Empire has been mum on fish woes

Letters

Posted: Thursday, December 21, 2000

It has most recently, and very sadly, been discovered that Stellar sea lions are starving in Southeastern waters due to overfishing, or, excuse me, depleted food resources. Photos taken each year of mating and feeding sites of these communities reveal severely depleted sea lion communities, on an observable, photographed path to extinction. This crisis, for a variety of reasons, is man-made. And yet, we all seem hell-bent on disputing that natural resource industries, and our current economic paradigm, endangers wildlife and the environment.

Let's name it: a history of harvesting practices lacking vision and decency, fishing quotas in the billions, ignorance of basic principles of balance and harmony in nature, and fish farms clearly threatening "wild" life. Is it really a wonder that marine life is in peril, or even more succinctly, that the fishing industry, as we know it, is extinct? Enter George W., to completely miscomprehend and mismanage our already imbalanced global community.

And, during this rather pivotal moment in our community, the Empire appears decidedly mum on the situation. Barely a squeak about the endangered Alaskan species, no photos, no environmental storyline, as if the mere suggestion of a fishing moratorium is unpublishable. By contrast, the Dec. 19 Empire was brimming with announcements heralding new benefits for the industry: New increases in halibut quotas, the Alaskan crabber's boat buy-out article, and notice of the immediate development of the DIPAC waterfront-sportfishing dock. An unmentionable irony, to say the least, but don't you worry, "work must avoid the outmigration of wild and hatchery salmon."

I'm cynical. The Empire-or, and his minions, are naked. And it's not a pretty sight. Oh, and one more thing: a "park-like atmosphere" mentioned in the Empire's DIPAC development article, is an affront to the history of this great state. Let's remember: Alaska was once as wild as its fish.

Chris Joy

Juneau



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