A darkened room full of freezing scientists and fishery managers
Running across Clem Tillion in the lobby of the Hotel Captain Cook during an afternoon break in the Wakefield Symposium put a little perspective on things for me. Clem told me he was in town to attend a sold-out celebration of the McNeil River Sanctuary, which made sense, because he’s the guy who wrote the bill creating it. That celebration was something I badly wanted to go to but passed up in able to sit with fish researchers for three days. Also that day I badly wanted to be in Fairbanks with Lavrov, Tillerson, Kislyak, the indigenous leaders and the rest of them at the Arctic Council Ministerial, a meeting literally forming our future. And also during these three days the weather finally broke, and being out in the sun and our garden seemed far preferable to sitting in a freezing cold hotel ballroom watching hour after hour of technical presentations about fish management. But I made the right decision. This conference said a hell of a lot.
It’s taking me a while to break it down to blog entries, but they’ll be coming, now that I’ve eaten a large meal, had a good night’s sleep, and dealt with our editorial duties. But right now, I’m going out to the garden to get the peas in, wet down the compost and enjoy looking at how our garlic crop is coming up.
Right now, I’ll just update what I posted yesterday about the future of our Bering Sea Pollock fishery. I had a conversation with the guy who sets the quota, NOAA’s Jim Ianelli. He had been there for Franz’s presentation on the fishery’s dismal long term prospects, and he told me that he did not need to be at next month’s Council meeting in Juneau. “There is a 2018 TAC in the books,” he said, “but it’s just a placeholder. The decision will be made in December here in town at the Hilton.”
Ianelli’s presentation had talked about uncertainties about weight at age for these fish, suggesting expanding the envelope in their population graph that indicates how fast the fish are growing. He said the large 2008 year class is still quite abundant, and signs are the 2012 class is good, too. Plus, he added, “there is good news from the Gulf.” So, if I’m not reading too much into this conversation, it would appear that NOAA has scientific justification for continuing a fairly high TAC next year. Ianelli didn’t stick around for the final panel discussion at the Wakefield, but then again even had he been there he would certainly not have been disposed to stick his neck out.