Tag Archives: Wild Salmon Center

Once upon a salmon: “reducing fishing pressure … to rebuild diminished runs”

Carrying capacity? (circa 1977)

Notice the tag line on this photo: “Carrying Capacity?”

This is from the 1977 publication: “Pacific Salmon Management for People”.

Pacific Salmon Management for People

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And yet another image from this book should have the same tag.

Massed gill netters -- Fraser River

As I’ve pointed out in other posts related to this book, the 1977 conclusion states:

To tackle the complex questions of salmon management… highly sophisticated techniques of simulation and decision-making are being evolved… Laymen, and scientists whose experience is in other areas, must take these techniques largely on trust. We are in the hands of technocrats… Certainty is elusive.

One reason for this is the prohibitive cost and difficulty of obtaining precise initial information; another is the yearly variability of freshwater and estuary environments; yet another is the urgency of many managerial choices which dictates that partial evidence must suffice. Misjudgements and errors, then, are likely. Science is to be trusted, but scientists nevertheless make mistakes. The science, as the thalidomide children would remind us, may not be complete.

Ah yes…

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And yet in 1998, a paper emanating out of the University of BC: IMPLEMENTING THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE IN FISHERIES MANAGEMENT THROUGH MARINE RESERVES by Tim Lauck, Colin W. Clark, Marc Mangel, and Gordon R. Munro seems to be pretty clear on a certain issue:

Overexploitation of marine fisheries remains a serious problem worldwide, even for many fisheries that have been intensively managed by coastal nations. Many factors have contributed to these system failures. Here we discuss the implications of persistent, irreducible scientific uncertainty pertaining to marine ecosystems. When combined with typical levels of uncontrollability of catches and incidental mortality, this uncertainty probably implies that traditional approaches to fisheries management will be persistently unsuccessful.

The main gist of this paper is the idea of marine reserves — and idea which is not foreign to the world of wild salmon, with the proposition of wild salmon reserves (at least in their freshwater environment) becoming more common.

The paper continues:

Suggestions for improving the management of marine fisheries have not been in short supply. We will not review here the long history of discussion of the ‘‘problem of overfishing,’’ but will concentrate instead on the implications of uncertainty in fisheries management.

We take as an underlying assumption that fishery declines and collapses result in large part from overfishing, that is to say, from a level of fishing intensity that is excessive in terms of maintaining a sustainable population and fishery. We nevertheless recognize that changes in the marine environment are also often involved in the decline or collapse of any particular fishery.

Levels of catch that may be sustainable under normal or favorable environmental conditions may prove not to be sustainable under abnormal conditions. Many fish populations that have suddenly collapsed under intensive exploitation had presumably persisted for thousands of years in spite of fluctuations in the marine environment. The parsimonious assumption is, therefore, that fishing decreased the resilience of these populations, rendering them more vulnerable to environmental change. From our perspective, this still constitutes overfishing.

Environmental fluctuations are but one of many sources of major uncertainty in fisheries. It is now widely accepted that management must somehow allow for uncertainty and potential inaccuracy in projected sustainable catch levels. It is our contention in this paper, however, that the full implications of uncertainty have not been recognized in the design and implementation of fisheries management strategies. This shortcoming, we believe, has been a major factor in the decline and collapse of many fisheries.

Yes, indeed. And have you looked at the coastwide populations of wild salmon and their changes over… say… the last 30 to 40 years?

Or, have you looked at a shrinking monitoring program of shrinking salmon populations?

One article published in a renowned hallowed-halls, peer-reviewed journal has:

Ghost Runs: management and status assessment of Pacific salmon returning to BC’s central and north coast_Price_2008

I’ll comment on the article in another post, as it certainly relates to recent points in other posts and comments.

One of the more striking lines from the paper — and this isn’t rocket science…

“… reducing fishing pressure as a straightforward management prescription to rebuild diminished runs.

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In this time of great environmental uncertainty… from rapidly expanding ocean dead zones due to acidification that have occurred far faster than any “modeling” by world experts predicted to climate change impacts that are also far beyond what “models” predicted…

shouldn’t we be making drastic changes to how we look after essential ‘resources’ such as wild salmon… and their habitat?

Oh wait… I think I might have read something along these lines in something else recently…

Oh yeah, the 1932 British Columbia Fisheries Department report: Contributions to the Life History of the Sockeye Salmon:

BC Fisheries Department 1932

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There was a particular excerpt:

Hope you can read that fine print:

“…lack of control of the fishery is quite well understood… Increased escapements appear to be the logical remedy.”

“…in the meantime a very conservative policy is imperative.”

Indeed. Good 1932 scientific wisdom.

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Reducing fishing pressure to rebuild runs… (might be the best rehabilitation/restoration/adaptation strategy going).

 

Renaming PowerPoint and which way for wild salmon?

downtown Portland

I walked out of the hotel in downtown Portland on the first day of the conference — see post from day one — sitting in a dim ballroom watching endless PowerPoint presentations with charts, graphs and models (and not the ones from Victoria Secret). Cursing PowerPoint, bullet points, and lamenting the “cut and paste” function… I looked up and saw this “sign” (photo above).

The red lights are very fitting, and the question is which way are the salmon only permitted to go?

In my marathon 15 hours of driving yesterday — leaving the Oregon coast at 9 a.m. and getting home to Prince George at midnight (I almost turned into a pumpkin) — I came up with a new name for PowerPoint:

Missing-the-Point

See with the fun of alliteration; Microsoft could get really creative with this… about as creative as their really awful “Windows 7… my idea” commercials.

Something like: “Microsoft… (majorly) Missing-the-Point…” (everyone’s using it… so it must be great).

I’ve got an idea… send PowerPoint down the same road as movie bombs like Ishtar… see, they share some similarities millions and millions of dollars to make and market; absolutely terrible to watch and endure.

Or… maybe just disable the bullet-making capabilities… tell people they can only use pictures, and they’re not allowed to look at the screen, while presenting… every time a presenter begins to read a giant block of text from a “slide” on the screen, they get zapped with an electrical shock. Maybe we could use those “hands-free” headsets for cell phones that have become the latest rage. Then the shock is delivered directly to the cranium…

I find some irony in academics using their slides as cheat sheets for their presentation… would they allow their students to do this in their classrooms?

Or the academics that have their allotted 15 minutes for the presentation and end out only making it half way through their presentation before time is up… again would this be permitted in their classrooms with students?

Here is an example from the conference… and apologies for the fuzzy picture, see even a camera can’t focus on this:

Slide hell

To be somewhat fair to the presenter I’ve cut him out. However, he did read most of this slide… (with a little paraphrasing…)

Now, I don’t raise these points to be cruel — and I recognize it is difficult and challenging to get up and speak in front of a room of 300 or so people.

But please for the love of ghad… along with hours upon hours of developing modeling equations, puzzling over graphs, and Bayesian, Freudian, Einstenien analysis; try and put some thoughts into representing your thoughts in a dynamic, interesting, and engaging fashion for as much of a cross section of an audience as possible. [Especially when they have paid to attend]

Sure the band AC/DC, or U2, or Michael Flatley (Lord of the Dance) only appeal to a certain cross section of folks — however they spend countless, countless hours puzzling over how to present their performances to appeal to as many people as possible.

Here is a cartoon from Hugh Macleod that highlights this nicely (albeit with some crudity thrown in to emphasize the point…)

www.gapingvoid.com

Ok, maybe scientists and Bono is not an overly fair comparison… but when it comes to salmon; folks get excited. I think I can safely say that a big reason people work with, for, and around salmon is because of love… fascination… curiosity… and sheer engagement with the subject matter — with this sleek, silver, slimy critter. With this fish that connects the power of the North Pacific with the heaven-reaching heights of the Rocky Mountains.

It is a truly remarkable species and the connection we humans have with it is dotted everywhere I drove on this trip…

Raymond, WA

Raymond, WA (salmon into thin air)

South Bend, WA

Dorymen's Association -- Pacific City, Oregon

a dwindling scene... Pacific City dories going out after salmon

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And you see the reason “everything is marketing” is — as recognized in the welcoming letter to this particular conference:

…Much of this debate has been limited to a small group of experts and practitioners. While public perception might be changing, I would hazard a guess that most of the public would not recognize a hatchery program as a potential risk to wild salmon.

Mr. Pete Rand, Senior Conservation Biologist and Conference Chair, State of the Salmon Program

I agree entirely with Pete on the limited nature of some of the discussion — e.g. limited to experts — however, I’m not sure I agree with the fact that the public doesn’t recognize the risks.

along the Salmon River, coastal Oregon

Here’s a photo on a tiny shop, ironically on the “Salmon River” in central Oregon just inland from Otis, on the way to Portland and Salem:

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What it comes down to is exactly as Macleod suggests: everything is marketing….

even the charts and graphs, modeling equations, and dimly lit ballroms with ‘experts’ debating the risks and/or benefits of salmon hatcheries…

Politicians enact legislation, the public elects politicians (in theory), politicians act on public will.

Public will comes from clever, clear, and compelling marketing…  there is already a deep set relationship with salmon — with settler and indigenous people alike — the marketing doesn’t even need to be that clever or compelling — but certainly clear.

Unfortunately, PowerPoint (aka Missing-the-Point) is not an important piece of that puzzle – at least not in utilizing it in the traditional sense.

Searching for One Percenters?

As I set out to finally compile and write a book or two on the topic of salmon and on the Wild Salmon Cycle (the 10,000 km bicycle trip I completed in 2003 through the North American range of Pacific Salmon) – and before launching this blog – I took a pretty good look around online to see what was being said about “salmon”.

I was pretty damn surprised to find… not much.

Sure, there are the usual advocacy and research-oriented websites – and interesting organizations like The Wild Salmon Center. Check them out they do some neat stuff around the entire Pacific Rim and world of Pacific salmon.

Search salmon recipes and you will find no shortage of results, or salmon fishing… look out.

Over the three years that I peddled away completing the Wild Salmon Cycle – and in the years of contract work before that; I had heard about, heard from, and met a rather impressive array of people involved in salmon-related conservation, stewardship, and/ stream cleaning projects. I met people active for years on salmon-related projects in the Sacramento River in California, the Eel River towards northern California, I saw signs for projects near Olympia, Washington, I worked on salmon stewardship projects in the Yukon on the Yukon River, I met people involved in projects in Alaska, and as I mentioned in a posting yesterday there is a veritable Gumboot Army charging around the streams of BC – some suggest over 200,000 strong.

So then why can’t I find so much more in this age of social media and social marketing?

I’m not sure why and I am set on finding out.

In earlier postings I have mentioned Seth Godin a few times – social marketing guru. I’ve also mentioned he’s a pretty neat guy, and also has one of the most popular blogs going. This month he released another free ebook called “What Matters Now“. It’s a collection of thoughts from a wide range of folks. It’s a good read, with links to all the writer’s blogs, books, and websites featured in the book (haven’t waded through all that yet).

One of the pages in the books is called “1%”.

The story is about a couple of folks who created a product called “Bacon Salt”. Sounds rather obscure and odd, however it’s bacon-flavored salt. The two folks who created it had no food experience and no marketing budget. So what do they do?

They go online and through social marketing they find bacon enthusiasts; strike up a conversation, and eventually through a small percentage of the people contacted word starts to spread. A few months later the buzz is increasing. All of a sudden articles, TV appearances and the coup de grace: Oprah. They launch a bunch of other bacon flavored products and a successful brand is created.

The key to the success is that it didn’t begin with a social network of millions of members, and even if it did those millions wouldn’t be the buzz-spreaders -  it was a tiny percentage of the enthusiasts that started the buzz.

Approximately 1% – these are the One Percenters.

The authors of this little piece suggest that the One Percenters:

are often hidden in the crevices of niches, yet they are the roots of word of mouth…. This year your job is to find them and attract them.

So in this Pacific Rim niche – I am searching for the one percenters of salmon enthusiasts…. I would like to feature stories, tell stories, read stories, and maybe even generate some buzz along the way.