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U.S., Canadian coast guards offer help with future canoe journeys 2006-08-29 by VANESSA RENEE CASAVANT http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/sited/story/html/263411 The death of Joseph Andrew ``Jerry'' Jack, a hereditary chief of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht tribe on Vancouver Island, has prompted U.S. and Canadian coast guard officials to strengthen their assistance to tribal leaders in preparing the annual Inter-Tribal Canoe Journey. Jack drowned July 26 when the Makah canoe in which he was paddling capsized west of Dungeness Spit during this year's canoe journey to Seattle. 13th Coast Guard District commander Rear Adm. Richard Houck offered his assistance to the tribes in preparing for future journeys in a letter of sympathy sent to the Makah Tribal Council earlier this month. ``The U.S. Coast Guard is ready to assist tribal leaders and event organizers to ensure this important maritime journey is always carried out in ways that are meaningful, enjoyable and as safe as possible,'' Houck wrote. Stations on standby Some assistance will come in the way of mapping out the journey's course so Coast Guard stations can be on standby, said Andy Connor, 13th Coast Guard District international tribal liaison officer. In addition, the Coast Guard will help tribes conduct coldwater survival courses before the journey, as well as other safety preparations. Connor is also talking with Canadian Coast Guard officials about strengthening communications during the journey because it includes tribes from Canada and the United States. ``I think the key is a little bit better coordination and knowledge ahead of time,'' Connor said. The host tribe for the 2007 Inter-Tribal Canoe Journey is the Lummi tribe near Bellingham Coast Guard diver, 22, remembered as `fearless' Family, friends and fellow Coast Guardsmen honored Steven Duque, who died Aug. 17 in a dive accident off the coast of Alaska. BY REBECCA DELLAGLORIA rdellagloria@MiamiHerald.com To the U.S. Coast Guard, Boatswain's mate 2nd Class Steven Duque was a dedicated and driven young diver, who led by example and inspired excellence in others. To his family, Duque was a devoted son and brother, who never stopped making his parents and sister proud. To all of them, he was a hero. Duque, 22, was remembered Monday for these things and more, during a memorial service at the Coast Guard's Fort Lauderdale station at John U. Lloyd Beach State Park in Hollywood. The guardsman died Aug. 17 during a dive in the Arctic Ocean, about 500 miles north of Barrow, Alaska. The cause of the accident that also claimed the life of Lt. Jessica Hill, of St. Augustine, is still under investigation. ''Obviously something went very wrong,'' said the Coast Guard's Master Chief Petty Officer Charles Bowen. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy was in the midst of a scientific exploration, when Duque and Hill embarked on a dive at the bow of the ship, according to a posting on the ship's website by Commanding Officer Doug Russell. The two divers were the first Coast Guardsmen killed on duty since 2004, when Petty Officer Nathan B. Bruckenthal died in a suicide attack on an oil-field in northern Iraq, Bowen said. A service for Hill was held Thursday in St. Augustine. Duque, who grew up in Miami Lakes, spent four years in the Coast Guard, becoming a boatswain's mate 2nd Class and earning certification as a Navy-trained diver in that short span of time. ''He was fearless,'' said Petty Officer Philip Dawalt, who served as Duque's mentor on the Healy. Duque displayed leadership qualities uncanny for a guardsman his age, he said. ``He had the energy and motivation that made you want to work with him and made you want to see him every morning. It didn't take long before I found I was learning from him as much as he was learning from me.'' Duque's first assignment after completing basic training was on the Coast Guard Cutter Matagorda in Miami Beach. The ship's crew made its way back from Key West on Monday to pay respects. During the ceremony, Taps, the somber military tribute to fallen soldiers, sounded from a bugle played by Lt. Jeffrey Vajda. The Coast Guard's signature tune, Semper Paratus or ''Always Ready'' -- a phrase Duque had tattooed onto his back -- was played on bagpipes. Duque's family was also presented with his Meritorious Service Medal by Rear Adm. David Kunkel. Steven's sister, Natalie Duque Bello, and his mother, Fresia Duque, sat close in the front row, comforting one another as the 21-gun salute moved them both to tears. ''Steven always wanted to be a superhero,'' Duque Bello said. ``Well, Steven, you accomplished it.'' Following the ceremony, Duque's ashes were sprinkled into the ocean. Duque's father, Gustavo Duque, came from New Orleans with his wife, Matilde. ''The pain I have, I cannot describe,'' he said. ``The honor they gave to him, he deserved that. I'm very proud of my son.'' A Coast Guard burial at sea Petty officer died during Arctic Sea diving exercise By John Holland South Florida Sun-Sentinel August 29, 2006 http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/broward/sfl- smemorial29aug29,0,2272366,print.story?coll=sfla-news-broward FORT LAUDERDALE ? She remembered him as the little kid who raced his bike so fast he'd crash, or climbed trees so high he sometimes fell. Others remembered him as the ambitious and talented sailor who volunteered for any assignment and never seemed to fail. All remembered him as a hero. U.S. Coast Guard Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Steven Duque, of Miami Lakes, was buried at sea Monday, 11 days after he drowned during a diving exercise in the Arctic Sea. His relatives and his Coast Guard family had different stories about Duque, but all struggled to explain the loss of the outgoing 22-year-old. "We're here to celebrate BM2 Duque, to you guys; to me, he's my little brother," said Natalie Duque Bello, who left many sailors wiping tears during a brief and powerful speech. She then addressed her brother: "You're a hero to your family and friends, to your shipmates, and most importantly, to your country, which he was so proud to serve," she said. Duque and Lt. Jessica Hill, of St. Augustine,died Aug. 17 during what was considered a routine cold-water diving exercise in the Arctic Circle, 500 miles north of Barrow, Alaska. The Coast Guard has not provided any information about the incident and said an investigation is under way. Monday's service was attended by top Coast Guard brass, including Rear Adm. David Kunkel, Master Chief Petty Officer Charles Bowen -- the Coast Guard's highest- ranking enlisted man -- and several captains and commanders. Born in Queens, N.Y., Duque grew up in Miami Lakes and joined the Coast Guard after graduating from high school in 2002. He quickly excelled, colleagues said, receiving several commendations and promotions. After spending time on the Miami- based cutter Matagorda, and two years based in Fort Lauderdale, Duque joined the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Healy, based in Seattle. Earlier this year, he was chosen to attend the prestigious Navy diving training center in Panama City, making him one of the youngest to be certified in the Coast Guard. On Monday, friends who served with him in South Florida and in Seattle remembered him as fearless and eager to learn. "He had natural leadership ability. People wanted to follow him and worked hard because they didn't want to disappoint him," said Petty Officer 1st Class Phillip DeWalt, Duque's mentor on the Healy. "He had a lot of energy, and it rubbed off on others. He had plenty of friends everywhere he was stationed." SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1155AP_Katrina_Browns_Regrets.html Tuesday, August 29, 2006 · Last updated 5:16 a.m. PT Ex-FEMA chief blames administration THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON -- Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, who lost his job because of Hurricane Katrina, said Tuesday his biggest regret a year later is that he wasn't candid enough about the lack of a coherent federal response plan. "There was no plan. ... Three years ago, we should have done catastrophic planning," Brown said, charging that the Bush administration and his department head, Michael Chertoff, "would not give me the money to do that kind of planning." As levees broke down at Katrina's strike against New Orleans and people were forced from their homes, Brown said he sought futilely to get the 82nd Airborne Division into the city quickly. Appearing on NBC's "Today" show, he was asked about positive statements he had made at the time about how Washington would come through for the storm victims, rather than leveling with the country about how bad the situation actually was. "Those were White House talking points," Brown replied. "And to this day, I think that was my biggest mistake." Brown said that at many intervals during the week the storm hit, he found himself asking, "Where in the hell is the help?" "I have to confess ... you want to protect the president when you're a political appointee," he said, "so you're torn between telling the absolute truth and relying on those talking points. To this day, that is my biggest regret. " Brown said he had been made the scapegoat for the government's slow response "because I'm the low man on the totem pole." He said he thought that President Bush and Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, should have shared in the blame. He denied that he lacked qualifications to direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "That's just baloney. I spent more time in my career in local government and in state government and in emergency management experience," Brown said. "But what I regret the most: I let the American public down. I am a fighter ... but for some reason, with Katrina crashing in on me, I didn't do it." SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/282864_readyed.asp The Next Time: Are you prepared? Tuesday, August 29, 2006 SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD Almost no one, from the federal government down to the residents of New Orleans, seemed to have been prepared for Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Will we be any better prepared for the next Katrina-like disaster? That question comes with particular emphasis as Tropical Storm Ernesto was expected Monday to regain hurricane status as it heads toward Florida's densely populated Atlantic coast. The understandable sentiment among many Americans is that, in the event of a major disaster, you can't depend on the federal government to bail you out. No matter how accurate, that sentiment emphasizes the importance of preparedness on the part of state and local emergency management officials -- individual citizens. To make matters worse, the war in Iraq has been a drain on National Guard troops, on their equipment and supplies and the national treasury. The mirror is where most of us will find the person most responsible for our survival after a natural or human-caused disaster. The King County Emergency Services Web site details three things key to preparedness: agreeing on a family meeting place and an out-of-area phone contact and having an emergency supply kit to sustain family members for at least three days. Hurricanes are a rarity in the Pacific Northwest, but earthquakes are not. And the threat of a terrorist attack could face any urban area. We all should insist on adequate preparedness from our community, our elected officials and ourselves. ? 1998-2006 Seattle Post-Intelligencer Fished Out The U.S. fishing industry is sinking as the catch dwindles and a way of life vanishes. But a market-based fix could fill nets again http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_36/b3999067.htm?chan=top+news_top+ne ws+index_businessweek+exclusives It's an unseasonably warm June day on the Alaskan island of Kodiak as skipper Dan Miller pulls the Anna D up to a quiet concrete pier beside a seafood wholesaler. The hold of his fishing boat is loaded with 9,000 pounds of freshly caught halibut, and the lanky former biologist is as happy as a seal soaking in the sun. Halibut is selling for almost $4 a pound, a record, and Miller's gross take will be nearly $33,000. Some 4,000 miles to the southeast, Maine fisherman Craig Pendleton, 46, is spending much of the summer sitting in a dark office over Norm's TV in Saco, a former mill town south of Portland, pondering the fishing industry's future. Since early May, his boat, the 54-foot Susan & Caitlyn, has been sitting at a dock collecting barnacles because of federal rules that limit Pendleton to only 48 days at sea. He likely won't go out again until October to trawl for cod and haddock in the Gulf of Maine. So why is Miller dancing on the docks while Pendleton is moaning in his beer? The short answer is ITQs. Miller doesn't have to worry that the high-priced halibut will be depleted by other fishermen. Only holders of permits known as "individual transferable quotas" are allowed to catch halibut in the Gulf of Alaska. The 52-year-old Miller holds ITQs giving him the right to catch 45,000 pounds of halibut. He can use those rights eight months of the year, sell them to others, bequeath them to heirs, or even elect to leave his halibut swimming in the sea. In effect, Miller "owns" those fish. Today, Alaskan halibut. Tomorrow, Pacific Northwest salmon, Gulf of Mexico red snapper, Atlantic scallops? Surprising as it may be, this controversial free-market system for parceling out individual property rights to fish in the sea may be the future for the troubled U.S. commercial fishing industry. Beset by overfishing and falling catches and battered by imports from Asia, Europe, and Latin America, the old way of American fishing no longer seems sustainable. The result: growing support for congressional action to enforce widespread use of individual transferable quotas, a radical move that could help restore U.S. fisheries to health and make them more competitive in a global marketplace. The size of the problem is enormous. Even in the face of ever-tighter rules, the list of overfished species that may not be commercially viable for decades has barely budged. Of 67 depleted fish stocks a decade ago, 64 remain scarce, despite a law Congress approved in 1996 mandating 10- year rebuilding plans. "Half of these species are still being overfished, even now," says Andrew Rosenberg, a University of New Hampshire professor who spent 10 years at the National Marine Fisheries Service, which oversees the industry. "All of the incentives are to get around the rules." Georges Bank cod won't be back for at least 20 years, according to the Fisheries Service. Canary rockfish in the Pacific won't be at sustainable levels for 70 years, and red snapper for 16. Just this year, the Fisheries Service declared a disaster in Pacific Northwest salmon and an emergency in the New England groundfish that Pendleton chases, leading to dramatic reductions in permission to fish. Of course not every fishery is doing poorly. New England's scallop industry is booming. A marketing campaign promoting wild Alaskan salmon has created demand for premium-priced fish from the Copper River. And if the new electronics on the commercial boats in Bass Harbor, Me., are any indication, lobstermen are enjoying a profitable season. But as nets come up emptier and emptier, the irony for freedom-loving fishermen is that the regulatory system most have so far chosen to stick with tries to limit their every move, dictating where and when they can fish and the size of boats, nets, and gear. The rules of commercial fishing, which vary by locale and species, are set by eight regional councils made up of industry, state, and federal regulators, scientists, and environmentalists. The rules are cumbersome and convoluted, and many fishermen exploit loopholes. "Communism isn't dead," says University of Rhode Island professor Jon Sutinen. "Central planning is still thriving in our fisheries management." It's a classic case of the tragedy of the commons, the economic textbook description of why farmers overgraze on public lands. Each farmer seeks to maximize the benefit of letting his cattle graze. So with no individual incentives to conserve, in the end, the grass on the commons is destroyed for all. The same is true in fishing. Individual fishermen have an incentive to fish as quickly as possible because under the rules in place in most coastal areas, an entire fishery is closed when the total catch quota is reached. "Everyone is trying to maximize their catch," says Harvard professor Robert Stavins, a pioneer in the design of economic solutions to similar problems in air- pollution control. "There's no private-property right." That results in lower-quality product and the ecologically harmful practice of discarding "bycatch," fish other than those being sought that are accidentally hauled in. A great many of those fish are either thrown back dead or don't survive. And in the fishing frenzy, boats collectively often exceed the quotas. In New England, long the poster child for limp enforcement, cod limits were set above scientific recommendations for years, and fisherman still blew past them. The haul in 2001, for example, was over 40 million pounds, almost three times the quota. The diminishing catch has left America's fishing industry vulnerable to two gale-force economic storms. Better air transportation has allowed fish retailers to purchase fresh fish from almost anywhere on the planet. Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI ), owner of the Red Lobster chain, buys fish in 30 countries. Boston-based Legal Sea Foods Inc. has served Dover sole from the North Sea, cod from Iceland, and haddock from Norway. "Now we can have fish buyers all over the world who see catches come in and hand-pick select stuff at auction," says Roger Berkowitz, CEO of Legal, a restaurant chain started in 1950 that grew out of his grandfather's grocery. The second storm is the spread of fish farming in Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Aquaculture has massively increased the supply of the most popular foods from the deep, such as salmon and shrimp. Over 80% of the seafood eaten in the U.S. was imported in 2004 (the most recent numbers available), much of it from shrimp farms in Thailand, Vietnam, and China and salmon farms in Norway and Chile. In 2005, America's $8 billion fish-trade deficit was the largest among natural-resource products after oil and natural gas. So even though Americans ate a record 12 pounds of fresh and frozen seafood per person in 2004, 20% more than a decade earlier, it's dogfish days for U.S. fishermen: The commercial catch has declined 1% by weight in the same period, or 33% by dollar value, adjusted for inflation; imports have doubled. One bright side for the men in slickers: Demand has pushed prices up, keeping some in business even with depleted supplies and high costs. The wholesale price of cod rose 44% from 1998 to 2004, halibut 58%, tuna 38%, crab 57%, and bay scallops 220%. "The price is keeping the fleet afloat," says John Our Jr., whose boat, the Miss Fitz, fishes for cod out of Chatham, Mass. "If we had the same price as 10 years ago, we'd all be down the toilet." Still, as dismal as the outlook seems, one big answer may be in the Anna D's hold. Under the system of individual transferable quotas, Alaska's Miller is allotted a 45,000-pound share of the overall halibut limit: 53 million pounds. So he can take his boat out virtually any time he wants, avoiding the mania and waste that fishing on designated days encourages. And the ITQs can be bought and sold as easily as old comic books on eBay. That encourages consolidation, improving catches for those who remain. The long-term rights also give fishermen an incentive to not to overfish. "We could have more sustainable fisheries with less risk," says Harvard's Stavins. "Ultimately, consumers would see a decrease in price and greater variety." SUCCESS STORIES New Zealand in the 1980s faced a situation even more dire than that of New England today. But ITQs there have brought 80% of the fish stocks back to health, and profits are way up. The same is true in Iceland, parts of Canada, and Australia. In the bad old days, Kodiak controlled halibut fishing in much the same way as fishing for most species is regulated in coastal areas of the Lower 48. Halibut fishermen could go out only a day or two a year. Before derby day, Miller recalls, harbors were filled with the sounds of saws as boats were rigged for halibut. Thousands of vessels were on the water at once, all racing to catch as many fish as possible before the quota limit was hit. In 1988, with his hold and decks overflowing, Miller tossed out mattresses and filled the bunks with fish. Practically limping back to port, he tied up with his back deck partially submerged. Once time ran out, dozens of boats would line up at seafood processors' piers, halibut bursting from their holds and piled on deck. The processors couldn't handle the volume, so fish lay inside the plants in icy stacks 20 feet high. It took two weeks to process the backlog. Poorly handled and less than fresh, the halibut brought only about $1 a pound. The unsafe conditions and waste pressured Alaska's North Pacific Fishery Management Council to search for a solution. In 1995 it introduced ITQs. The new system, adapted from the work of free-market economists, was controversial. Quota shares, handed out on the basis of previous years' catches, could be bought and sold. Those who hadn't fished during the qualifying years, and even members of halibut boat crews, got none. Hard feelings still linger, but since then, the numbers have been startling. According to the most recent stats, Alaska fishermen caught 77 million pounds of halibut worth $169 million in 2004 vs. 58 million pounds worth $85 million just 10 years earlier. This year's catch could exceed $200 million. When Alaska's program began in 1995, Miller got some of his share based on his historical catch. He then bought more ITQs for about $9 a pound. It has been a brilliant investment. Shares now go for up to $22 a pound. And the price of the high-quality fish he brings in has tripled as well. Unlike other long-consolidated natural-resource industries such as oil, most fishing is still done by owner-operated boats. There is no ExxonMobil (XOM ) of fishing, just lots of Dan Millers and Craig Pendletons. Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN ) learned how elusive profits can be under the antiquated regs during a disastrous seven-year foray into fishing, resulting in write-offs of more than $200 million. Tyson had expected individual quotas would be introduced broadly back in 1992 but didn't count on the depth of resistance. "You're giving away a public resource," says unconverted Kodiak fisherman Shawn Dochtermann. "If our forefathers were still around, people would be hanged at the gallows for this." New England fishermen like Pendleton remain opposed, too, fearing the rapid consolidation that could occur if big companies like Tyson can buy up quotas. Corporate operators would downsize the fleets, obliterate the towns that rely on them, and turn owner-operator fishermen into employees with little say, he says. That may not be just idle speculation. In March, Pendleton went to New Zealand and came back unimpressed. A handful of companies own more than 70% of the fishing rights. "It's a purely economic model with no social considerations," he says. "I don't see how it can work for New England fishing communities." But there are ways to address Pendleton's concerns. In Alaska, communities can buy ITQs and lease them to local fishermen, thus maintaining their culture. A congressional study of all such programs also recommended caps on the number of shares any one person or company can accumulate. And more and more, doubters like Russell Underwood, who chases red snapper out of Panama City, Fla., are starting to come around. Underwood felt he had no choice but to head out in choppy and debris-filled seas last October, just days after Hurricane Rita hit. With the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico open only 10 days a month in 2005, Underwood says "Whether it's a hurricane or your wife's anniversary," you had to go. His boat broke down, and he was rescued by workers from an oil rig. Even Pendleton says: "Down on the docks, I'm hearing a lot of `Give me my quota and go away." Navy, environmentalists at odds over sonars effects By Audrey McAvoy Associated Press HONOLULU Environmentalists insist the Navy needs to do more to protect whales and other marine mammals, even after the activists forced limits on the military?s use of sonar in maritime exercises off Hawaii last month. But the Navy is adamant it won?t allow the agreed restrictions on mid-frequency active sonar to set a precedent. It says the steps were often unnecessary, hindered training, and in some cases weren?t based on fact. ?There is no science that supports some of the limits we?re being driven to,? said Adm. Gary Roughead, Pacific Fleet commander. ?I believe it is important that we introduce science into this argument.? The perception gap sets the stage for further legal and public relations battles as the Navy, for the first time, prepares to seek federal permits to use sonar during all of its anti-submarine warfare exercises starting in January. Sailors use active sonar by pumping sound waves through the ocean and listening to the echo as it bounces off underwater objects. It?s a key technology for finding enemy submarines and Navy leaders have made practicing sonar techniques a top priority. Research on how sonar affects marine mammals is still relatively limited, fueling disputes about what might harm the animals and what the Navy should do to protect them. But scientists say sonar may mask the echoes some whales and dolphins listen for when they use their own natural sonar to locate food. Navy sonar may also startle some species, in particular beaked whales, prompting them to rush to the surface. There?s evidence that this gives them a form of ?bends,? the decompression sickness human divers get when they surface too fast. There are steps the Navy took to protect ocean dwellers during its Hawaii ?Rim of the Pacific? drills ? the world?s largest international maritime exercises involving about 40 ships ? that it is willing to take again. In fact, the Navy devised some of the procedures itself in consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service amid evidence its sonar contributed to the death and mass stranding of marine mammals in the Bahamas in 2000. Rear Adm. James Symonds, Navy director of environmental readiness, said he believes having sailors watch through high-powered binoculars for whales and dolphins can help keep marine mammals from harm. He further agrees that ships should turn down their sonar when marine mammals are spotted nearby because some animals may be injured ? or compelled to swim away ? when they come within 450 yards or so of active sonar. The Navy is less likely to object to such steps as it seeks permits to use sonar in sub-hunting exercises scheduled for January. However, there are other measures the Navy took ? such as aerial and boat surveys of areas before and after sonar exercises ? that Symonds said were cumbersome and didn?t do much to protect whales. For the longer term, the Navy hopes to win a blanket ?letter of authorization? from the National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal regulator in this case, to use sonar in exercises in a given geographic area. These would cover regions such as the waters around Hawaii, off Southern California, and off the Pacific Northwest. To win this permission, which would be good for a five-year period, the Navy will complete environmental impact statement studies for each area, Symonds said. The Navy hopes to have authorization for Hawaii by the next Rim of the Pacific exercises in 2008. Symonds couldn?t predict what measures the Navy would adopt in the future. ?It comes down to, what is the science, what does the regulator believe, what?s the regulator?s responsibility to protect the environment, and how is the regulator going to react in the absence of science?? he said. The Natural Resources Defense Council, which is leading the legal fight against the Navy, has vowed to push the military to do the maximum. Joel Reynolds, the organization?s senior attorney, said the measures the Navy agreed to for the Hawaii exercises offered good examples of ?common-sense measures? that protect marine mammals. But he said the Navy needs to strengthen its steps and adopt additional ones, not roll back those already tried. ?The Navy continues to drag its feet. It wants to do less. It needs to do more,? said Reynolds. The council plans to seek further concessions from the Navy through a lawsuit it has already filed in federal court challenging the Navy?s use of mid-frequency active sonar, Reynolds said. The group has filed another lawsuit against low-frequency active sonar, a newer technology under development that sends sound waves across greater distances. The Navy hopes this sonar, which is only operationally available on two of its ships, will allow it to spot enemy submarines even when they are far away. Environmentalists view low-frequency sonar as an even graver danger to marine mammals because it sends sound over greater expanses of the sea.
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