Alaskan Environmental Failure

SUBHEAD: Global Warming, Ocean Acidification, Fukushima Radiation, Overfishing? Alaska fisheries are in midst of an economic collapse.

By Canis Maximus on 29 July 2014 for Daily Kos -

Image above: Unusual growth observed in salmon tissue from Hydaburg, Alaska on 24 October 2013. From (

And not one politician is talking about it. But fisherman are talking about it. The people in the villages are talking about it. People who rely on outfitting the boats, who repair boats; the fish buyers and brokers. The cannery workers(!), the roe packers, and all the ancillary businesses.

They're talking about it. And what they are talking about is ocean acidification.

My daughter is a customer service rep at a major company. She deals with customers from all over the state; from Barrow to Ketchikan to Nome to Valdez to Cantwell to Kodiak, Dutch Harbor and ALL the Interior. So she hears a LOT of 'local' news from people who chit-chat; who k'vetch about politics, the economy and Obama.

But since the opening of the herring fishery and the salmon fisheries, it been about the failure of the runs. But as you see in the link, they aren't talking about why and what might be happening in the ocean while the fish are pelagic. One captain with whom my daughter spoke said it's the worst he's ever seen. He's hauled maybe 5 tons when he should have had 100-120 thousand pounds.

Others (crew, hands, etc) talk about working two weeks and being basically in the hole. My daughter says that many, many of them talk about 'ocean acidification.' The salmon just aren't showing up, especially Reds and Kings.

Many have lesions or worms and parasites.The crabs they are seeing are more easily damaged and there is a lot of 'dead catch'.

She also says that many of the old-timers are talking about Fukushima too. She says these guys are convinced it has something to do with it.

Other fisheries and species are also dropping off the cliff (herring, rock cod, ling cod, halibut, pollock) This is what is NOT being talked about in the so-called 'media' up here.  Don't want the tourists to stay away.

Here's something else you won't see soon (at least until fall when the people start applying for food stamps en masse.)

The Interior villages are hurting. Especially the Elders who depend on the salmon as their traditional diet and to feed the sled dogs, if they have them. As you see here from January 2013, this has been happening for some time.

While this was reported, it doesn't make a blip of difference in "Seattle North" (Anchorage). Out of sight out of mind. Just like Native Americans in the lower 48.

But this little slice of the growing ecological disaster will snowball to an avalanche (get it, Alaskans?) and one of the pillars of the economy will collapse taking a LOT of capital with it. It will be interesting to watch who starts bailing first: The big corporate factory ships and Japanese investors or the fishermen themselves who can't make a go on 5 or 10% of what they need to make it profitable.

The Arctic is the laboratory for Climate Change. In the more than 34 years I've been here, I've watch most of the vegetation change. I've felt the differences in the winters and summers now and then.

(This summer is warm and gorgeous, BTW)

I've watched year to year as the animals change behaviors; invasive weeds; seen the bubbling methane in our lakes and ponds; and watched my favorite fishing places -where at times it was possible to catch a fish every cast!- now bereft of even sculpins.

Yet, from the politicians who are promising everything BUT action on climate change we get jabber about everything BUT climate change, even though it's slapping us in the face. Recently the Republican-dominated Legislature made a HUGE giveaway to the oil companies in the form of tax breaks. The people didn't want it, but the 'pubs did so....

There great advantages to living in Alaska and one of them is our ballot initiative laws. An initiative here quickly put the repeal of that giveaway on November's ballot (along with cannabis legalization!) Since then, the Kochs and others are wasting millions of dollars to fight the evil environmentalists who don't like mushy crabs.

Ah, well.... I meant to turn this into a real diary with charts and pictures and EVERYTHING! But I got lazy and it turned into a rant. I realize most people don't care what happens up here apart from reality shows, but I present this as a slice of what is happening before our eyes if we will see it.

The world is dying.


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