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Thread: Exporting our fisheries resources

  1. #1
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    Default Exporting our fisheries resources

    Very interesting article in a number of ways: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/...tcmp=obnetwork

    Aside from the fraud in miss-labeling, it is interesting to see that 70% of our "wild caught salmon" is exported for processing overseas. So instead of hiring domestic labor to process our fish, the commercial fisheries industry is exported the catch overseas with minimum value left behind for the US economy. Not much different IMO from the big corporations moving their offices off-shore to avoid US taxes. Of course, in the case of Alaskan salmon, very little in taxes in taxes is paid to the state anyway for the catch worth billions
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    That is certainly bad enough, but in case some of you missed it. We apparently had to import workers under the H2B Visa program to clean some of the fish caught and processed in our waters. Thats right. In communities where people learned how to fillet a salmon by the time they were 3 yrs old, the fish processors could not find enough of the locals to show up and work. Apparently welfare and medicaid are a better gig.
    My child was inmate of the month at Mat-Su pre-trial Correctional facility.

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    Ugg...that was just another repeat of tvfinak's anti-commercial fishing campaign.

    Requiring US processing, US workers, and increased tax, would work to eliminate this commercial fishing industry from competing in the market. With increased US costs, wages, and taxes, and for the fishery to be viable, the fish would have to be sold at prices higher than other markets. This increased price causes less demand, more supply, hurts the related downstream industries, and causes a true loss of value to the US economy. Economics 101. You would have to eliminate all the other global markets (no competition) to make tvfinak's scenario work. Otherwise it would kill the commercial fishery - exactly what fits tvfinak's agenda.

    I bet tvfinak's clothes come from cotton textiles made by non-domestic workers in China using our own US exported cotton. I wonder if he has imported Nike's are like me, made in Indonesia using US materials and synthetics. Does his home contain US exported timber resources processed by non-domestic workers in a foreign country and re-imported as lumber. Chances are his imported foreign-made appliances, furniture, and household materials are made with exported US raw materials. I bet he gets in his "American made" Ford/GM/Chysler, who's parts are likely made in Canada or Mexico by foreign workers using exported US raw materials. When he turns the key I bet he burns the same oil and gas I do, some of which will be processed and imported from a foreign country by foreign workers - yes, even as we export oil here in Alaska, we also import processed fuels and oils back from foreign countries to supplement what we can't produce. And finally, when tvfinak gets to the fishing hole, chances are he pulls out his imported fishing gear. You got it...much of which is made overseas by non-domestic workers using exported US materials.

    Mkay, nothing stops any Alaskan from working on a processor, including the H2B visa program. In fact the program requires the processor to prove that there are no unemployed US workers willing to do the work. You can argue minimum wage and working conditions, but the processors meet US requirements, just like many other industries in the US who pay low wages and have tough working conditions. I do not disagree with your entitlement society remark as to why the processors can't find local US workers. However, if the processors paid local workers what they think they are entitled to, the industry could not compete, it would not be viable, and it would eventually collapse.

    That's what's great about our country...I don't have to buy fish from a processor if I don't want to. I can catch and process it myself. I don't have to work on a processor, even though I've been filleting salmon since I was 3 years old. I can educate myself and find a better job.

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    Default cheap labor?

    The cost of labor myth is just that - a myth.

    The labor cost in a fillet of salmon is a small part of the store cost. Likewise for most food items that require little or no processing and refining. So if the cost of premium wild caught Alaskan salmon went up a dime or so a pound who would anyone really notice - or care? Yet the processors hire foreign workers from God knows where so they can squeeze every penny out a fish and leave Americans unemployed.

    Eliminate importing cheap labor AND welfare, stop exporting unfinished materials, and wages will rise with supply and demand. Those that can yet don't care to work can starve for all I care.

    The other factor is automation - trade off unskilled labor for skilled labor to maintain the equipment. Yet the fish processors - other than Copper Valley - don't want to spend a bit of capital to improve operations. The automobile industry is a good example- Ford competes in the world market assembling vehicles in the US by offering a good product the public wants.

    One political party wants you to be a slave of big business - the other party wants you to be a slave of the government. Our job is make certain neither one has too much control.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

  5. #5

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    The unemployment rate in the U.S. is 4.9%. The unemployment rate in Alaska is 5.7%. If one is shooting for an unemployment rate of 0, these rates might be considered high. When I was in school, an unemployment rate of 4% was considered by many economists to be full employment. Since then, access to welfare has grown exponentially so I would assume a reasonable full employment rate would be higher than 4%. Safe to say nearly everyone who is willing and able to work has found a job.

    I'd be willing to bet that of that 5.7% who are unemployed in Alaska, verrrrrry few of them would be willing or able to work the slime lines...

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    Default A un-mentioned benefit

    A very real benefit of slavery was that unemployment was virtually 0% among the slaves. EVERY slave had a job whether it was something they wanted to do - or not. In return they received food, housing, medical care etc.

    There always some of every ethnic, cultural, or racial group that simply won't work unless they are forced to do so. Slavery or allowing them to starve was the historical solution, but we can't do either anymore. So I propose we eliminate welfare and the endless supply of desperate starving aliens, and let the market decide what American unskilled labor is worth.

    And let's not forget also that there are some that simply aren't smart enough to do more than work the slime lines, pick lettuce etc. We need jobs for them also.


    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    The unemployment rate in the U.S. is 4.9%. The unemployment rate in Alaska is 5.7%. If one is shooting for an unemployment rate of 0, these rates might be considered high. When I was in school, an unemployment rate of 4% was considered by many economists to be full employment. Since then, access to welfare has grown exponentially so I would assume a reasonable full employment rate would be higher than 4%. Safe to say nearly everyone who is willing and able to work has found a job.

    I'd be willing to bet that of that 5.7% who are unemployed in Alaska, verrrrrry few of them would be willing or able to work the slime lines...
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

  7. #7

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    Not sure of your point, but there are a lot of skilled, motivated, able bodied people working for what they consider to be decent money in the seafood processing industry. Yes, some are not from these parts. Will refrain from comments about starvation or the work ethic of slaves and the unemployed. Good grief.

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    tvfinak, the commercial fishing industry didn't create America's social policy and programs. Flaming them for doing what they are allowed to do is myopic - a scapegoat for your anti-commercial fishing campaign.

    Your liberal ideals make no sense either. See, you don't employ more US workers by imposing the industry that hires them with more tax, more spending, higher labor costs, and more regulation. In a competitive global market like the fishing industry, those liberal actions will bury them. The industry would collapse and unemployment would be worse. See, if these processors paid more tax, paid higher wages, spent more on automation, and were regulated more, they would have to pass the cost on to their buyers...buyers who would then choose buy the same fish from other, less costly, suppliers.


    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    The cost of labor myth is just that - a myth.
    Only in your own mind. Fact is, the cost of labor is one of the biggest factors in the viability of a processor. High labor costs simply don't work in a competitive processing industry, where success is a complex game of labor costs, productivity, and diminishing returns. Labor costs can be the difference between make or break.


    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    The labor cost in a fillet of salmon is a small part of the store cost.
    But not a small part of the processors expenses, wholesale price, or margins. The store cost represents a whole array of costs, many of which have nothing to do with the processor.


    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    So if the cost of premium wild caught Alaskan salmon went up a dime or so a pound who would anyone really notice - or care?
    You're lost. The buyers care. The markets notice. It's big business. And buyers are not going to pay more for fish when they can get the same thing cheaper elsewhere.

    Finally tvfinak, your analogy of unemployed Americans to slavery is whack-o. You portray processors as bad and nasty, probably because you've never worked in the industry. Yet processors gave me an opportunity to pay my own way through college. I chose to work for them. They were good to me. I was not unskilled labor, I was very skilled. Every American has the same choice. It is not the processor's fault if Americans don't fill the job openings. These jobs are seasonal, low paying, and tough conditions. They aren't for softies. But the processors need workers, and the laws allow them to hire non-Americans when they can't find them. Get over it.

    Perhaps your rant about American social policy should be in another thread, rather than used here as a platform to bash the commercial fishing industry.

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    Funtastic. What is your experience with the H2B Visa program workers vs local hire? My assumption (probably wrong) is that I would guess that there are more H2B workers in remote areas as opposed to places like Cordova, Kenai, and Seward. Is this correct? What would happen if the H2B Visa program went away? Do you think the fish would be processed off-shore, or frozen. As you can tell I know nothing of this industry.
    My child was inmate of the month at Mat-Su pre-trial Correctional facility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mkay View Post
    Funtastic. What is your experience with the H2B Visa program workers vs local hire? My assumption (probably wrong) is that I would guess that there are more H2B workers in remote areas as opposed to places like Cordova, Kenai, and Seward. Is this correct? What would happen if the H2B Visa program went away? Do you think the fish would be processed off-shore, or frozen. As you can tell I know nothing of this industry.
    You are correct. The number of visa workers varies with location, but typically remote locations like the Aleutians and offshore processors hire more - they must because they simply can't fill their labor pool from local sources. There is data and economic analysis showing this. My experience here in South Central/Kodiak is that about half of the workers are residents - mostly younger folks willing to work seasonally, with lower wages, long odd hours of overtime, in tough conditions. Again, working at a processor helped pay my way through college. I've had worse, lower-paying jobs.

    Keep in mind that contrary to what tvfinak would like you to believe, processors are not taking jobs away and leaving locals unemployed by hiring visa workers. In fact the laws of the program require that the processors hire residents with priority over visa workers, and the processors must show they have given residents that opportunity. Only when the processor cannot fill its work pool with residents can it hire visa workers. So nothing stops an American from working for a processor, and many do.

    To answer your question, I believe if the visa program went away the processing industry and everything related would eventually dissolve. The very situation tvfinak criticizes would be exacerbated, and now all the fish would be processed overseas. Without sufficient labor, the processors would either not be able to process their product (or at least not be able to process it with sufficient quality and efficiency to compete), or price themselves out of the market by hiring more expensive labor. A similar scenario would play out in our country's agriculture industry. Even our automobile manufacturing could not compete if it weren't for foreign workers making most of the components overseas. High wages (unions, regulation, social policy) would make our "American Made" vehicles unaffordable, and we would purchase less expensive foreign vehicles.

    The questions really fall back to tvfinak and his liberal ideals: How does the US processor industry compete with other global markets by imposing higher taxes, more regulation, more spending, and higher labor costs? And why scorn processors for simply doing what US policy (wages, visas, and social policy) allows them to do?

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    Believe it or not, chickens are raised in the Pacific Northwest, shipped to China for processing, and shipped back to the PNW. And it's economical to do so. That being the case, I'm not surprised it's economical to do the same with Pacific salmon.

    I'm not sure whether that's a statement about the high cost of labor in the U.S., the meager wages being paid in China, or the price of fuel for those big container ships carrying live chickens to Shanghai or wherever......

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    We export fish which is good for American fishermen. Now oil is PB or RDS foreign owned companies.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    Believe it or not, chickens are raised in the Pacific Northwest, shipped to China for processing, and shipped back to the PNW. And it's economical to do so. That being the case, I'm not surprised it's economical to do the same with Pacific salmon.

    I'm not sure whether that's a statement about the high cost of labor in the U.S., the meager wages being paid in China, or the price of fuel for those big container ships carrying live chickens to Shanghai or wherever......
    I am not doubting you, but that seems completely crazy.
    My child was inmate of the month at Mat-Su pre-trial Correctional facility.

  14. #14

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    Not all commercial fish are sent to China to be processed. High volume fish are. The head/gut/freeze/ship market is perfect, IMO for the pinks/chums. There is a pile of salmon caught every year in Alaska. It would be crazy to think that they could all be processed locally.

    The commercial fishermen need to do what they need to do to maximize the value of their catch. If it means shipping it off, then ship it off.

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