JULY 30 ADD-ON -- Stay savvy -- read these fishy news stories
N.Y. man struck and killed by lead fishing weight
The Associated Press
A man fishing off Long Island is dead after a 3-ounce lead fishing weight attached to his pole struck him in the face and dug into his brain.
Relatives and a physician say Roosevelt resident Jaime Chicas died Tuesday from severe head trauma and herniation.
A neurologist at Nassau University Medical Center says the lead weight from Chicas' fishing pole hit with "so much force that it kept going" and lodged in the back of his head.
Relatives say the 21-year-old was fishing with his brother-in-law and cousin at the west end of Jones Beach Friday when the accident happened.
Lead sinkers are commonly used by fishermen to sink lures more rapidly.
[Copyright 2008 HT Media Ltd.] - July 30, 2008 - Washington, If you're looking out for ways to minimise risk of heart disease, you could begin with a seafood-rich diet typically served in Japan.
A lifetime of eating tuna, sardines, salmon and other fish appears to protect Japanese men against clogged arteries, independently of other cardiovascular risk factors, according to a new study.
Researchers have identified omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, as the source of protection.
In the first ever study, researchers found that compared to middle-aged white men or Japanese-American men living in the US, natives of Japan had twice the blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids - a finding linked with low levels of atherosclerosis.
'The death rate from coronary heart disease in Japan has always been puzzlingly low,' said Akira Sekikawa, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh.
'Our study suggests that the very low rates of coronary heart disease among Japanese living in Japan may be due to their lifelong high consumption of fish.'
Japanese eat about three ounces of fish daily, on average, while typical Americans eat fish perhaps twice a week. Nutritional studies show that the intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish averages 1.3 grams per day in Japan, as compared to 0.2 grams per day in the US.
Earlier studies by Sekikawa's team showed that Japanese men had significantly less cholesterol build-up in their arteries when compared to white men living in the US-despite similar blood cholesterol and blood pressure readings, similar rates of diabetes and much higher rates of cigarette smoking.
The study enrolled 868 randomly selected men aged 40 to 49. Of these, 281 were Japanese men from Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan; 306 were white men from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; and 281 were third- or fourth-generation Japanese-American men from Honolulu, Hawaii.
Sekikawa and colleagues found that the total level of fatty acids was similar in the three groups, but the percentage represented by fish-based omega-3 fatty acids was two-fold higher in Japanese men living in Japan (9.2 percent) when compared to white men (3.9 percent) and Japanese-American men (4.8 percent) living in the US.
[Copyright 2008 Environment and Energy Publishing, LLC] - July 30, 2008 - This year's blue crab population in the Chesapeake Bay is lower than last year's alarming level, according to a report released yesterday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The report -- which states that the population of spawning-age blue crabs in the bay for 2007-2008 was 120 million, down from 143 million during the 2006-2007 season -- highlights that the bay's signature species remains in peril.
The numbers come from a closer analysis of the winter dredge survey that was released in the spring. The survey, which is considered one of the most accurate tools for crab counting in the bay, counts the animals as they burrow in the mud. State officials say the survey can predict the crab population with 90 percent accuracy.
Last year, the bay-wide harvest of 43.5 million pounds was the lowest recorded since 1945. Scientists said that watermen would remove 60 percent of the blue crabs in the bay -- a rate of exploitation the population could not sustain -- if harvest pressure continued as expected.
July 30, 2008 - The indictment of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens yesterday by a federal grand jury was not a surprise. A year ago, federal investigators raided his home in Girdwood, near the Aleyska Ski resort outside of Anchorage, and took documents and pictures relating to remodeling done by Veco employees.
The indictment grew out of a 4 year corruption investigation in Alaska which has resulted in the conviction of several Alaska legislators, and a guilty plea for bribery by Bill Allen, CEO of the Veco Oil services company in May of 2007. Basically, the legislators were paid to vote in Veco's interest.
Ted Stevens was more of a tangential target. Most of Veco's concerns were with state oil taxes, but federal investigators also say that Stevens had some influence in other dealings of interest to Veco. But there is no evidence of a quid pro quo necessary for a bribery charge. Instead, it appears that Stevens was careless in accepting favors from Veco and Bill Allen, and the feds have charged him with filing false financial disclosure statements over these gifts and favors.
This is a petty crime, something that hundreds of other politicians have done. How many times have politicians corrected financial disclosure forms when some new information has come to light. They are not charged with felonies in most cases.
The tragedy of Sen. Stevens, and it is a tragedy, is that he was careless about such matters, and even more damaging, allowed his son Ben Stevens to actively trade on his father's Senate power to gain money for himself through promises to intercede on federal legislation. This failure was one of carelessness, not venality.
Alaska is hurt by this indictment, and the likely end of Stevens' career. Alaska has a population of around 670,000 - not much bigger than Boston proper. Yet it is spread out across a state that literally stretches from Florida to California, if it were splayed across a map of the lower 48.
Without its rich natural resources, especially fisheries and oil, Alaska would be poor and remote. The genius of Senator Stevens was that he understood the need to use and structure the State's resources in such a way as to make Alaska self-sufficient.
Many people criticize the costs of federal projects in Alaska, where a simple airstrip or bridge for a remote community can costs many millions of dollars. Yet, without these things, people in Alaska could not share the same standard of living as people in the rest of the U.S. All senators work to make sure that federal projects flow to their constituents. Stevens' work looks big by comparison because Alaska is big, remote, expensive, and far away.
The fishing industry in the U.S. is in many ways in a similar position to Alaska as a state. It is a tiny industry compared to the economy as a whole, and it is very specialized and remote from the experience of most Americans.
To run fisheries sustainably and to gain the economic benefits require big federal outlays for science, management, protection of coastal waters, search and rescue, and other expenses that to an outsider seem disproportionate. Why, a critic may ask, spend millions of dollars on research and management on many fish stocks that don't return that much commercial value. Why have the largest Coast Guard base in the U.S. in Kodiak, Alaska?
Stevens attraction to the fishing industry was partly because it is a foundation of the economy in Alaska. But he also knew that specific legislation and organization were necessary to make things work.
In many ways he represents for Alaska what someone like Ted Kennedy represents for Massachusetts. He is involved in almost every thing that bears on the economy and interests of the state.
Stevens legislative history is remarkable. He helped create the Alaska oil pipeline in such a manner as to provide ongoing revenues to the state.
He co-authored the Magnuson-Stevens act that governs fishery management in the U.S., and helped lay the framework for the best fishery management in the world in the North Pacific.
He knew the players in the industry, from harvesters organizations to processors and factory trawler operators in Seattle. His ability to get things done brought these sectors together -- notably in the American Fisheries Act, which Americanized the pollock fishery, ended the inshore vs. offshore wars, allocated the resource, and laid the foundations for the most profitable and efficient fishery in the entire country, based in Seattle and Alaska.
One of the biggest challenges for remote areas is how to become self sufficient using their own resources, so that the communities may maintain a standard of living without welfare. The Alaskan Community Development Quota (CDQ) program, is one of the best models in the world of this happening. The program allocates ten percent of federal fish quotas in Alaska to CDQ groups, dedicated to improving health, education, employment and other opportunities in their communities. Over time, these groups have parlayed their shares of quota into equity, and sometimes majority ownership of many of the major Alaskan fishing companies. In this manner, Stevens helped to make more secure the economic future for Western rural Alaska for generations.
It is no wonder that the reaction of most people with knowledge of these achievements, and the difficulty of them, is huge disappointment and sadness at the indictment.
The future will be more difficult, because no matter who may step forward as a political leader and spokesperson for the seafood industry, they will need time to get to know the players, to understand the industry, and to gain political clout and credibility on Capitol Hill.
During this transition, the industry will be vulnerable, in the same manner that Alaska will be. Other priorities may trample over fishing interests. Regional fishery wars may break out without anyone of stature able to put a stop to them.
So this morning, after yesterday's news, many in the industry feel we are facing a period of greater uncertainty, and wish it need not be so.
THE MAN WHO PUT THE STEVENS IN THE MAGNUSON/STEVENS ACT --
Associated Press] - July 20, 2008 - ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Until recently, U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens was thought to be politically immune, a senator for life, a dealmaker who could satisfy Alaskans' thirst for conservative politics while solving problems with millions in federal aid.
But a seven-count federal indictment has cracked the veneer of the longest serving Republican in Senate history. Already facing a strong election challenge, Stevens now could see his reputation not only tarnished but even demolished.
'His career is over,' said Gerald McBeath, chairman of the political science department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The charges revealed Tuesday were expected, McBeath said, but still 'close to a political earthquake' given Stevens' importance to Alaska.
Affectionately referred to as 'Uncle Ted,' Stevens, 84, has been involved in every major Alaska issue since he joined the Senate almost 40 years ago.
'There's not another senator who's had that much influence on a single state in modern times,' said Michael Carey, former editorial page editor for the Anchorage Daily News.
Stevens helped broker Alaska Native claims, paving the way for construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline. He pushed for a 200-mile sovereignty limit and other legislation to reduce foreign ownership of Alaska's fisheries.
He has argued relentlessly to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to petroleum drilling. He promoted Alaska's strategic location to bring in millions in defense dollars.
Savvy, loyal and personable with colleagues, Stevens moved up the ranks within the Senate, eventually ascending to committee chairmanships and using his power to secure money to build up Alaska infrastructure.
He made no apology for securing money for safe airports in communities too small to support doctors and road money to repair 'highways' of gravel or blacktop made wavy by melting permafrost.
A grateful constituency in 1999 named Stevens 'Alaskan of the Century' for having the greatest effect on the state in 100 years. Anchorage's international airport, the state's largest, is named in his honor. His reputation outside of Alaska of a pork-barrel politician only cemented his value within the state.
That is likely to change with the indictment, McBeath said. It could take a decade for a replacement to build up the same expertise, he said.
'That's going to hurt the state when oil prices drop, which they will, and we need to rely again on federal funding. We're going to have less of an ability to get it.'
Others were not ready to pronounce Stevens' service over.
Carl Shepro, a University of Alaska Anchorage political science professor, said voters will not soon forget Stevens' importance and long record of service. 'I think he has to be convicted of something before it has a significant impact on his electability,' he said.
While Alaska Democrats called for Stevens' immediate resignation, his campaign vowed to 'move full steam ahead.'
'Our office has been flooded today with calls and e-mails from supporters urging the Senator to press on,' said spokesman Aaron Saunders. 'The message from them is clear: Alaska needs Ted Stevens in the U.S. Senate.'
Republican Party of Alaska spokesman McHugh Pierre said officials were happy to see Stevens proclaim his innocence and vow to fight the charges.
'We're going to let the primary process play out and then we're going to endorse the winner,' he said.
Even before the indictment was handed down, Stevens' likely November opponent, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, was polling well and Stevens faced questions about his age.
Veteran state Rep. John Coghill, a Republican, said the indictments likely will kill Stevens' hope for another term.
'I think for his re-election, it looks like a pretty hefty blow, unless he can quickly show that all the allegations are unsubstantiated.'