Article Category: PCFFA

The ‘30×30 Campaign’ — What and Why?

The ‘30×30 Campaign’ — What and Why?

As the just released—and very alarming—2023 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report verifies, there is an across-the-board and strong scientific agreement, now supported by hard data from several independent sources, that the world as a whole is right on the precipice of another Great Extinction Event, triggered by climate change. The current widespread decline in biodiversity is powered by insatiable human population growth and development that is devastating the natural environment. That, coupled with nearly 200 years of world industrialization that has already thrust fossil-fuel generated carbon dioxide as well as atmospheric methane (which is 21 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) up to levels well beyond the poi...
PCFFA Principles Regarding Marine Protected Areas

PCFFA Principles Regarding Marine Protected Areas

Introductory Note: There is no scientific doubt that the world as a whole is facing serious biodiversity loss, as well as a potential extinction crisis, both being driven by rapid climate change, and that serious biodiversity protection and habitat conservation mandates are needed, based on sensible, science-driven solutions. But unfortunately, some groups are still championing ever more ocean marine protected areas (MPAs) as “the solution” to ocean ecosystem problems that are all too often also resulting in major fisheries declines. For some groups this has become a form of “magical thinking,” rather than only one of many management tools to be deployed with forethought and guided by good science. Marine protected areas (MPAs) especially are back in the limelight with the recent public...
Let’s Fight For Salmon,  Not Over Them

Let’s Fight For Salmon, Not Over Them

The reality is that salmon-dependent fishing families are the ultimate victims of widespread salmon declines, not their cause. At the time of this writing in late January, prospects for 2023’s California, Oregon and Washington ocean commercial, recreational and Tribal salmon seasons are bleak. Ocean salmon abundance projections are so low that broad closures may be a “weak stock management” necessity, simply to keep already severely diminished Coho and Chinook stocks from extinction. The West Coast fishing industry is actually at the tail end of decades of salmon abundance declines. The onrushing threats of climate change bringing more droughts will only exacerbate these problems. The two questions salmon-dependent communities need to ask now are “Why is this happening?” and also “What...
An Energy Revolution in the Commercial Fishing Fleet?

An Energy Revolution in the Commercial Fishing Fleet?

With diesel prices soaring and the world abuzz about climate change, there has never been a better time for fishermen to contemplate our fuel use. Diesel fuel is a necessary part of today’s fishing businesses, but let’s face it. If we could get by with less of it—or find a long-term substitute that was cheaper, cleaner and just as reliable —then wouldn’t we want to? Fishermen in places as far-flung as Maine, Massachusetts, Washington and Alaska think so, and they are stepping up to do something about it. And they’re using bottom-up approaches that are tailor-made for their operations, looking to prevent or in some cases outrun burdensome, inflexible top-down mandates. In Sitka, the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA) is supporting the installation of a hybrid electric engine ...
What To Do With All Those Oil Rigs?

What To Do With All Those Oil Rigs?

Widespread, industrial-scale oil and gas development of the U. S. Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (POCS) has been a constant threat to West Coast fisheries since the 1890s when the first wave primitive offshore oil wells were originally drilled into shallow coastal waters. The great oil spill off Santa Barbara in 1969, which dumped more than three million barrels of crude oil into the ocean, made it clear, however, that if anything goes wrong with offshore oil development, impacts on regional fisheries could be catastrophic. Thankfully, and as a direct result of perseverance, coastwide political organizing and luck, our commercial fishing industry, working with our state legislatures and key members of Congress, has—mostly—held this effort at bay since West-Coast wide oil and gas develop...
Pacific Salmon  in Hot Water—Again

Pacific Salmon in Hot Water—Again

One of the most dramatic natural resource tragedies of our times, and one which directly affects our fishing industry by destroying thousands of fishing jobs coastwide, has been the thoughtless and sometimes deliberate destruction of the West Coast’s once abundant salmon runs. Everywhere on the West Coast (both U.S. and Canada) these once abundant wild salmon runs are in steep decline, with many of them already extinct. The steady decline of West Coast salmon runs was an unacknowledged disaster until the prestigious American Fisheries Society (AFS) published a peer-reviewed, comprehensive scientific survey of the problem in “Pacific Salmon at the Crossroads: Stocks at Risk from California, Oregon, Idaho and Washington,” (Nehlsen, et al., Fisheries, Vol 16, No. 2, pp. 4-21 (March-April, 19...
On to the Future

On to the Future

By the time you read this, PCFFA will be under new leadership. Unlike some partings, this one is very amicable. When I came aboard, PCFFA needed a uniter. I think we were very successful in bringing unity to our organization as well as reestablishing relationships with commercial fishing organizations we had lost touch with. Today, PCFFA is in need of someone who can lead the organization to become even more prosperous. Like most fishing organizations, PCFFA has operated on a shoestring budget.  COVID-19 provided challenges, but thanks to some generous donations and COVID relief funds, we persevered. But to accomplish our organizational goals and objectives, we realized we need leadership which has a primary focus of raising funds. With those funds, we will be better situated to remain ...
Responding to Climate Change Threats to Fisheries

Responding to Climate Change Threats to Fisheries

Almost exactly a decade ago, in 2012, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations adopted and published a major policy statement explaining just what “global climate change” was all about, and why we as ocean commercial fisheries folks should be concerned. That landmark policy statement “Combating Global Warming & Acidic Seas (2012)” (https://pcffa.org/climate-change-and-fisheries) still stands as a beacon of good sense in a world where the threat of climate change has gone from scientific theory to grim reality—and will with certainty get a lot worse before it gets better. This column is to bring our fleet up to date on what is actually being done to help our industry continue to fish in the face of these scary (and sometimes seemingly overwhelming) worldwide changes. T...
NOAA’s AOA Process

NOAA’s AOA Process

On May 7, 2020, then-President Trump signed Executive Order 13921, titled Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth. Two sections of that E.O. addressed aquaculture. Section 6 is titled Removing Barriers to Aquaculture Permitting and Section 7 is titled Aquaculture Opportunity Areas. This column is focuses primarily on Section 7. The E.O. required the identification of at least two geographic areas containing locations suitable for commercial aquaculture within one year from the issuance of the order. These would be identified by the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the secretaries of defense, the Interior, Agriculture, Homeland Security and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, along with other appropriate federal officials and Region...
Offshore Wind Energy:  Benefit or Boondoggle?

Offshore Wind Energy: Benefit or Boondoggle?

One of President Biden’s first acts in office was signing Executive Order No. 13990 on January 20, 2021. The order re-set the course of U.S. energy policy in response to the global emergency of climate change and growing energy demand. Since then, U.S policy has been to phase out greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels in favor of non-fossil fuel “renewables” as soon as possible. As a result, there has been a massive political and PR push to develop new sources of wind energy, specifically in the oceans. Many other countries have developed offshore wind energy, but hardly any of that has been in the U.S. Unfortunately, the push to quickly develop offshore wind energy has become the latest political fad, even a cure-all in some minds, for meeting the nation’s vast renewable energy needs, at...