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




Bycatch: Fish and other living creatures which are accidentally caught, not sold or kept for personal use, and usually thrown overboard, dead or dying.


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.

Essential Fish Habitat: Waters and sea floor necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding or growth to maturity. Federal law requires fishery councils to develop plans to protect these areas.

Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ): An area extending from the seaward boundaries of coastal states (3 nautical miles, in most cases) to 200 miles off the coast of the United States. Within this area, the United States claims and exercises sovereign rights and exclusive fishery management authority over all fish and all Continental Shelf fishery resources.

Fishery 1. One or more stocks of fish which can be treated as a unit, and are identified on the basis of geographical, scientific, technical, recreational, and economic characteristics. 2. Any fishing for such stocks.

Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: The 1976 law (amended in 1996) that governs U.S. fisheries. Congress is considering a bill to revise the law.

NOAA Fisheries: Formerly the National Marine Fisheries Service, this federal agency has two jobs: promoting fisheries, and protecting ocean species from the fisheries it promotes.

Maximum Sustainable Yield: The largest long-term average catch or yield that can be caught under prevailing ecological and environmental conditions. Conservationists say the concept leads to unsustainable fishing.

Optimum Yield: As defined by the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the optimum yield is “the amount of fish which will provide the greatest overall benefit to the Nation,” taking into account the need for food, the local economy and the health of the stocks.

Overfishing: The rate or level of fishing mortality that jeopardizes the capacity of a fishery to produce the maximum sustainable yield on a continuing basis.

Overfished: A stock of fish that has been depleted to the point where fishing can no longer be sustained. In the Pacific region, stocks that dip below 25 percent their historical abundance are considered overfished. The North Pacific council, however, has refused to define at what level a stock is overfished. For most stocks no one knows whether they’ve been overfished or not. The studies have not been done. n