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Governor increases pressure to harm the coast
Gov. Ted Kulongoski has decided to increase pressure to evict us from our traditional marine fishing areas. He has changed the nature of a condemned 2002 Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) fishing closure proposal to relieve anti-coast activists from having to justify at all the closing of fishing areas, or of having to ever show that closing them caused any change to ocean and fisheries’ health whatsoever. Please see attachment for his latest proposal outline.
Rep. Wayne Krieger made positive changes to the OPAC with HB 3534 in the 2003 Legislative Assembly, by making state agencies nonvoting members of OPAC, by designating more voting seats to jurisdictions from the coast and by adding detail to the fact that OPAC cannot make fishing rules. The governor, despite signing HB 3534 into law, has declined to abide by it. He also directed OPAC to move forward with the 2002 OPAC recommendation to start closing traditional fishing areas, even though it was mostly that misguided recommendation that led to the statutory demise of the old OPAC. And he has established an OPAC executive committee and other committees whereby he has subverted the letter and intent of HB 3534 by reinstituting what are in statute the nonvoting membership to become the controlling membership.
Quoted from the Oregon Revised Statutes at the OPAC section: ORS 196.420 “It is the policy of the State of Oregon to: (1) Conserve the long-term values, benefits and natural resources of the state and beyond by giving clear priority to the proper management and protection of renewable resources over nonrenewable resources; [more on this below, AND] (6) Ensure that the Ocean Policy Advisory Council will work closely with coastal local governments to incorporate in its activities coastal local government and resident concerns, coastal economic sustainability and expertise of coastal residents.”
Gov. Kulongoski has ensured that it won’t work with coastal local governments and residents by denying representation on OPAC to the citizens of the southern half of the Oregon coast. He has also summarily dismissed “the expertise of coastal residents” because it does not align with whatever it is he thinks of as expertise.
Oregon’s statutory framework for making fishing regulations has a long and effective history: Only the Fish and Wildlife Commission can make them. OPAC is an advisory body with no authority to implement anything. It can give advice on things including, say, the scientific underpinnings (almost none applicable) of the theory and practice of no-fishing marine reserves, but that is where its authority ends. Gov. Kulongoski has not asked for its advice on the science or any reasoning for designating marine reserves even though such advice would be useful. Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has, several times in the past, designated reserves of one kind or another in Oregon coastal waters through its ORS-mandated processes.
The 2002 OPAC marine reserves recommendation:
Despite advice from its coastal members, the old OPAC, controlled entirely by the governor’s office and DLCD, took a horrible idea on the road in spring 2002 with its marine reserve draft plan. I attended the public meetings in Brookings, Port Orford and North Bend, and watched VHS records of the meetings in Astoria and Newport. DLCD-controlled OPAC got hammered. Out of hundreds of comments, I heard only two favorable comments at the meetings I attended, both uttered by professional environmental activists at Port Orford. The northern venues fared no better for DLCD. Coastal witnesses said that the situation OPAC 2002 was describing didn’t actually exist in the ocean. They said that a scientific argument could not be made for marine reserves as a management tool. They didn’t want another agency added to the mix of agencies they already had to deal with. They said to give them ODFW regulations if changes are needed, that ODFW uses science and its processes are more open and adaptive, and that they work as well as any could be expected to address problems. Nevertheless, OPAC went ahead and forwarded its doomed recommendation to Gov. John Kitzhaber in August 2002, as if it had heard nothing on the coast.
OPAC 2002 recommended that “Oregon establish a limited system of marine reserves in order to test and evaluate their effectiveness in meeting marine resource conservation objectives.” Recommendation to the Governor Oregon and Marine Reserves, OPAC, Aug. 30, 2002. In my opinion then and now, and admitted by activists in 2002, a scientific argument cannot be made to show no-fishing marine reserves will help the ocean off Oregon. That is why the 2002 OPAC recommendation was to test marine reserves: to get some data, because no other rationale for closing ocean areas could be made to work.
In the past week, Gov. Kulongoski, despite ordering that the new OPAC go forward with the OPAC 2002 recommendation, has changed its nature, per the attachment and explained below.
Now, he’s saying to carve out fishing spots and take their use away from our citizens, visitors and our economy “for preserving our ocean heritage for future generations.” Attachment, page 1, at B, second bullet.
Please compare the two quotes just above: OPAC 2002 would require at a minimum a baseline inventory, some periodic monitoring and an analysis of any change(s) in marine reserves, “in order to test and evaluate their effectiveness.” The new reason for our eviction is free of science and its expenses, with no preliminary inventory, monitoring or analysis ever needed. Gov. Kulongoski is making it a case of just do it, without consideration of the existing regulatory framework, the condition of the resource or a discussion of whether marine reserves would make any difference to the resource. The governor’s latest proposal has some passages meant to assuage a concerned coastal citizenry, but we bear in mind the words spoken at the April 19 OPAC meeting in Reedsport by Louise Solliday regarding our concerns with and reluctance to go passively to our economic and way-of-living demise:
“I think it’s important to remember that the ocean resources that we’re talking about don’t belong to the coastal community. They belong to all Oregonians. And while the coastal communities certainly feel the greatest benefit and the greatest impact of policy choices that are made, these ocean resources belong to all of us.
“And I guess the other thing I’d like to say is that while I want as much coastal support as we can get for this effort, I think we need to recognize that almost every major change that’s been made in our history was made without the support of the majority when it was made, and, uh, pick one, whether it’s designation of wilderness, whether it’s the right of women to vote, or turning black people from three-fifths of a person into an entire person. I mean, just pick any of them.
“I would say that people didn’t wait for the majority to support. They did it because it was the right thing to do, and because it was going to benefit society as a whole.” Louise Solliday, transcribed from OPAC DVD, meeting April 19, Reedsport.
Besides her comparing us to misogynists and bigots, we noted that her statements are historically incorrect. They also say that disposing of democracy is required because she and the company she keeps say so.
Oregon’s three-mile wide Territorial Sea is already a “Marine Protected Area. OPAC 2002 Marine Reserve recommendation, page 2, at “Terminology.”
You might hear marine reserve advocates refer to statements of “two blue-ribbon commissions,” the Pew Ocean Commission and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. The Pew commission wasn’t a commission at all, but simply a collection of like-minded folks as a tool of environmental grant-maker Pew Trust. The U.S. commission was indeed a commission, nearly half of which members were academics, and had no fishermen on it, that made general statements of ocean health. Remember, please, that oceans cover 7/10ths of Earth’s surface. Although there are ocean areas in poor condition, saying it’s all bad is like comparing the human environment of Lagos, Nigeria, to Salem, Oregon. As a diver, surfer and fisherman, I can say that the overall health of Oregon’s ocean almost without exception is in good shape. Our fisheries are in many cases better than they were even six years ago, and in almost all cases are good.
In the legal framework section higher above, I noted that I’d give detail below.
Marine Reserves advocates say Goal 19 orders that we need to evict fishermen. That is not true. All the statewide land use goals, including the three coastal goals, are what we decision-makers use when considering new or conflicting land use proposals. ORS 196.420 (1) backs up my opinion. We have ORS 196.420 and Goal 19 prioritizing renewable resources use over non-renewable uses. All the goals address land uses. Fishing is not a land use, even though DLCD tries to say it is.
If you read this far, I thank you. If you have questions, please call. I’m at 541.396.3121 X 248 or, on the road, 541.290.997
We need protection from what I believe is simply a mean-spirited, unfounded assault on our well-being that has no plausible connection to any potential benefit.
Coos County Commissioner
Marine Reserves Process Coordination Meeting
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM Pacific
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