This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

January 6th, 2003

It Just Ain't Right

Don't you just hate it when you read something in the paper or magazine and you realize it is either a lie or so bizarre it can't possibly be true. Or maybe you know about a specific field or event and see it mis-reported or worse the whole thing is slanted in such a way you wonder if it is stupidity or intentional?

The State of California recently banned fishing, all fishing, around the Channel Islands. For no reason. No data was produced to indicate there was/is/may be a problem. Just a decision based on pop science. What is pop science? It's when any group of people decide they can make enough noise or apply enough pressure on a political group (read government) to get their agenda carried out. They just "say" there's a problem and they want it fixed. Doesn't matter if there is a problem or not. Where is the science in this one? The groups claimed the Channel Islands were breeding and resting grounds for all kinds of important fish. Breeding? Probably, but not year round. Resting? What? Any scientific papers? Any facts? Gee, don't bother them with that stuff - they all know better. So the local economy gets hit again, fishing is portrayed as nasty, and the greenies giggle, hold hands and sing together. Wonder what their next target will be.

It just ain't right.

Washington State. Mismanagement of the salmon/steelhead fisheries. I'm just going to skim off the top here. This one is so bad it would take volumes. Hatchery fish planted where they shouldn't be, competition between planted/hatchery and wild fish. Over fishing, tribal excesses, gutless legislature, wimpy Fish and Game Commission, nearly criminal mis-management of the resources and complete failure to enforce the existing laws. Really bad. So a few weeks ago, on the front page of the Sun is an article titled, "Why Snub Chum" revealing that our lowly chum salmon is being sold all over the world as "wild Pacific salmon," at rather hefty prices. The article goes on to explode the myths about chum salmon being less than wonderful and how valuable they really are.

In the very same article, (turn the page) "The mainstay of the tribal fishery now is the sale of chum eggs as caviar in Asian markets. At hatcheries near Quilcene and Hoodsport, tribal members gather to catch chum in beach seines. The fish are sliced open, the eggs are stripped out, and the carcasses are thrown back in the water to feed the crabs."

It just ain't right. It's also a lie.

The crab numbers have seriously declined in the past 5 years. Why? Because the State allowed Geoducks to be harvested with pressurized air hoses which silted up weed and eel grass beds, breeding and nurseries for baby crabs, parr of cutthroat, salmon.... Did I mention our glorious State also "allowed" the harvest of sea cucumbers? (Allowed means the State sold them). Some more of that pop science. No one really knew where sea cucumbers fit into the food chain, until they were gone. And I do mean GONE. Turns out these sea creatures filter a whole bunch of bad stuff, including PCBs. And did I mention Orca Whales eat them? And for some strange reason we aren't seeing the number or Orcas we use to? So the carcasses are being wasted because the price is caviar is higher than the price of salmon. Just tell the bloody truth.

It just ain't right.

I'm not letting California off the hook yet either. There is another plot afoot in the golden state. This one is "Water Bagging." Don't laugh it's real. This is a scheme to install cisterns several miles up the estuaries of selected rivers, along with the infrastructure to pump fresh water into giant bladder bags. These ocean-going bags can then be floated elsewhere and the water sold to consumers in other regions. Think this isn't real? A Santa-Barbara based corporation was stopped from its water-bagging activity on a British Columbia river and is now suing the Canadian government for instituting a "barrier to free trade." This isn't the first time Canadians have had to fight to retain the rights to their own water. What?

It just ain't right.

I've stopped watching a couple of commercial networks on television. Well, at least their news programs. It is not a matter of bias. It is lies. And that isn't right either.

I'm sick of seeing people claim they are 'experts' when they can't properly pronounce the name of the country they are an expert on. When fiction is taken for fact. When our country is at war with terrorists and the ACLU is defending the rights of terrorists and child rapists.

This isn't an election year. The politicians think we aren't watching. No one is paying attention. Wrong. The people in both parties in Washington DC better get it right - and straight. The people of this country are not so stupid or self-absorbed as to allow our government to put our country at further risk. Knock off the 'party line crap' - let's see the U.S. Congress do what is right for the country - not what is best for their party.

How about doing the Right Thing! ~ The LadyFisher

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