Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 13 June 2008
Back in the 1970s, when "Saturday Night Live" was considered groundbreaking and, well, funny, they did a spoof of a phone company commercial starring Lily Tomlin as her telephone operator character Ernestine.
Apparently Ma Bell was lacking in the customer service department. At the end of the skit, the camera cut to Ernestine, sitting at the switchboard.
"We don't care," Ernestine said, smiling smugly. "We don't have to. We're the phone company."
Apparently the Bush administration has a similar mantra.
It's bad enough that West Coast trollers are suffering through the cancellation of this year's salmon fishery. One could argue that administration policies that deprive fish of needed water have contributed to West Coast stock declines.
Then on Wednesday, salmon fishermen learned that the Office of Management and Budget is requesting an additional $546 million for the fiscal year 2009 budget to cover increased costs associated with the 2010 census. And it wants to take $70 million of the $170 million earmarked for salmon disaster relief to help cover those costs.
In a letter to Congress, OMB writes, "After the reduction, $100 million would still be available for payments, which is sufficient given the estimated economic impact of recent fisheries disaster declarations for the area."
West Coast legislators on both sides of the aisle were not amused.
"This request is a slap in the face to the scores of salmon fishermen in Oregon who are struggling to make ends meet in the wake of the largest salmon closure in West Coast history," said Sen. Gordon H. Smith (R-Ore.) in a press statement. "Rest assured there will be a strong bipartisan effort to ensure that these cuts don't go through."
Lordy, we hope so. The Bush administration's lack of compassion for salmon fishermen is truly, head-shakingly stunning, especially in the wake of its tepid response to aiding Gulf of Mexico residents (not to mention fishermen) devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
But then again, if the administration didn't lose any sleep about the salmon disappearing, why would we think it'd have any qualms over making disaster relief money vanish, too?
NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.
We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.Read more...
A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.
Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species, allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.Read more...