Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fishing for Bombs
Let’s eat tomorrow too
Fishing requires only three things: Fish plus the skills and equipment to catch them. Well okay, water is helpful.

Right now we have an abundance of fish around most of the CNMI but we have one place that is losing fish populations on a daily basis. The Saipan Lagoon is over fished and “subsistence” fishermen are killing the resource. Many more fisherman are fishing and most are using modern technology to make their catches, making it easier for them to strip the waters.

Responsible catch limits on numbers and size of fish taken can allow fish stocks to replenish themselves inside the Lagoon so Saipan families can continue to be fed far into the future. That is not happening now. Those who will be leaving may not care.

Hoards of fishermen, hundreds every day, ply the waters of the Lagoon taking every thing that lives. Every fish, no matter how small, every shellfish, every invertebrate, every crustacean; all are taken. When all, including the babies and the breeders are taken and eaten too few survive to breed and sustain the fishery.

Indigenous peoples sustained large populations in these same islands solely by the use of local resources. They did not import food or other commodities. They managed to sustain themselves through internal regulation. Chiefs and elders strictly controlled fish takes. They even had ‘no take’ zones such as we see today. It was forbidden to fish in some zones altogether and others were regulated by fishing only at certain times or seasons. All zones were restricted to members of certain groups. Others fished there literally on peril of their lives. In short, they made fishing rules and enforced them stringently. That indigenous system is no longer in place and needs to be replaced with another.

The fishing license proposed by some is a start. Then we know who is fishing. It would also give any new size/take regulations some enforceable teeth. No License, no fishing. Regulation offenders could be barred from the waters for a time or have other punishments (short of death) meted upon them.

As times get tougher many, local citizens and foreign nationals alike, are turning to the Lagoon to provide extra food for the table. The problem is too many are taking too much for the fish to survive. We must remember that the Lagoon acts like a nursery for fish and other aquatic life of all kinds. Sea life outside the Lagoon abounds and thrives but close in fish populations will crash if over fishing continues. The Lagoon will die, not 50 years from now, but soon if unregulated, ‘scorched earth’, take everything fishing is allowed to continue. Already, the catch is fewer and fewer…smaller and smaller.
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Attention CUC Protesters

Standing around with a protest sign will not get your power turned back on or fix the generators or make the cost of fuel go back down. At best it is an exercise in futility, at worst it is a waste of your time and money.

Here is a suggestion. Here is something you can do right now, today, that will actually have an effect. Take your business elsewhere. It’s that simple, just unhook yourself from the CUC grid and do without that electricity. Build yourself a small fire in the back yard to do your cooking on, or buy a gas stove.

Get a generator, buy a flashlight and a big box of candles. Use them daily. Put a catchment tank on the roof and use gravity to feed water into your house. Then there is no need to support CUC by buying water from them either. Now you are really doing something that counts. Now you have some punch behind your protest. Get your friends to join you.

We electric users are all aggravated by the continuing outages and ultra high bills, but protesting just doesn’t feed the bulldog. Standing at the side of the road will net you a soggy sign if it rains, and not much of anything else. This may be the reason so few of you showed up.
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Another Suggestion

Advocates, protestors, carpenters, kings and just about everyone in the Commonwealth has an interest in power production, its reliability and its costs today. The newly formed Public Utilities Commission met this weekend to discuss just what to do about the problem. Want to guess how many interested advocates and revolutionaries cared to show up? None. Thanks Ken.

Electricity users, if you really want to be part of the solution instead of just another voice in the kilowatt wilderness, make it a point to attend the PUC meetings, the CUC board meetings, the public addresses by CUC and the Legislative committee and other meetings where allowed. Find out what is being done. Make a reasonable suggestion if you have one and have the opportunity to speak. You might just make a difference that way.
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Since I seem to be harping on electric power again, it seems only right that I point out we had our first outage in over a week on Sunday. It was of mercifully short duration. Thanks CUC, something went right seven days in a row. I’m grinning.
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Effete war mongering

An article in the Wash Post last week was headlined “Pentagon to opt for less deadly bombs”. That caught my attention. The upshot of the unsigned Associated Press article was that Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. thinks our bombs work too well, but not always. This sounds like your tax dollars at work all right. Hey instead of those dastardly cluster bombs that go around killing people, maybe they could start using cardboard boxes filled with Styrofoam ‘shrapnel’? To really teach those military foes a lesson we could print “BOOM” on the side of the box. That would show ‘em who’s who. I’m not sure if that bit of nastiness would pass muster with the Geneva Convention folks though.

Speaking of Geneva, several of our NATO allies also call for the US to stop making these deadly explosives. Are these the same Europeans who were quite happy to have dear old Uncle Sam come over and slap that nasty Mr. Hitler around a few years back? Why yes, I believe they are. Now they would prefer us to smack ‘em around with powder puffs and silk blouses.
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Quote of the week:
A critic is a gong at a railroad crossing clanging loudly and vainly as the train goes by. Christopher Morely (1890 – 1957)


Jeff said...

Fishing licenses? Government intervention. Next thing you'll want to actually vote if elected delegate. Bruce, government exists for one reason, to steal money from hard working bar owners who go to bed at 8:30, or more accurately, the hard working bar owner's wife. The nanny state you propose won't solve anything and is a harsh deviation from Saipananuivaneconomics. You sir lost my vote! I'm still registered there you know.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Yep, busted.

Okay, Jeff, what if we privatize the licensing process? Then all the fishermen could acquire their permission chits from me or some other enterprising soul willing to generate and keep up a database on his/her computer. We could hire Indian Thugees to enforce the no license - no fishing rule and to head off wayward competition.

I may have weakened on this one point...but I still will not vote if elected delegate. Not a chance, no way, uh uhh.

Have you found a place to stay in sunny Phoenix?

bigsoxfan said...

and you thought it was safe to blog. Jeff is like the voice from beyond the grave, Marley's ghost perhaps. You really stepped on the old crank with the studded golf shoes this time. Do what we did in Maine and catch all the fish, blame it on the Russians, Japanese, Icelanders, etc... and pick up some Feeb money to retrain the fishing workforce. Oh, the local community from the Chamorrans to the Phillipeanos are going to bust on you so big. Disable comment moderation for a week so we can all watch the fireworks. Ha.. Or maybe the stand holding up the fireworks collapse.

KAP said...

Give a man a fish and he's got a meal.

Charge him for catching it and you've got an entrepeneur. I'd suggest license categories, something like $1,000 for Despoiler.

That or bids.

Oh, I keep looking for CUC board meetings. No luck so far.

Jeff said...

I'm not dead now Mark, I'm just not in Saipan anymore.

Anonymous said...

I thought Government existed to give Democrats a way to suck money from the populace and tell the masses how to live their lives, and for Republicans to fight the ideological fight-- and to spend all the money that the Democrats saved up. Nanny state indeed.