Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 18 June 2010
We honored the 2010 NF Highliners last week at a dinner in New Bedford, Mass. They’re a special bunch of fishermen.
They don’t seek the limelight, but they never hesitate to take a stand on what they feel is right, either. Thursday's House subcommittee hearing, part of the investigation into the Deepwater Horizon disaster, served as a reminder of that on a couple of fronts.
On one hand was BP CEO Tony Hayward, testifying before a frustrated bunch of lawmakers. Sounds like Hayward’s testimony consisted largely of the following:
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t recall.”
“I can’t remember.”
“I wasn’t involved in the decision making process.”
Gee, thank you for clearing things up, Mr. Hayward.
Not that you really expected to hear anything different. Hayward’s testimony came off as stereotypical corporate cover-your-posterior behavior, where profit margins take precedence over everything else, people or governments be damned. You hear a lot of talk about risk and reward analysis, but the word “responsibility” never seems to crop up.
By contrast, we have NF Highliner Diane Wilson, a fourth generation Seadrift, Texas, shrimper. We named Wilson a Highliner in 1996; to say she’s committed to protecting the marine ecosystem is an understatement.
Would you believe so strongly in fighting for what’s right that you would try to sink your boat in protest? Would you go on hunger strikes? Wilson did. Would you keep fighting even after your boat was sunk twice? Wilson did.
It wasn’t a popular stand — precious land-based jobs were also at stake, and Wilson was picketed by 300 workers. But she waged a decade-long one-woman war to stop illegal wastewater discharge by chemical companies and others into the Lavaca-Matagorda-San Antonio Bay ecosystem, a breeding ground for much of the Gulf of Mexico’s fish, shrimp and oyster populations — and won. She did what she thought was right.
She still does. According to a USA Today story, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-06-17-oil-hearing_N.htm Wilson attended the subcommittee hearing, interrupting Hayward as he uttered his first words by shouting, “You should be charged with a crime, Tony,” before being shown the door.
Once a Highliner, always a Highliner.
The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.
Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.
The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.Read more...