April 1998I love rockfishes. I've got a tattoo of one on my arm and I'll tell you why.
Rockfish are Americas
Fish. Its true. What America, the Last Superpower, needs are fishes worthy
of the task we have before us. We need fishes that are tough, fishes that are
rough, fishes that like interns. We certainly dont need smarmy, girly-girl
fishes like salmon. Salmon, and their effete cousins, the trouts, are all flash
and no substance. Why, the only way a salmon could hurt you is if you cut your
finger opening the can.
the other hand, would rather spine you a good one in the kneecap than talk to
you. Even ones that have been sitting on deck for a few hours will stick you
good if you try to pick them up. Think of John Wayne in The Quiet Man; slow
to anger, but watch out. Or Peter Lorre in Casablanca; quiet, but deadly. Or
Victor Mature in Sampson and Delilah; brawny, sensuous and unable to act his
way out of a paper bag.
So, why my sudden
paean to rockfishes? Is it just the vapid maundering of an itinerant marine
biologist down on his luck? Or perhaps its some psychosis brought about
by some undigested bit of cheese from last nights supper? Well, the answer
is no and perhaps, not necessarily in that order.
More likely its
the result of my attending a board meeting of the Pacific Marine Conservation
Council. This is a very good, very promising organization and I think you should
all become members ($25 individual, $40 family: PMCC, PO Box 59, Astoria, Oregon
97103 or ask for information at (503) 325-8188). PMCC is made up of fishermen,
scientists and other citizens concerned with creating sustainable fisheries,
fisheries that contribute to the health of the many coastal communities that
have fishing at their heart.
Now, much of the
board meeting was spent discussing the plight of rockfish populations along
the Pacific Coast. Over the recent past, the numbers of these fishes have declined
markedly, almost certainly the result of both overfishing (by both recreational
and commercial fishing interests) and poor oceanographic conditions that have
prevented successful reproduction. This double whammy has just creamed a number
of rockfish populations. As an example, numbers of the bocaccio, a major recreational
and commercial species, are down to about 10% or less of where they were in
the 1960s. Some other species are in not much better shape.
And listening to reports of the imminent demise of the rockfishes, I started thinking about Gus Hall, head of the Communist Party USA. Really, Im not kidding. There really still is a CPUSA and senior citizen Gus Hall is still its head. Did you know that the Japanese honor the best samurai swordsmith, traditional paper maker or paint brush fabricator by making them national Living Treasures? These talented people are paid a stipend to continue work that is viewed as important to the Culture. I think the U. S. Government should make Gus Hall a Living Treasure, just to keep the Communist Party alive. The reality is that the U. S. just isnt the same since weve lost our fear of the Red Menace. Lets face it, we just dont have that edgy energy we had when McCarthy was waving his list of the 542 pinko janitors who were subverting democracy while scraping hand soap gunk from the wash basins of the Federal Government.
Hey, its all expressed below.
commies and rockfish, I think,
We need to make a real link,
Because on reflection,
They need our protection,
Before they both go extinct.
yet mildly thought provoking things,
for persons with short attention spans.