This is a comment I received regarding the matter of commercial fishing and Sarah Palin, the Republican Vice Presidential candidate. I’ve decided to publish this comment in a post because of the author’s credibility—an Alaska commercial fishing family member—as well as for the interesting and knowledgeable nature of its content. Thanks, Liz, for taking the time to leave your comment and presenting yet another side to the matter!
thanks for the great site, it helped get me through our hardest fishing season yet. it always helps to have other fishing wives to help you realize that you aren’t the only one
writing from alaska, where i have been working hard to promote our fisheries, i have to disagree with you on the palin front.
alaskan politics have always been different than the rest of the world, but the one constant has been that we can always communicate with our politicians. not the case with this one. sarah doesn’t respond to letters, (snail or email), phone calls, refuses to to radio shows, phone calls, and rarely sticks around at events to even say hello to people, let alone talk about issues. she has been this way since she was handpicked by murkowski for the top oil job in the state. so it is scary to think that this woman, who doesn’t listen to her constituents, has the chance to be a 72 yr old heartbeat away from the presidency.
moreover, todd’s fishing career has been a token for her to wave around, rather than something she cares enough about to support. she is always saying that he is a commercial fisherman, but fails to see the connect that her running mate, john mccain, wouldn’t even show up to vote on the farm bill that we worked so hard to get rights for wild fisherman supported on. he did vote for the bill when it gave subsidies and credits to fish farms, though.
then there is the part that she was against measure 4, a statewide initiative that would make dumping toxic waste into salmon bearing streams illegal. true, in most parts of the u.s. this is illegal, as made so by the clean water act. but her friend frank murkowski (yes, they are friends though she ran against him, he hand picked her to sit on a commission she had no experience for) made it legal for corporations to make our essential fish habitat and rearing grounds ‘mixing zones’… meaning that as long as there was water in the stream 6 months our of the year, companies can dump all they want of whatever they want ALL OVER OUR SALMON EGGS!!! sarah, despite being the wife of a bristol bay fisherman, wanted to be sure that our livelihoods could be threatened by soaking our fish eggs in toxins.
she also supports the Pebble Mine. this would be the world’s largest open pit gold mine and would be at the headwater’s of the world’s most productive fishery, the very fishery that her husband relies on – Bristol Bay Salmon! the scary part of this is how they will have to extract the gold. with CYANIDE! one rice sized portion of a 2% solution of cyanide is lethal to humans, but a microscopic portion of cyanide, a millionth of a gram per liter of water is fatal to fish. sure, the tailings pipe from the extraction process is a scary thought – pipelines up here crack and leak all the time, and this pipeline would stretch along our salmon streams to the bay, but scarier yet is that this cyanide would be barged in and out on open container ships from here to china and back… and we don’t have the best history of safe tanker travel here. it is too risky, and her support of a unrenewable resource extracted by a canadian mining company over a renewable resource that provides the world with food and employs so many alaskans, is out of touch. we’ve had enough of companies not having to compensate the people whose lives they ruin… exxon…
so please, please, don’t think that just because she is the wife of a fisherman she supports us and our families livlihoods.
on the other hand, obama actually sent staff here to meet with fishers to write a commercial fishing policy:
SUPPORTING AMERICA’S FISHERS: BARACK OBAMA
Commercial fishing – both inshore and offshore – is critically important to the nation’s economy. The $65 billion industry provides 25,000 jobs directly and supports an additional 75,000 jobs across the economy. Healthy fish stocks are vital to the continued success of the fishing industry.
Promote Better Science:
The path to equitable fishery management is paved with good science. Collaborations between scientists and fishers, like the University of New Hampshire’s Northeast Consortium, have helped foster creative solutions to some of the most challenging issues facing our fisheries. Through its work, the Consortium has brought new insight to gear selectivity, methods, and stock assessments. Still, much work remains to be done. Barack Obama supports initiatives to improve the science and our understanding of our nation’s fish stocks. Through improved science, we can better guide decisions about how to protect the health of fish stocks, and, in turn, ensure a better, more secure and predictable future for our nation’s fishers.
Protect and Preserve the Oceans:
Barack Obama understands that the health of America’s saltwater and freshwater resources is vital to the economic security of coastal communities. Key to achieving that goal is abatement of direct pollution from industry and wastewater, as well as runoff pollution, which are significant threats to fish stocks. Obama believes this pollution must be reduced and prevented. As a U.S. Senator, Obama has been a strong supporter of the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration and cosponsored the Great Lakes Environment Restoration Act to protect the health of the Great Lakes. He supports full funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which funds water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, nonpoint source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management. If elected president, Obama will bring this same level of commitment to protecting and preserving our oceans.
Bring Fishers to the Table:
In its regulation of small business, the federal government has long known that it is important to involve small business owners in its decision-making process. The federal government’s regulation of fishing must be no different. Ultimately, fishers are the best experts in such matters and Barack Obama believes that their input should be sought out and respected at both the regional council level and the federal level.
Provide Health Care for Fishers:
Commercial fishing is unlike other industries in that its employees work on sporadic, transient schedules at the mercy of seasonal and oceanographic pressures. This employment pattern often denies them traditional health care coverage. Since 1799, fishers were able to participate in government sponsored health care. This program came to an end in 1981 and, since then, fishers across the nation have struggled to maintain coverage. Barack Obama is committed to signing universal health legislation that ensures all Americans have high-quality, affordable health care coverage by the end of his first term in office. He supports the Fishing Industry Health Care Coverage Demonstration Program and the benefits it can bring to America’s fishers.
—-Obama for America—-
As our community has directly been involved with both Sarah Palin, and Barack Obama, I welcome any and all questions and discussions from the ComFish view: firstname.lastname@example.org