and senators to reform the fisheries management system to put conservation first in protecting the ocean. Ask them to end the conflict of interest that threatens the health of Pacific Ocean fish and wildlife. To find your representative go to: www.house.gov. To find your senators go to: www.senate.gov

4. Join a conservation group that is working toward sustainable fisheries management. A partial list of ocean conservation groups can be found at: www.conservefish.org/site/aboutus/links

5. Vote with Your Pocketbook. Talk to the person selling you fish. Ask them where the fish came from and if it was sustainably harvested. Ask your market or restaurant to carry or serve fish that is not endangered or overfished and that the fishery doesn't have significant bycatch associated with it.

6. Learn about your watershed. All water drains to the ocean, so you're connected to the sea, even if you can't see it. Go natural. Learn how to maintain your lawn and garden without chemicals. The rain that washes off your yard, into the river, and into the ocean will be cleaner for it. Prevent waste — prevent waste from winding up in the ocean — choose reusable packaging and products, and walk on a cleaner beach next time.

7. Talk about it. Talk to your friends, family and neighbors about the importance of conserving our ocean legacy. Organize a slide show by a conservation group for your community. If you live in a coastal area, talk to a commercial fishermen about these issues. If you live in an inland area, talk to sportfishers about these issues.

8. Advocate directly. A direct way to ensure sustainable fisheries management is to participate in the regulation-making process. All Council decisions are required by law to include public comment. All meetings are open to the public. Unfortunately, meetings are usually held during business hours so it may be difficult to attend. Written comments are acceptable. Most actions the Councils take are printed in the Federal Register. These actions include meetings and regulatory actions. They include information about how to comment on these proposed actions.

Pacific Council (California, Oregon, Washington)
This is an excellent guide to getting involved in fishery management at the Council level.

Western Pacific Council

North Pacific Council