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Spoof Newspaper Makes a Splash at North Pacific Fisheries Management Council Meeting

Greenpeace asks council to protect Bering Sea canyons

PORTLAND, OR - Council members, fishermen, and industry
insiders awoke Wednesday and Friday mornings to an unusual edition of
USA Today on their doorstep at the Benson Hotel. The Council is
currently meeting to discuss whether any new protections are needed
within the approximately one million square miles of the ocean the
council manages. Greenpeace activists had distributed several hundred
copies of a USA Today spoof newspaper calling out the Council and the
National Marine Fisheries Service for not protecting the Bering Sea

A pdf of the paper is   available here

The headlines included, "Trawl Captain Declares War on deep sea
corals," "Lobbyists argue 'Steller Sea Lions not that hungry'" and
"Study finds Fur Seals 'Depressed and Anxious'" and featured bylines
from John Henderschedt (a Council member), NOAA Administator Jane
Lubchenco and Paul McGregor, a pollock industry lobbyist.  The content
of the paper stressed that the council needs to consider an
ecosystem-based approach to fishery management, and that fur seals and
Steller sea lions are currently at risk.
The reactions by Council members and industry were often positive and stimulated discussion and laughter.
acknowledged they had to "give credit where credit was due" and called
it "a creative piece of theater that amused more than angered." 
Greenpeace has also been distributing cocktail napkins, pens and
t-shirts to remind the council to protect the Bering Sea Canyons.

Greenpeace and the Bering Sea

In 2007, Greenpeace went on an expedition to the Bering Sea to research
the bountiful wildlife and unseen species that live in deep water
canyons. Greenpeace and NOAA documented the presence of at least 14
species of deep-water corals and 20 sponge species in Zhemchug and
Pribilof canyons. These fragile coral and sponge communities provide
habitat for a high diversity of marine life, including commercially
important fish and crab.

Greenpeace has been using these findings to quantify to regulators that
the Bering Sea needs permanent protection in the form of marine
reserves. NOAA has reported to Congress that Pribilof and Zhemchug
Canyons are areas containing deep-sea corals that currently lack
protection and are vulnerable to fishing impacts.  Marine reserves are
a proven tool to rebuild fish populations, provide a buffer against
uncertainty, and protect biological diversity.

Greenpeace also formally submitted comments to the council that recommended:

  • The EFH Review be amended to incorporate the best available
    scientific information, including maps exhibiting species
    distributions, for all known coral and sponge habitats in the Alaska
  • The SSC recommends that the Council initiate an accelerated EFH
    amendment package and HAPC process to protect coral and sponge
    habitats from the effects of fishing; and
  • The SSC recommends that the Council drop the arbitrary and
    capricious non-statutory HAPC requirement that "Sites must be largely
    undisturbed and occur outside core fishing areas."

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