Monday, May 01, 2006

Buckets of Crabs

Please let me indulge you in a bit of a story that is very familiar in the Alaska seafood industry. The crabs and the bucket. As soon as one crab gets close to the edge of the bucket the other less fortunate crabs drag him or her back down with them. You know the drill.

Well this is a story about some of those more successful crabs. Sorry if I missed you but it's hard to keep track of all the good folks out there who have been run through so much mud by the blograkers.

Oh. I've read about former ADFG Commissioner Kevin Duffy and current Commissioner McKie Campbell and Deputy Commissioner David Bedford and Special Assistant Sue Aspelund. And so on and so on. I'll stay away from the elected officials but you know what SEAS position is on them as well.

The only thing these folks have in common, generally, is that they are all exceptionally talented public servants and fisheries managers. Why they have been the negative subjects of any articles on blogs or on ink is absolutely beyond comprehension for the men and women who participate in the Alaska seafood industry and work on behalf of commercial fishing families.

And the list goes on. Still fortunately in the private sector we have Rob Zuanich. The singlemost talented Executive Director who ever worked for a fishing association on the west coast of North America.

Joe Childers, UFA VP. The champ of the small boat trawl fleet who, along with Al Burch's tireless efforts have brought this fleet into the mainstream. He has worked tirelessly for many of SEAS members who either own boats that fish in the Gulf trawl fleet or work as deckhands or alternate skippers.

Bruce Schactler, UFA Marketing Chair. Believed in Ted Stevens when it counted and believed in Ted's promise to produce the AFMB, us guys that painted the jet.

Arni Thomsen, UFA National Chair. Spent his later years off the deck working tirelessly for the crab fleet. He has always been a team player and although the crab fleet has had bad local press lately with the rationalization stuff we're convinced that the longer- term picture for those fishermen who dedcide to and also have the ability to remain in the BSAI crab fisheries will prosper tremendously.

Arne Fuglvog, UFA board member, 2005 fisherman of the year. What can we say about our "fisherman of the year". Hard to imagine that he could get slammed by commfish writers.

Duncan Fields, UFA Secretary. One of the bloggers assasinated Mr. Fields character. The only major casualty of our Kodiak friends other than Mr. Schactler.

There's more folks. Sorry if I forgot some important crabs who recently may have been bashed by the bloggers or other so-called "writers".
In any event, as you can easily see, in nearly each and every case you would find a determined person laying aside their own needs and desires for the many Alaskan fishermen out there that we collectively represent.

But each fleet has its own demons. And I would imagine that more fisheries were lost as the fishermen were cracking crabs with those in the best position to save the whole bucket.

Happy May Day


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