Friday, October 2, 2009

Ecotrust Studies Justify MLPA Fisheries Fascism, Cultural Genocide

John Lewallen, North Coast environmental leader and co-owner of the Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company, has written a blistering letter to the Ecotrust Corporation, a corporate greenwashing group hired by the Resource Legacy Fund Foundation to remove Indian Tribes, seaweed harvesters, commercial fishermen, recreational anglers and abalone divers from the North Coast under the guise of "marine protection." Lewallen argues that the Governor's fast-track Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process, supported by corporate "environmentalists," has no respect for sovereign Indian Nations and their right to harvest seaweed, abalone and mussels in traditional areas.

"These closures are 'green genocide,' threatening the complete extinction of several Native American traditional cultures that depend on ancient ocean food gathering sites for cultural survival," said Lewallen. "The Ecotrust study is blind to Northcoast tribal ocean harvest."

Schwarzenegger's handpicked Fish and Game Commission in August banned the Kashia Tribe from harvesting abalone, mussels and seaweed as they have for hundreds of years off Stewarts Point in northern Sonoma County. This is an egregious example of environmental racism and cultural genocide against indigenous people.

During the previous Central Coast MLPA process, large areas of coastal waters were converted into no-take "marine protected areas" in 2007 with complete disregard for the ceremonial and sacred sites of the Essalen and other tribes.
Ecotrust Studies Justify Fisheries Fascism in California

MLPA Practices Cultural Genocide Against Indian Nations

An Open Letter to Ecotrust Corporation
--John Lewallen, Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company
October 3, 2009

Dear friends at Ecotrust Corporation,

As part of your “socioeconomic study” of California’s Northcoast, I am sending in your “seaweed data collection sheet,” which tells you the cash value of seaweed our little hand-harvesting business “extracts” from the sacred intertidal zone we live in, and where we get it.

Your field team was honest in saying they had been hired by the Blue Ribbon Task Force of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative to do a phony socioeconomic study of our region: a study ignoring the “multiplier effect” of fisheries income on the whole community. The study actually focuses on which locations are producing most income for the urchin, edible seaweed, dungeness crab, and other sustainable and thriving fisheries we have here.

I’m warning you and my fellow Californians that this Ecotrust study is the first justification for unconstitutional and unfounded permanent closures of ocean food-gathering areas sustaining coastal humanity since time immemorial.

These closures are “green genocide,” threatening the complete extinction of several Native American traditional cultures that depend on ancient ocean food gathering sites for cultural survival. The Ecotrust study is blind to Northcoast tribal ocean harvest. Nor, I’m afraid, could my friends from the Northcoast First Nations reduce the sacred and intimate relation they have with the natural environment to a cash value.

The eight sovereign First Nations in Mendocino County have seen everything valuable revealed to the invader taken from them since the mid-1800s. Is this why Ecotrust is finding out where the sweet fisheries are, so the Blue Ribbon Task Force can make sure they are permanently closed as sources of essential ocean food?

Few realize that the public process of setting up refuges for fish based on sound marine biology has been taken over by the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation, hooked up with the endless funding of the largest foundations in the United States. The Foundation chooses the Blue Ribbon Task Forces, and Governor Schwarzenegger and Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman appoint them. Their process is private, unaccountable, and full of lies from beginning to end.

Ecotrust Corporation, which Blue Ribbon Task Force hired you to do this skewed socioeconomic study? And I insist that you make your full report public.

Anyone can Google the MLAPI Blue Ribbon Task Force and see that they are led by the chief lobbyist from the West Coast petroleum industry, pushing for opening offshore oil and gas drilling on the Northcoast. More than one international marina developer is on this panel. There are people working for the restoration of sea otters in California, “environmentalists” who have developed a fascist definition of ecosystem management: human beings “extracting” food have no legitimate place in the ocean or intertidal ecosystem, no matter how ancient and harmonious this relationship is.

In a thousand years, people who live here will laugh at the suicidal struggle of Californians tapped into big money with the single objective of attacking, weakening and eliminating the people supplying them with essential ocean food. Sane Californians might unite in collaborative stewardship with seaweed harvesters, fishermen and other ocean food providers to protect the wild, clean ocean upwelling here, an endless source of food, and to help ocean food providers.

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