Monday, April 30, 2007

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, NO FISH!

Volume 11 Number 3 May 2007 Donald R. Dann CONSERVATION ALERT

With due apologies to Dr. Seuss, many species of the world’s fish are in serious decline. Nature magazine reports that populations of swordfish, tuna, sharks and similar large predators have dropped by as much as 90%. Reckless over-fishing and pollution have laid waste to large areas of the planet’s marine life. In the U. S. fifty-four species are classified as over-fished, 45 are experiencing over-fishing and just over half of the nation's stocks remain in an uncertain status. Unless current practices change, by mid-century the journal Science reports commercial harvests of many species could collapse to 10 % of their historical highs.

Grim as the picture is, it is not hopeless and our history of mismanagement can be reversed. Here are ways to remedy this tragic free-fall, both by our institutions and ourselves.

Actions by government and non government organizations:

  • Create marine reserves that are off limits to all forms of human activity other than passive observation or scientific study. These would be similar to land based wildlife refuges.
  • Support Limited Access Privilege Programs (LAPPS), whereby fishermen participate in a managed system where they each can catch an allotted amount of fish based on a scientifically-determined, fully enforced limit on the total number of fish caught and landed. Both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have endorsed the idea and in the Gulf of Mexico’s Red Snapper fishery, fishermen voted in favor of the program by an overwhelming 87%.
  • Establish controls on by-catch — the unintentional killing of fish and other ocean life.
  • Prohibit fishing via huge ocean-floor dredges.
  • Encourage the National Marine Fisheries Service to require a moratorium on commercial take of threatened or endangered species where none exist.

Actions we can take as individuals:

  • Make your seafood choices fish that are abundant, come from well-managed fisheries, or are caught or farmed in environmentally sound ways. These include several species of farmed fish including Arctic Char, Catfish, Clams, Mussels, Oysters, Stone Crab, Striped Bass, and Tilapia to name a few. Wild caught Alaskan Halibut and Salmon are excellent, and line caught Albacore and Skipjack Tuna are also good. For a complete list see
  • Try to avoid trawler caught fish. These ships are so large they can take well over 200 tons of fish from the ocean floor in one sweep. Ask for the many species of fish that are still caught by small nets, line or pot. Seafood markets may soon begin to display signs like ‘line caught’, especially if consumers begin asking.
  • Many species of fish should be shunned, like Chilean Seabass, Atlantic Cod and Salmon, imported King Crab, Orange Roughy, Sharks and Bluefin Tuna. The above link lists these as well.
  • Eat fish lower on the marine food chain, including smaller species such as clams, oysters, mollusks, anchovies, and sardines. Smaller species are less endangered because they are more abundant, reproduce faster, and consume even tinier ocean life themselves.

Please do your part by being a wise fish consumer and advocate the restoration of ocean health a top priority for our political leaders.

This Newsletter may be excerpted, reproduced or circulated without limitation.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Push State to Pass Smoking Ban

The State Senate has just passed a law to prohibit smoking in Illinois and now goes to the house for passage. Please call our representative Karen May and give her support in her efforts to pass this bill.
16 other states have passed a smoking ban and it is long past time for Illinois to pass this for the health and welfare of our citizens. This is a life or death situation for all of us that must still endure the second hand smoke at public and private institutions.
Smoking has been proven to be extremely harmful to anyone exposed to the smoke.
Stand up and demonstrate against this continued assault on the health of our communities and aggressively support this bill in Springfield.
Let us also look at our ordinances and see if we need to make them stronger to protect ourselves where loop holes might still exist.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Does this City Council have the will to Save our Trees?

A few weeks Councilman Kirsch suggested we double the price to take down trees in the City of Highland Park. Now some of you would probably think I would jump up and down with excitement on this proposal, but I didn't, and here is why.

First of all I miss David Weber working with me on the tree issue since he was the main force when we wrote the ordinance back in the early 90's. There was a man who not only talked the talk of saving trees but also DID. This administration has been compromising forest after forest of trees and allowing anybody to build over areas where 100 year old oaks once stood. This has not gone ahead without this City Council condoning those actions. Several years ago I tried to sit down with staff and members of the environmental commission to address this problem and was totally stonewalled by staff. At the City Managers prompting, the City Council reacted by making it harder for commissions to form subcommittes without direct council approvals.

What I have to say to my fellow Council folks and the Mayor is you first must be willing to tell people that they can't cut down these forests. We must take a stronger position in protecting these trees. That does not mean that you tell people they can't reasonably build on their lots but you just get tougher. There is not a tree in this city today that can't be negotiated away by our staff and that gets me sick. Councilman Levenfeld was right several years ago when he said, "we don't have a preservation ordinance, we have a replacement ordinance" Just raising the price of replacement trees from 200 to 400 for cutting down these trees will not do the job of saving these forests when your talking about multimillion dollar improvements.

We need to stop the talking about improving tree preservation and change our ordinance and our administrations enforcement of that ordinance. We need to walk the road to REAL tree preservation now.

Mandel Endorses Hirsh, Silberman, and Olian

I am asking you to vote for Steve Hirsh because he will bring a broad and exciting dialog to our City Council that will promote more efficient and open government, keep diversity a reality, and promote actions to help maintain the dominance of our natural landscape over the built environment in our city. Steve’s election is critical in getting us back on track as a cutting edge community promoting fine living in a friendly community to all generations.

I am also asking you to vote for fellow Councilman Larry Silberman and Councilwoman Terri Olian.

Larry Silberman is a wise and thoughtful Councilman that has a balanced approach to the decision making process. I grew up with Larry in Highland Park and worked with him on the Plan Commission where we hammered out our recent master plan.

Terri Olian is our newest Councilmember and shows great enthusiasm for making our community a better place. Her involvement with our youth is unmatched on the City Council and always comes well prepared for our deliberations.

As a four term City Councilman, I believe your vote for Steve Hirsh, Larry Silberman, and Terri Olian will make this City Council better than it is today. Please cast your three votes for Steve, Larry and Terri on April 17th or during early voting March 26 through April 12 at the North Shore Health Center, 1840 Green Bay Road.

Councilman Steve Mandel
2157 St. Johns Ave.
Highland Park, IL 60035