Archive for the ‘salmon’ Tag

Empire Editorial: Salmon horror story | Juneau Empire – Alaska’s Capital City Online Newspaper   3 comments

LELA – I have never really stated an opinion on GMOs because I’m generally not opposed to them. Pretty much all food is genetically modified because we humans have been doing hybridization for about 6000 years. Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, radish, cress, rapeseed, mustard and several other vegetables all come from the same species of plant found in the Mediterrean region thousands of years ago. The variety comes from hybridization, otherwise known as genetic modification.

Beef used to be much chewier and drier, pork much fatter and yummier, and chickens and turkeys had much smaller breasts. These improvements were brought about by genetic modification through selective breeding. Even organic farmers are actually selling GMOs.

So, I’m not opposed to GMOs generally. I do have big concerns about GMO corn because it contains a DNA-linked pesticide that is killing bees right along with corn worms and, since corn is in almost everything we eat and drink, I worry that ingesting so much pesticide is probably causing some sort of health effect that isn’t a good thing.

The Atlantic salmon bears no taste comparison to Pacific salmon. Sorry if you’re a fan but it is mushy and flavorless — and, yes, I’ve eaten it fresh caught. Alaskans would compare Atlantic salmon to pink (coho) and we refer to that species as “dog salmon” because it’s fit only for the dogs. But here’s the problem. As the article below explains, labeling is not going to be allowed, so people are not going to know what they’re buying. So when they eat mushy, flavorless salmon they will blame all salmon instead of the culprit and that’s not good for Alaska’s market in salmon.

And then there is the problem of cross-breeding. The Canadian government did some stupid accidental experiments in less intelligent times that pretty much prove that Atlantic salmon can survive to adulthood in the Pacific ocean, but don’t appear to be able to produce a second generation. Except … what if these “frankenfish” are able to overcome that difficulty. If they get out into the wild, they can breed. I’m not a biologist, so I don’t know if they can cross fertilize Pacific salmon eggs, but if they can ….

We have a wonderful resource in North Pacific salmon stocks and Alaska has worked hard to return that population to health after the federal government allowed the fish cartels to almost destroy the resource, but this experiment is risking that.

Now, if they wanted to do this farming in the Atlantic ocean … but see, that’s not the plan.


You sit back in your cinema seat and grab your popcorn. The lights go down and the show begins. A giant wooden door appears on the screen and slowly creaks open to reveal a figure of horror – the scaly, wide-eyed face of a salmon.

Source: Empire Editorial: Salmon horror story | Juneau Empire – Alaska’s Capital City Online Newspaper

New Author Pic   3 comments

Author pic salmonIn case anyone doesn’t believe that I really live this crazy Alaska lifestyle — here’s me with a king salmon. I did not catch this salmon (Brad did), but I have caught ones as big … in a large landing net on a 15-foot-long telescoping pole from a wild Alaska river.

As I am the family photographer, you will usually not see me on camera.

Posted August 22, 2015 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska

Tagged with , , , , ,

I’m Voting Third-Party   Leave a comment

Five/5/FIVE messages on my answering machine last night asking me to vote for _______________.

I”m a registered non-partisan super-voter, so my vote is especially coveted, courted, cajoled. Thanks, guys, I appreciate that I’m important to the electoral process.

Now GET THE *$%^&)@ off my answering machine!

I’m voting THIRD-PARTY and INDEPENDENT. The only political party race I”m casting a ballot in is Don Young and Forest Dunbar and that’s only because there is no third-party candidate and I can’t stand Forest Dunbar. Hear that, Forest! I think Don Young needs to retire, but I don’t think you should take his place, so I’m voting for him because you’re the only other person in the race.

I’m voting for the independent candidate for Governor — Bill Walker. I’m not actually voting for Byron Mallott (still the Democrat who got Lisa Murkowski back into the Senate after the Republican voters rejected her in 2010) and I hope Bill takes good care of himself.

I’m voting for the Libertarian candidate (Mark Fish) for Senator. Yes, Begich or Sullivan will win. I don’t care! I can’t vote for either of those two idiots.

I’m voting down the salmon initiative because I recognize that not everyone in Alaska is a commercial fisherman and most commercial fishermen plying Alaska waters are from Washington and Oregon. I am pro-Alaskan, not pro-fish cartel. I believe large scale mining and salmon fishing can and should coexist.

I’m not sure if I’m voting to legalize marijuana. I feel about marijuana the same way I feel about alcohol and other “recreational” drugs. They are dangerous and soul-sucking and society would be better off without them, but I don’t have the right to make that decision for the whole of society. Legalizing them won’t make them safe, but criminalization just creates criminals. My years in the mental health field means I know a great deal more about marijuana’s ugly side than the general public knows. Also, Alaska has had defacto decriminalization for more than 30 years,, so I’ve seen the societal affects first hand. Trying to portray it as harmless doesn’t mean that it is actually harmless. But, like alcohol, it’s not going to be stopped by criminalization. I might just leave that section of the ballot unchecked because I am ambivilant. Call it a clash between my Christian morality and good sense and my civil libertarian ideals. Yeah, I probably will just not check the box either way.

I’ve voting against the minimum wage hike because I believe forced higher wages reduces employment rates especially among the young and marginally skilled and ultimately provides employment opportunities for those who don’t pay taxes — mainly, illegal immigrants.

So, there you have it!

I’m voting, but not for any candidate who is getting big money or party endorsements. Stop calling me urging me to do so and STOP TELLING ME WHO TO VOTE FOR. I made that decision a long time ago without your help, which I never needed.

Fight the Stream   1 comment

Red salmon jumping up a waterfall

The waterfall seems too high and too powerful and it might just be easier to go with the flow, but the salmon were born in the far reaches of the river system, above the waterfall. They went with the flow to the ocean, but now their destiny calls to a place above the waterfall and so they jump, and jump, and jump, and jump … until they surmount the obstacle to achieve their destiny.

Our nation was founded in liberty. It’s in our societal DNA. We’ve taken the easy way for so long that the forces driving us toward tyranny seem insurmountable, but our societal DNA gives us a longing for the liberty of our forefathers.

It is up to us to decide if we’re willing to fight the current and return to the liberty our nation was born in or if we simply will allow the current to drag us down into tyranny.

How About You Talk to Some Real Alaskans?   Leave a comment

In my ongoing question to slay the Alaskan misperception dragon, I ran across an interesting article.

The Lower 48 mentality about Alaska generally drives Alaskans crazy. People fly into this remote outpost of humanity, see things that are strange to their eyes and draw their assumptions without spending more than five minutes with anyone. Yeah, quote some Greenpeacer in Anchorage, but don’t actually talk to any people who actually live here and have hunted for game.–alaska-where-men-have-guns-and-animals-don-t-have-a-chance

Most Alaskans cannot afford the equipment that is described in this article. Even if we could afford it, most of the hunting areas are not suitable for the big track vehicles described here. Possibly, this was going into a mine, carrying equipment, possibly it was carrying rich outside hunters into a guiding camp, but it’s unlikely it was being used for hunting by Alaskans.

Moreover, even if it were, such machinery makes a LOT of noise and therefore, scares off the game, which actually works to the game’s advantage.

“Hey, do you hear that? Maybe we ought to move to the next valley.”

My husband and I have hunted many times. We live off the salmon we harvest from the Copper River, using landing nets on long polls, perched a few feet above a river that nobody comes out of when they fall in. Yes, it’s exciting. Mostly, though, it’s food. Healthy, preservative- and hormone- free food that can be had at an affordable price.

We’ve also hunted, but with far less success. In 30 years, we’ve gotten four caribou and five road-killed moose. The caribou we actually got by hunting. Four caribou in maybe 15 hunting expeditions. We’ve gone moose hunting at least as many times and we’ve had maybe six in our sights and missed all shots. Why? Because moose aren’t stupid. It’s their backyard. They move away from the roads into the high country come hunting season. They can move into a copse of trees and just disappear. As huge as they are, they are silent when they travel. They are used to much better predators than us. Where they get stupid is in walking in front of speeding automobiles in the middle of winter. Alaska allows charities to harvest road-kill and most charities allow the harvesting volunteers a portion of the harvest to offset their day off work and gasoline.

It was quite apparent that hunting in Alaska comes to the human inhabitants as naturally as breathing. They seem to be obsessed with this urge to kill the wildlife. And with our modern technology and our rapidly increasing human population, what chance do wild animals have of escaping the guns of people who kill them just for kicks?

This writer was clearly traveling Alaska’s highways, which are normally devoid of animals in September not because they’ve all been killed, but because the military bozos who are road hunting have scared them away with their big manly vehicles.

It might have been nice if he’d bothered to talk to some actual Alaskans, rather than just draw his own conclusions. He might have learned that the rigs he was seeing are not owned by Alaskans, but by military members who are only here for three or four years and think they need this equipment to get the game, but rarely do. They might also have learned that heating oil is $4 a gallon here and it typically takes 1200 to 1500 gallons a winter to heat an average 2000 sq foot home. If we can get a moose, that’s about $1000 worth of meat. Guess what we spend it on? That’s right, heating fuel. Guess what we don’t eat a whole lot of the years we don’t get a moose or a caribou? That’s right – meat.

The writer really needs to get off his high judgmental perch. I’m going to guess he was travelling Alaska with plenty of money to enjoy staying at McClaren River Lodge (from the description), which owes its existence to the excellent fishing in the area and the snow machiners who adventure there in the winter. Maybe if he’d bothered to talk to the waitress instead of assuming she was hero-worshipping the hunters, he might have learned something about the state and the people who actually live here. It’s not a comfortable or simple life here. For people in the villages, the grocery store is a $600 plane ride away. For those of us living in the urban areas, a grocery bill of $200 a week for a family of four is not unusual – and is, when you have teenagers, unavoidable. Hunting is how we take the edge off of those high prices. As I said, very few of us can afford to use a tracked vehicle and even if we did, it would just scare the game away.

When I travel the Lower 48, I sometimes see things that I judge ridiculous too, but I always remind myself that I don’t live there, so don’t understand the situation. It might be a good idea for the writer to learn that.

And, by the way, guns safely closed up in black cases on the sides of trailers are not terrible menacing. Numbers of such rifles going off accidentally — ZERO!

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