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Originally published Saturday, November 17, 2007 at 12:00 AM


"I hate to spoil the fun, but this decor is somewhat passé."

A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.

Fishing holes

Ugly features define some areas around whale's body

Editor, The Times:

As a proud member of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and one of many volunteers from all over the world who were aboard an SSCS vessel in Neah Bay when "Yabis" (a Makah word meaning "our beloved") was butchered in 1999, "Death of a whale was neither humane nor swift, Makahs report" [Times page one, Nov. 16] brought tears to my eyes once again.

The butchering of these magnificent creatures is gross, ugly, disgusting and completely unjustified, and has much more to do with "the almighty buck" than any "culture, heritage and/or traditions."

A placard that I carried during the 1998-'99 protests simply said, "$UB$I$TENCE, MY A$$!"

With any luck at all, on Sept. 8, 2007, Wayne ".50-cal. Shooters Association" Johnson and his cohorts inadvertently drove the last nail into the coffin of the gray-whale hunt.

— Errol Povah, Delta, B.C.

The little ones are pretty green

Thank you for running "Puget Sound's J pod has new baby orca" [Local News, Nov. 9], on the birth of J-43, the new baby orca in J pod. As a fan of marine mammals, orcas in particular, it's very exciting to hear this news.

Orcas haven't been doing so well recently, so it was a great pick-me-up to open the newspaper and see hope when so much else spells out bad news for the environment.

I hope that people will hear this great news and, in lieu of a baby shower, take a little extra time out of their day to think green in honor of this birth. If just one person reads that headline, smiles, and is reminded that they could bus to work today, or turn off the light every time they leave a room, it could change a great deal.

I would like to encourage everyone to think about ways they can be more environmentally conscious in their actions so that maybe the world we give to our children and this baby orca can have a bright and shining future, for all creatures.

— Piper Lewis, Seattle

Follow the ripples

Regarding "Fish aficionados: Orca stripped thin" [Northwest Voices, Nov. 10]: The Columbia River and Snake River are veins of life for millions of people around the world. It would be impossible for me to count the numbers fed by these waters. Tributaries of the Columbia provide grapes, apples, corn, pears, wheat, hops, potatoes, chicken, turkey, beef and many more foods.

If you remove the dams for 87 orcas, you will starve millions of humans.

Most of your food, milk, clothing and a fair amount of your fuel come from the waters we're talking about. Corn is made into fuel for your 10 percent ethanol in your gas. Alfalfa grown in the Yakima Valley feeds my cows, which give you milk and beef.

Don't be foolish. We need the dams. We shouldn't even talk about removing them without knowing the full impact. Millions would starve, and most of the eastern side of the mountains would be out of work.

Do you want us to all move to Whidbey?

Perhaps you should look at overfishing as a cause for salmon depletion.

— Rob McCallum, cattle rancher, Grandview

Hooked the wrong species

Reader Tobias Person ["Seared in memory: Salmon cut in huge chunks," Northwest Voices, Nov. 10] states, "Those whose livelihood, food and identity are tied to salmon should have a larger voice" regarding protection of salmon.

My son is a professional salmon fisherman and I like salmon as much as most. Fishermen should have a voice but those of us whose lives depend upon electricity and the power that comes from water-power dams far outnumber the fishermen, and, accordingly, should have a far-larger voice than fishermen regarding removal of power-producing dams.

As society searches for alternatives from which to maintain electricity supplies, we should keep in mind that even a small-percentage drop in the electricity supply often leads to blackouts, which cause much greater inconvenience to many more people than the shortage of salmon could.

— Spencer Higley, Edmonds

Nothing biting downstream

It is no surprise scientists recommended this week to cut pollock harvests ["Tide turns for pollock harvesting," Business & Technology, Nov. 15].

Survival rates for young pollock have been well below average for five straight years, while catch limits have been the highest in the history of the domestic fishery. And for 20 years, the fleet has fished on the last great spawning aggregation, taking females just before they release their eggs.

Future projections are no better, with no real hope for recovery before 2011. Several scientists proposed cutting the pollock quota much further, to 535,000 tons.

When the tide turns for pollock, the effects are far-reaching. Steller's sea lions, fur seals, seabirds and many commercially important fish eat pollock. Native villages and fishing-dependent communities suffer when there isn't enough pollock to feed the species they depend on.

But will policymakers listen, or will it just be business as usual until there's no business left?

— John Hocevar, oceans specialist, Greenpeace, Austin, Texas

Men with allure

Cabela's, a hunting- and fishing-supply store, describes itself as a "natural history museum" ["Cabela's store brings the outdoors in," Business & Technology, Nov. 7]. The store walls are hung with the preserved heads of wild animals, the implication being that patrons who purchase a gun from Cabela's can kill such a fine animal.

I hate to spoil the fun, but this decor is somewhat passé.

The Dayaks of Borneo, where I lived as a young man, were wont to decorate their homes in similar fashion, albeit with the preserved heads of their defeated enemies. These served as a happy combination of Borneo's Most Wanted List/See How Brave Grandpa Was/family history. Visitors would sit on the deck, sip rice wine and comment politely on the number of heads.

Ikea had not yet reached Borneo, so home-decorating choices were somewhat limited.

Unfortunately, the British Colonial authorities, never known for their sense of humor, outlawed the practice. It is pleasing to note that the decorating taste of Stone Age people lives on in our fair state.

— Iain Moffat, Seattle

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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