Written by Jen Finn
On the evening of Bash the Feds Day in Alaska — after Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R, and Mark Begich, D, got done dumping on the overlords far away in the nation's capital — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration got its meeting started, and there was nothing but civility and thank-yous.
God bless technology.
Two years ago, NOAA went to Homer at the end of the Kenai Peninsula some 220 road miles south of Anchorage to explain its plan to take halibut away from tens of thousands of charter boat clients and give the big flatfish to 1,431 commercial fishermen. Needless to say, the NOAA bureaucrats who showed up in the self-proclaimed Halibut Capital of the World got roasted.
This time, in a masterful display of bureaucratic cunning, they hid behind the security forces at the Juneau Federal Building and did the whole meeting by phone. What transpired sounded like the worst of local candidate debates on a public radio station in the hinterlands.
Julie Speegle, NOAA's Alaska spokeswoman, played the role of moderator after warning those online that meeting was purely "informational." The comments of those who dialed in would not be considered by NOAA in its review of proposed regulations, she said, and the comments from the federal officials in attendance were "not official agency responses."
"Please say on topic and be respectful," she added.
And then the show was under way, with the former TV news producer turned public affairs officer playing the part of moderator and a gang of bureaucrats from the National Marine Fisheries Service and the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council -- NOAA entities both -- assuming the roles of political candidates.
NMFS Alaska Region Assistant Administrator Glenn Merrill was online, but didn't say much other than to reference the earlier meeting in Homer.
Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch>>
National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15
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National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15
In this episode:
March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received
NMFS announced two changes in regulations that apply to federal fishing permit holders starting Aug. 26.
First, they have eliminated the requirement for vessel owners to submit “did not fish” reports for the months or weeks when their vessel was not fishing.
Some of the restrictions for upgrading vessels listed on federal fishing permits have also been removed.Read more...
Alaskans will meet with British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, when he visits Juneau next week and will ask him to support an international review of mine developments in northwest British Columbia, upstream from Southeast Alaska along the Taku, Stikine and Unuk transboundary rivers.
Some Alaska fishing and environmental groups believe an international review is the best way to develop specific, binding commitments to ensure clean water, salmon, jobs and traditional and customary practices are not harmed by British Columbia mines and that adequate financial assurances are in place up front to cover long-term monitoring and compensation for damages.Read more...