Rich Holland's Blog

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009


You'll never see as two-faced an entity as the Blue Ribbon Task Force. All their process will do is close fishing, but it's not about fisheries, it's ecosystem management. Water quality isn't part of the process, but water quality is part of the evaluation. The Task Force is not a regulatory body, but it's been shown that the alternative they choose is the one that will become law. They don't have an agenda, but they continually push for the largest possible array of fishing closures in the best habitat. They are not influenced by the private money that funds their actions, yet they adhere to the ridiculous timeline mandated by the memorandum of understanding between Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman and the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation.

I ask, if you work for someone who signed a pact with the devil, don't you work for the devil? Why is it that 16 million dollars over a number of years can fund the largest resource grab in history, yet the 70 million dollars yearly in license and excise tax funds from fishermen can only buy 30 seconds of comment?

Yet I have to say the entire Marine Life Protection Act Initiative is an unprecedented process taking full advantage of the modern communications age while still putting human beings in the same room.

I just happen to be reading David Halberstam's "The Coldest Winter," a story of the Korean War that necessarily portrays General Douglas MacArthur's many accomplishments and tragic missteps. He writes:

"The writer Cole Kingseed, a professor of military history at West Point, once noted that a description of Oliver Cromwell, the seventeenth-century Puritan general, was applicable to MacArthur as well in trying to decide whether he was a good man or an evil man: he was a 'great bad man.'"

The MLPA Initiative is a "great bad process" and this was shown over and over at the meeting April 15 and 16 in Dana Point. In the last two projects, Meg Caldwell of the Task Force adamantly told stakeholders to hew to Science Advisory Team information as gospel truth, yet after the SAT gave a presentation on a modeling system that will be used at the islands and would work better along the coast than the current size and spacing guidelines, Caldwell openly mocked the science.

The bioeconomic modeling received only tepid lip service from others on the panel who noted modeling works, but should just be regarded as another tool, not a substitute. I can personally vouch for modeling, using the model discussions of the NOAA weather service to score several great powder snowboarding days this seasonl. I bring this up because environmentalists in line with Caldwell, including stakeholder Greg Helms, used weather forecasting as a dismissal of modeling.

The fact is two separate groups of scientists have been working on models for the MLPA and those models have produced the same outcome. The weather analysts I rely on look at a number of models and how they agree and the actual outcome to determine confidence in a final outcome. It is the epitome of adaptive management and the complete opposite of saying fish only swim 6 to 12 miles in one direction.

Modeling is both the answer for making the network work in the future and liveable in the short term. But the people paying for the process want to measure their money in square miles and the BRTF has directed the stakeholders to change their arrays to come to the middle and end up with arrays that look like the other parts of the state, even though the differences between regions is enormous.

Has someone already used the word preposterous?

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