The Old Man River Premiere is fast approaching. If you’re planning on going please purchase tickets before Wednesday. 70% of the tickets have already been sold and the Burlington Post is doing a article on the event for this Wednesday. We expect the rest of the tickets to be sold soon after. To Order please call Catherine Brady at 905-333-0200 ext 226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below message is from Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Mark Mattson. I worked for Mark in 2007 for eight months at Waterkeeper. Mark is one of Canada’s top environmental lawyers. If you enjoy your right to safely swim, drink and fish, be it at the cottage or the local beach, than please read his message.
As many of you know…our federal government announced some pretty drastic cuts to our environmental laws and process. These cuts are not modernization or efficiency updates to old laws…rather they are direct attacks on the protections we rely on for water we can swim drink and fish.
– the gov’t intends on cutting out federal environmental assessments (currently triggered by the Fisheries Act) for most projects even when they cause severe fish habitat destruction.
– the government is changing the criminal law provisions of the Fisheries Act to legalize activity that destroys wetlands, lakes, rivers etc unless the fish habitat destroyed has a defined economic value. In other words only environmental destruction of fish habitat that has a negative impact on valued commercial fish will be illegal.
What this means is that the birds, fish and natural environment that are not part of a vested interest or major industrial stakeholder will no longer deserve protection by our only important and powerful federal environmental law. It is the end of genuine environmental protection for all intents and purposes. It is the beginning of a new stakeholder driven ideology that demands the exploitation of everything that can facilitate tax revenue or profits unless it competes or conflicts with another exploitation venture, at which point some constraints will be put in place.
Our laws do not need modernizing…..they need to be given meaning and force….more so now than ever. So let’s not ignore the free and the increasingly powerful tool that social media provides us with to publicize our concerns. (Read more on this here.)
I am pleased to announce the World Premiere of Old Man River Project. At this time this is the only confirmed screening I have booked for the documentary. I have teamed up with Rotary Club of Burlington Central to put on this event which is also a fundraiser for the Royal Botanical Gardens. You can read the below information page or click here to purchase tickets.
Tickets are $30 for general admission and $100 for premium tickets. Premium tickets include preferred seating, 2 alcoholic beverages per ticket and the pre-screening reception put on by SB Prime Restaurant . There are limited tickets for purchase and we expect to sell out quickly.
Come and experience the Mississippi River in stunning HD at Silver City in Oakville followed by a Q & A with yours truly after the screening. And of course, a special thanks for our sponsors: Pioneer Energy, Crossroads Refrigeration, McDonald’s Restaurants of Burlington, Brady Benefits, Discovery Ford and Framesite.
Please help spread the word and we will see you on the water on April 4th.
Amaknak Island is part of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and for an island you have probably never heard of, this place has an interesting story. First it has a volcano, Makushin, which is part of the ring of fire that lines the Pacific Ocean and it last erupted in 1995. The island was once controlled by Russian fur traders who came here in search of sea otter pelts. But after years of successful trapping, the otters were all but gone and Russia lost interest in holding Alaska as a territory so they sold it to the United States in 1867 for $7,200,000 or about 2 cents an acre.
As an American possession, the town of Unalaska located on Amaknak Island was bombed by the Japanese during WWII. The beach is still littered with pillboxes built by the US Army that are still very much intact. But perhaps the most famous attribute of Amaknak Island is Dutch Habor which holds claim to America’s #1 fishing port. Dutch Habor is also where Discovery’s hit show ‘Deadliest Catch’ is based from as just beyond the protection of the harbor is the prized crabbing grounds of the Bering Sea.
The eastern half of the Bering Sea is a relatively shallow place. The continental shelf of North America extends about half way out to the Aleutian Islands before it dramatically descends into one of the deepest trenches on earth. It is here that the cold arctic waters of the Arctic Ocean are mixed with the warmer waters of the Pacific Ocean into a nutrient rich hotspot that boosts incredible marine biodiversity. This is why Dutch Harbor is so strategically valuable as a fishing port because it has the most direct access the rich fishing grounds of the continental shelf.
My trip to Amaknak Island was also with Discovery but for the show ‘Mighty Ships’. I spent the last 2 weeks on board a factory trawler that was zigzagging the Bering Sea for pollock. The ship was named Northern Eagle and it ended up harvesting 15 thousand tons of pollock, all of which was processed and frozen while at sea. The factory on board the ship could process 900 fish per minute while four deckhands and one person in the wheelhouse, either the Captain or First Mate, would navigate the vessel using a combination of high tech gear and instincts to find bigger and better fish. If you have ever eaten a ‘Filet-O-Fish’ from McDonald’s or imitation crab meat at a sushi restaurant, you were probably eating Alaskan pollock
The sea was as memorable as it was forgettable. For 2 weeks the only attribute of the physical earth that I could see was the endless expanse of salt water. We call this planet ‘Earth’ but with 70% of the planet covered in water, of which less than 3% is fresh, the more appropriate name for our planet would be ‘Water’. When the days were calm and the wind was from the south, I could have mistaken my surroundings for the south Pacific. But when the wind pushed down from the north it brought with it an unmistakable deep freeze that shocked your bones and turned the tranquil waters into a dangerous mix of ice, wind and giant swells. The Northern Eagle brought me to a true water world, an experience I wont too soon forget.
Over a two week period the Northern Eagle crisscrossed the Bering Sea as far north as 480 km of Dutch Habor, in search for giant schools of pollock. Because we were fishing the far reaches of the continental shelf, when the winds and tides came together, the swells were short and choppy rather than the more gradual swells one would find on the Pacific Ocean. A good analogy is the Great Lakes. For example, the worse lake to get trapped on in a wind storm is Lake Erie because it’s extremely shallow. The waves quickly deflect off the bottom and bounce back up in a choppy, unpredictable order when on a deep lake like Lake Superior, the swells are more dramatic and rhythmical. This is why the Bering Sea is such a hard place to fish, the waves literally bounce off the ocean floor and make life on a fishing boat uncomfortable when the weather turns for the worst.
Luckily the weather overall was better than it was worse, but when it did get bad I felt like I was a prisoner of the Bering Sea. With every swell I was knocked around in a different direction, unable to predict what movement was next with nowhere to escape. It wasn’t so much frightening as it left me feeling helpless and trapped. I am glad I took the voyage but I am also very pleased to be home. The Bering Sea is an unforgiven place. At one extreme its a treasure trove of natural riches but at the same time it is a place that leaves no margin for error. I left Amaknak Island, Dutch Harbor and the Bering Sea with a deep respect for the men and women who work there, and an even deeper appreciation to the scale and magnitude for the waters of this planet.
See ya on the water,
p.s. A big special thanks to Chris Scerri from the Canadian Outdoor Equipment Co. for hooking me up with Woolpower Thermal Wear for my trip to the Bering Sea. The socks, long johns, sweater and balaclava came in handy for the windy, cold days out at sea. The picture of myself down below is in my Woolpower Crewneck which is now my go to sweater.