Change, politics, crusades

Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2003

Cotter's My Turn, "Pew oceans report is not gospel," in Friday's paper, written in response to my recent letter on the Pew Charitable Trust's oceans' condition report, expends a reasonable amount of energy in recounting his involvement in Alaska's industrial fisheries management, and in lauding the rightness of U.S. Sen. Stevens and Murkowski.

I view Cotter's reactive words as continuing to cast political doubts upon Pew's three-year cumulative report, "America's Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change."

I'm only a humble artist, subsistence user, and always fervent Mother Nature believer, my gospel really. Rather then defend the massive Pew report here, I'd ask those who are interested to read it for themselves and draw their own conclusions from it.

This you can do at: www.pewoceans.org. Note the executive summary is only nine pages long. Read this, then move into the rather lengthy full report.

Cotter concludes his response by saying:

"The last thing our Alaska fisheries need is for individuals to allow their personal political feeling to serve as a crusade to change the way we manage our resources."

To which I add: Change is constant. Politics are inevitable. Crusades are the results.

Commercial fishing is certainly a large and varied industry. There are huge monetary investments and great profits to be made. But it is also a way of life, a job and quite literally, the only means of existence for some. To this end, the marginal fishers are hard put to compete in the big picture. Just as the small farmer is often squeezed out, so too are the individual fishers.

The problems that contribute to the situation are many; not the least of these is an increasing demand on natural resources by a spreading and an ever-increasing human population.

Also in Friday's paper (page A6) was a timely Associated Press article about the World Summit on Salmon, held in Vancouver, B.C.

The summit, at Simon Fraser University, included 160 scientists, fishing, environmental, and government advocates who met to provide input regarding the impending demise of wild salmon and its human cause.

Change? Politics? Crusade?

Alan R. Munro

Juneau



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