Oh, of course now a lot of Outside folks are paying attention. I suspect it has something to do with our
Has, uh, anyone bothered to tell our governor that the next election isn't until 2012? I mean, suddenly announcing a hiring freeze that isn't exactly a hiring freeze but will look good when you refer back to it in 3 more years, but frankly, I think we have a few more pressing concerns here, right? And a road to Nome? That's what you've got?
Oh, and for those of you who think that the folks on the coast all just ought to get out there and cut some firewood and not whine about fuel prices - perhaps you ought to take a look at one of the maps depicting the extent of the tree line. There are a lot of places in our state that do not have trees.*
And as for getting jobs, well, they have jobs, usually. But when they can't commercial fish for kings, they suddenly have lost their jobs. Worse yet, the money earned fishing kings helps support the subsistence economy - it helps buy the gasoline, fix the boat, etc. That's why it is called a 'mixed wage-subsistence' economy. Less subsistence food put away means you are stuck buying a lot more food from the store. Which is less money for heating oil.
So the news that the next year's king salmon forecast is poor again is that much more of a bummer. Suggestions that people forgo subsistence king fishing for chums are all well and good, that is food on the table, but that will not help buy fuel oil for the next winter.
Does anyone else find it odd that the Bering Sea pollock trawlers can catch and discard as bycatch over 100,000 king salmon per year while the small, community-based fishing effort has to shut down? That we haven't even managed to let enough kings by on the Yukon to meet our treaty obligation to the Canadians?
All so Americans can eat cheap fish sticks?