FISH TO FRY
I am appalled by "Underwater Ups and Downs" (March/April). Preserving abalone by preying on only the largest abalone at depths that are "de facto breeding sanctuaries" is Orwellian in its logic. Sure, it's legal. Yeah, it involves an element of danger. And, wow, the diver ends up with trophies for his fence. Would Sierra relate stories of slaughtering elephants for ivory? Maybe it would be OK if the elephants had to be killed by spear.
Los Angeles, California
Author Daniel Duane replies: In many ways, the Northern California abalone fishery is a model of conscientious environmental policy. Not only is it strictly rec-reational, with penalties for poaching and selling, but bag limits and season dates are also set every year in response to abalone population data. According to the California Department of Fish and Game, it's working: Red abalone are bouncing back north of San Francisco.
As for the question of whether it makes sense to take the biggest abalone: It does. They are older, approaching death. Only by allowing each generation to mature and spread its genetic material do you ensure the abs' long-term survival.
AND THE ANSWERS ARE ...
The answers to the "Survive This!" contest in the March/April issue can now be revealed: 1. Drooling while trapped in an avalanche will tell you which direction is up. 2. The best time of day to hike through rockfall areas is early morning, before the sun's heat loosens rocks. 3. You should hang a brightly colored cloth on a nearby tree while awaiting a helicopter rescue to indicate wind direction. 4. If you slip while traversing soft snow without any special gear, you should slide facedown, so you can dig in your elbows and toes. 5. If you let sweaty socks freeze after you've taken them off while camping in very cold, dry weather, you can rub them together to shed ice, dirt, and germs. 6. A large X on the ground tells airborne rescuers that medical assistance is needed.
Three winners were chosen in a random drawing of correct entries; they have been notified. For their names, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Sierra. Thanks to our generous sponsors: Eureka!, Katadyn, Leatherman, Nikwax, Northern Mountain, Patagonia, Revivex, Sierra Club Outings, Sierra Trading Post, and Tilley Endurables.
"Miles to Go Before You Eat" ("Decoder," May/June) implied that most Hawaiian pineapples are gas-guzzlers, sent to the mainland by air. Most are actually shipped by boat, which consumes much less fuel. "Fuel Folly" ("Ways & Means," March/April) overstated the amount of energy lost in transmission lines. From a pound of coal, about 11 ounces are lost in the generation process and less than half an ounce in transmission. In the same issue, "A Real Energy Boom" ("Lay of the Land," page 13) misstated the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees only liquefied-natural-gas facilities onshore and in state waters. Also, the "Good Going" photo was not, as stated, taken from the Kilohana Lookout but from a nearby part of the Alakai Wilderness Preserve. Finally, "Backyard Bonanzas" featured a photograph of a periwinkle in the section about Shenandoah National Park. Although the species does grow in the park, it is not native and can be invasive.
CONTACT US Sierra welcomes letters in response to recent articles. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Write to us at 85 Second St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105; fax (415) 977-5794; e-mail email@example.com.