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January 22, 2022



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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Inconvenient Private Sector Jobs


Time to don your rain ponchos, because Republican heads are going to be exploding across the state. This is one of those times when philosophy and reality are on opposite sides, and the confused elephant brains of the majority of the GOP in Alaska are going to have to out themselves, or change sides. Ah, another inconvenient truth.


Guess what industry is the largest private sector employer in the State of Alaska?





Nope, it’s fish.


A recent report issued from the McDowell Group for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute reveals:

The seafood industry directly employs approximately 63,100 people in the state of Alaska. Roughly 1- in-8 workers in Alaska earned at least part of their annual income directly from the seafood industry in 2011. These direct jobs produced $4.6 billion worth of wild, sustainable seafood (in wholesale terms) and resulted in an estimated $1.7 billion in labor income.

So, given that Republicans value, above all, a thriving private sector economy and the jobs it creates – the seafood industry as the state’s largest private sector employer, should be their number one priority.

And if fish is their number one priority, then preserving and protecting the industry all the way from ocean to plate should also be their number one priority.

And if preserving and protecting wild fisheries is their number one priority, then making sure that oceans and rivers remain clean and productive habitats for those fish should be their number one priority.

You see where this is going.

Given all the above, the fact that the Parnell administration (Republicans) are actively pursuing a political agenda which compromises our oceans, our rivers, and our fish leads us to an inescapable conclusion that will shock you. Steel yourself.

They are hypocrites.

I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you. Do you need a hanky?

If, in fact, the number one priority of the Parnell administration and its Republican fan club in the state legislature was actually supporting Alaska’s private sector job creators, then we wouldn’t have to be fighting said administration to keep Pebble Mine from poisoning Bristol Bay, the largest wild salmon fishery in the world; to keep PacRim Coal from literally mining through eleven miles of productive salmon streams and dumping 7 million gallons a day of toxic mine sludge into Cook Inlet; suing the federal government to keep the Inlet’s endangered whales unprotected from the massive pollution allowed to be dumped in the waters it shares with commercial and sport fishermen; leveling areas of the Tongass that are a key component in preserving ecosystems that support wild fish; and pushing for indiscriminate offshore drilling in productive Arctic waters without proper protections and strict regulation.


The mouth of the Chuit River, which currently serves as fertile spawning ground for all five species of Alaskan salmon.

So, the next time a Republican sings the praises of private sector jobs and the economy of Alaska, and explains to you that this is why we must encourage resource extraction above all, remind them that supporting oil and mineral development does not always mesh with that philosophy. And lest they want to be accused of gross intellectual inconsistency, they best be slapping a No Pebble sticker on the back of their car. Pronto.


Alaska will always rely on our natural bounty – both renewable, and non-renewable. We must be militant stewards of the  renewable resources like fish that will carry our economy, and private sector jobs, past the depletion of the non-renewable ones. It’s naive to think of Alaska as one big untouched national park. It’s also naive to pretend that oil, gas, and mineral resources will just go on forever. All that is finite comes to an end.

We will develop. But when that development threatens our waters, the huge manufacturing plant that produces our number one most valuable product, we need to prioritize for the sake of our futures.


Alaska Governor Sean Parnell.
(*Note: This is an artist’s rendering and not an actual photograph)




21 Responses to “Inconvenient Private Sector Jobs”
  1. NickWI says:

    the quickest way to shut down pebble mine is to declare the area a national monument. monuments often include state and private holdings.bristol bay was on obama’s ‘next up ‘ list when the interior considered adding some national monuments back in 2010, but the plans got out and Rs bitched and moaned. the monument should be large enough to protect most of the water shed on land, and go the length of the bay offshore. so water,., you draw a line from Port Moller straight up to the Togiak Wildlife refuge. On land you incorporate all lands between Togiak and the Lake Clark preserve in the north, then run south to lake Iliamna, run along its shore line then go south to Naknek and turn west to the bay. All told thats likely a couple million acres in size in land along, in water figure another 6 million or so, so voila you have a national monument that is bigger than almost all existing national parks at 8 million, and it preserves the fishing and salmon runs in perpetuity. the antiquities act applies to Alaska as it does to every state, so Alaska can sue, and the courts will tell them to go pound sand due to precedent, since the supreme court has ruled repeatedly, and as recent as 2003 that the Presidents powers under the AA are clear and broad. Congress power under the Act refers to holding funding, it does not permit states to exempt themselves from the act. Trumans exemption of Wyoming was a mistake and the 5000 acre limit in ANILCA was a mistake as well.imo both of those limits need to be scrapped.

  2. Bebban says:

    The problem with the Robber Baron mentality is that eventually you run out of stuff to rob.

  3. fishingmamma says:

    Just saw that local public TV, Wednesday at 8:00pm will air a 360 north segment called “Salmon: Running the Gauntlet”

    It is about the Columbia basin fish runs that no longer exist due to overdevelopment of the river system.

    The quote was “We had this idea that hatcheries would be successful surrogates for the salmon, and it is not working”.

    I’m planning to watch, it looks interesting and timely. Pass the word.

  4. Pinwheel says:

    The fishing “industry” deserves this recognition, MKR. I hope that we can distinguish within these numbers the differences between employment and participation. n

    • fishingmamma says:

      I plead ignorance here, and am not sure what you mean by the “differences between employment and participation”. Can you elaborate? Thanks.

  5. fishingmamma says:

    Thank you for adding those photos. That is the best photo I have ever seen of a troller pulling a fish. It is exactly the way I remember my fishing days, because I tend to block out the endless days of grey, wet, rainy weather with an annoying SE ‘breeze’ and the swells that roll your head from off your shoulders.

  6. benlomond2 says:

    You expect to convince Republicans with FACTS ??

    • Alaska Pi says:

      We all have to have dreams , ben 🙂
      There IS hope that plenty of everyday people , voter types especially, will step up and pay attention.
      There is a rather interesting Alaskan dealie going on here as relates to Pebble Mine. For years and years environmental arguments in this state have turned round demonizing the folks questioning a project as either extreme environmentalists or hopelessly foolish idealists who ( this story includes the Outsiders come to save us from ourselves thing) just-don’t-get-it.
      This time a rather astonishing array of Alaskans have come round to questioning this project, across an unusual array of viewpoints.
      AKM’s point here made me smile so wide I almost broke my face. It has been way too easy through the last 3 administrations here for horsepunky like Pebble to advance over the objections of citizens.
      It is starting to really tick folks off that Pebble insists it doesn’t have a plan (total horsepunky! you don’t have this much investment without concrete plans or your board cuts off your cash, eh? ) .
      It is starting to worry folks that avenues of citizen input are being closed, nailed shut, and fortified with administrative BS about they’ll take care of us all whether we like it or not… the list is endlass.
      The problems with insisting on a thriving private sector whilst paving the way to swap one for another are starting to be so OBVIOUS , I’m seeing some of our Rs and certainly plenty of Ns, Is, and Ds sit up and say Whoa!
      Now if we can just get keep it growing!

  7. ~Sil in Corea says:

    That governor of Alaska looks to be cut from the same cloth as Maine’s governor,- bought and paid for by the Bircher heirs. Local folks need to wake up or we’re all going to be out of options in short order!

  8. Zyxomma says:

    AKM, please don’t refer to them as elephant brains! I really hate that the GOP (especially today’s GOP) has co-opted and degraded the most magnificent land mammal, creatures that live in families/societies, have perfect memory, and even mourn their dead. I cringe every time I see a cartoon portraying RWNJs as elephants in business suits, and I see them often. They don’t even have the brains of a school of herring.

    Btw, your Parnell portrait is an eerily perfect likeness.

  9. AlaskaCodPiece says:

    And let’s not forget that (sub)Parnell and his Policy Makers Gone Wild are intent on “streamlining” the permitting process by removing the public’s input.

    And how Alaska is the only state where the public has no say in coastal development since Capt. Zero believes that is best left to his hated feds. (No hypocrisy there!)

    And how “Pave Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot Parnell” has never ever once gone to the Bristol Bay region to talk with residents there about the Pebble Mine — or how he sided with Pebble in the lawsuit to try and prevent Lake and Pen residents from going to the polls to vote on the Save Our Salmon initiative.

    This is what happens when 1) election districts are gerrymandered to favor the Republicans, and 2) only 25% of Alaskans bother to get off their butts and go to the polls and vote.

    Parnell sez: We can’t do it to you without you, Alaska!

    • Mo says:

      That “Pave Paradise” Parnell nickname oughta get more air time…

    • fishingmamma says:

      This is no accident. The “Pebble Partnership” has had a plan for decades, you can bet on that. They convinced Frank to return to this state as Governor and helped buy the job for him. They arranged the State permitting process to assist them in getting the project approved, moving all the pesky F&G biologists to DNR where the mission is to generate revenue, mostly by resource extraction. At that time, remember, Shively was the comissioner at DNR. Getting rid of the CZM program, limiting the scope of the tribal courts as much as possible (even if that means endangering families by exempting AK tribes from VAWA) and eliminating public input from the process at every turn. Plan.

      Now, they have Parnell in the Governor’s seat, Shively working directly for them, and they are ever-so-comfortable with that arrangement. They don’t need to tell anyone the plan. But they do have one.

  10. Really? says:

    The Salmon already won this war. Enough already gov..parnel

  11. John says:

    Now really, they are not hypocrites. Isn’t their opinion that you can dump poison into the watershed without harming salmon equal to as much weight as scientific fact showing othewise? Who needs elite scientists raining on our parade. We’re Alaskans!

    • fishingmamma says:

      They are not hypocrites. They have an objective. It is not the “Oh, look over there, a bright shiny object!” objective they are parading to the public, but if you pay attention to what they do, and not what they say, the objective is clear.

      They are ‘Alaskans’ the same way BP is “Alaska’s oil and gas company”.

      They sincerely believe that the world is going to end soon because Jesus is coming back to take them all off this planet and they will fly up into the sky to live in paradise forever. And they believe their job while they are here is to “have dominion” over all the animals and all the resources of the planet, and to use them as they see fit.

  12. DaveO says:

    Thank you, Ms Muddie.

  13. Alaska Pi says:

    I dunno if I buy that is not a photo. It looks so much like Cap’n Torpedo, it is eerie…

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