Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Faith-Based Governance or Hasty Covering of Butt?

First, show me the data.

Seriously, if someone is foolish enough to Twitter that 50 percent of Emmonak residents are meeting their subsistence needs (presumably for salmon, though technically, I think it is reckoned normally by species, not by general category, so they ought to state whether needs are being met for kings or chum), then I would like that someone to post the data set. And the methods used to come up with that assertion. At minimum:
  • How many households (the typical way of counting things) did you talk to? Or did you just randomly talk to people on the street?
  • What questions did you ask them? How you word something matters a great deal, as it will skew your results if you are not careful.
  • Based on the the number of households asked the questions, or the number of individuals on the street, or from how deep you plucked your data from your butt, how (numerically, demonstrable by the equations used) did you calculate that 50 percent of Emmonak is meeting its subsistence needs?
Oh wait, perhaps this is faith-based science?

I've not been under a rock, but away from the System of Tubes for over a week. But when I returned and started reading accounts of the latest stupidity emanating from The Gov's administration, I went to her website and watched the following video titled "Subsistence in Emmonak."

Does anyone else find it ironic to call an an elder getting fish donated (presumably) from the ADF&G test nets 'subsistence'? Perhaps a more accurate title might be "The Future of Subsistence"?

Apparently, a member of her administration provided video of an Emmonak elder getting fish from ADF&G (who he terms the 'game wardens') from what I presume is the ADF&G test net. (ADF&G test nets that monitor salmon returns typically will make fish caught in test nets available to locals.)

Second, is it just me or is this '50 percent needs met' a covering of ass should this ever get to a lawsuit? Lawsuits seem to be the final avenue of these sorts of issues.

Third, I fear that this could turn into a divide and conquer scenario. The issues facing Emmonak, a Lower Yukon village that used to have a commercial king fishery, are different than those facing the middle and upper Yukon, at least on the surface. If the Yukon villages start feuding amongst themselves over who is getting more kings and when, it is a distraction from the larger, long-term issues.

The real problem is the absolutely disastrous return of king salmon on the Yukon River this year. And whether it ought to merit a disaster declaration. And what the hell exactly is going on out there in the ocean, which really is a great big black box that we don't know that much about. And the truly fucked up nature of industrial fishing, whether it be in Alaska, or Canada, or the Mediterranean Freaking Ocean, because it is probably not sustainable in the long term. And the fact that fish management is driven by the big guys, not the little guys fishing engaging in a small, local commercial fishery or just fishing for food for the winter.

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