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In a White house press release and video message posted online, President Obama announced his plan to designate Bristol Bay as off limits to consideration for oil and gas leasing, exploration and drilling — an action that will safeguard waters that help provide 40 percent of USA’s wild-caught seafood, support a $2 billion annual fishing industry, and are vital to the commercial fishing and tourism economy and to Alaska Native communities.
In a Press release by the white house…
“President Obama designated the pristine waters of Bristol Bay as off limits to consideration for oil and gas leasing. This action safeguards one of the nation’s most productive fisheries and preserves an ecologically rich area of the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska that is vital to the commercial fishing and tourism economy and to Alaska Native communities.”
Using his executive powers Obama proclamated (see Youtube clip):
“Under Authority granted me in Section 12(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, 43 USC 1341(a), this withdrawal prevents consideration of this area for any oil or gas leasing for purposes of exploration, development or production.”
According to the Whitehouse Press release:
“Bristol Bay is at the heart one of the world’s most valuable fisheries, helping to provide 40 percent of America’s wild-caught seafood and support a $2 billion annual fishing industry. The beautiful and remote area is also an economic engine for tourism in Alaska, driving $100 million in recreational fishing and tourism activity every year. Bristol Bay hosts the largest runs of wild sockeye salmon in the world, and provides important habitat for many species, including the threatened Stellar’s eider, sea otters, seals, walruses, Beluga and Killer whales, and the endangered North Pacific Right Whale.
Today’s decision to withdraw the area from all future oil and gas leasing extends indefinitely a temporary withdrawal that President Obama issued in 2010 and was set to expire in 2017. This action builds on decades of local efforts to protect Bristol Bay from oil and gas development by Alaska Native tribes and organizations, as well as local seafood and tourism businesses that create jobs and strengthen Alaska and the nation’s economy. It also honors the legacy of Alaska residents like Harold ‘Harvey’ Samuelsen, a salmon fisherman who is legendary for his lifelong dedication to Bristol Bay and to creating economic opportunities for Alaska Native and rural communities.
The North Aleutian Basin Planning Area that includes Bristol Bay consists of approximately 32.5 million acres, a portion of which was leased in the mid-1980s but never developed due to litigation. The previous Administration set in motion a new lease sale for 2011 that would have opened approximately 5.6 million acres – about one-fifth of the planning area – for drilling.
In 2010, President Obama temporarily withdrew the Bristol Bay area from oil and gas development, exercising his authority under section 12 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which gives the President authority to withdraw offshore areas from potential oil and gas leasing. President Eisenhower was the first to exercise the authority in 1960, withdrawing an area now included in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Since then, Presidents on both sides of the aisle have acted to withdraw areas of the Outer Continental Shelf from oil and gas leasing.
Under the Outer Continental Shelf Land Act of 1953, the Department of the Interior develops a new leasing program every five years for energy development in federal offshore waters.
The current Five Year Program for 2012–2017, which expires in August 2017, schedules 15 potential lease sales in six planning areas with the greatest resource potential, including more than 75 percent of the estimated undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in federal offshore waters.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is currently developing the 2017-2022 program, which includes opportunities for public comment.“
Culmination of Years of Campaigning by eNGOs, Fishers and other organisation
This Action by the US President must have come as GIGANTIC relief for a multitude of campaigners that have been working hard for years, trying to ensure the protection of this pristine wilderness area.
- Red Gold Film: www.redgoldfilm.com
- Trout Unlimited Alaska: www.savebristolbay.org
- Why Wild: www.whywild.org
- Renewable Resources Coalition: www.renewableresourcescoalition.org
- Earthworks: www.earthworksaction.org
- No dirty Gold: www.nodirtygold.org
- The Pebble Partnership: www.pebblepartnership.com
- Anchorage daily News: www.adn.com
- Anchorage Daily News, Pebble Blog: http://community.adn.com/adn/blog 61223
- Erin McKittrick’s website: www.groundtruthtrekking.org
- Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska: www.sportsmansalliance4ak.org/
- Our Bristol Bay: http://ourbristolbay.com/index.html
I just saw some incredible pictures in the Daily Mail that provide just a hint of the colossal volume of Chinese fishing capacity. The photo- article entitled “Out to lunch: Extraordinary moment thousands of Chinese trawlers head out to sea after three-month ban on fishing is lifted” provides a glimpse of the capacity of chinese fishing capacity, keeping in mind that all of these vessels are departing from one port; Ningbo in Zhejiang Province!
Thousands of Chinese trawlers rushed out into the East China Sea today after a three-month-long summer fishing moratorium ended.
These incredible images of boats setting out from a harbour in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, show just why China harvests more fish than any other country.
Although China has one fifth of the world’s population, it consumes a third of the world’s fish – some 50 million tonnes a year.
The worldwide average of fish consumption is just over 16 kilos a year, but in China the average person will get through almost twice that.
Every year, there is a three-month ban on fishing to allow stocks to breed and recover, but it has done little to stop a massive decline.
Fishermen themselves blame pollution, but environmental experts say overfishing has in particular decimated the numbers of mature adult fish and has made many varieties almost impossible now to find.
For locals in Ningbo, the annual sight of the boats once again setting out into the Pacific Ocean at the start of the fishing season is a good reason for a day trip out.
But for the fishermen themselves, the start of the season is unlikely to bring good news.
Catches of the four main species – the Japanese Spanish mackerel, eel and the large and small yellow croaker – have plummeted.
In the past, a successful fishing trip might have netted hundreds of kilograms of the large yellow croaker, but according to one captain most fishermen only get a few a year now, meaning prices were now forty or fifty times as much.
Mo Zhaolan, a researcher at China’s Institute of Oceanology, said that overfishing and pollution were having a much bigger impact than a decade ago.
Once large and valuable fish have been overfished, attention turns to a less valuable species, with the process continuing until all species have been over-exploited, fisheries depleted and biodiversity irreparably damaged.
According to ifeng.com and translated at (SeafoodNews.COM by Amy Zhong) “about 70% of the imported seafood is not taxed in the Mainland China and many seafood items have been smuggled into China through Vietnam, according to some media.”
Although this question may not interest consumers, it is of great importance to ask how the imported seafood they enjoy has entered the Chinese market. Some discreet consumers find it necessary to distinguish the imported seafood of America from those of Australia, however, they are not concerned about whether these seafood have been taxed.
An experienced lobster supplier in Australia has told the reporter from Free Trade Zone Post (FTZ Post) that a comparatively high proportion of imported seafood has been brought into China in an illegal way. The proportion may be as high as 70%, according to his estimation.
Although overseas suppliers know that this kind of smuggling has existed for a long time, they have not intervened but thought that it should be handled by the Chinese. One Australian supplier has warned that although the price of these illegal seafood may be about 20% to 30% less than those imported legally, the safety of the illegal seafood can not be guaranteed owing to a lack of examination and quarantine.
However, the reality is that neither the importers nor the eaters care about if these seafoods are imported legally.
As the data show, Vietnam and China are both among the top three in view of importing the western Australian seafood from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. But China’s import value is only US$100 million, a third of Vietnam’s import value, which is US$320 million.
This clearly doesn’t match the spending power..