National Fisherman


Exxon's empty promise

By R.J. Kopchak

On March 24, 1989, the supertanker Exxon Valdez grounded at Bligh Reef, Prince William Sound, Alaska. Over 11 million gallons of oil quickly spread with the currents, oiling over 3,000 miles of the Alaska coastline stretching from Bligh Reef to Kodiak Island. The oil and cleanup efforts killed hundreds of thousands of birds, thousands of marine mammals, and countless other marine life. The poisons in the oil, dispersants, and cleaning chemicals and compounds damaged all living tissue, but especially embryos in developing eggs.

Not long after the spill, Don Cornett, from the giant Exxon Corp., came to our small town of Cordova, Alaska. Mr. Cornett told the crowd gathered in the gym that we were lucky that Exxon Corp. was here. Just before Mr. Cornett's arrival, my pregnant wife and I had chartered a small plane and flown over the spill area. We did not feel we were very lucky.

It was early spring, the start of the Pacific herring fishing season. The season had been canceled, and our way of life was about to end. Mr. Cornett assured us that Exxon was going to clean up their spill, and make the fishermen whole. "You are lucky. You have got Exxon. We take care of our problems."

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

Read more...

Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

Read more...
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