Recently, interviews filmed with Gloucester, Mass., mayor Carolyn Kirk and New Bedford, Mass., mayor Scott Lang following the Oct. 3 Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing in Boston, were posted on YouTube. The interviews, reportedly conducted by a freelancer, deal with the negative impact the groundfish sector management system has had upon fishermen and their communities, and the frustration these historic fishing ports feel regarding NOAA’s overaggressive enforcement of fishing regulations.
In Kirk’s interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81pZZoywErE&feature=player_embedded), she says, “We’re losing jobs and we’re losing faith in our government because of the overzealous enforcement of fishing regulations and a management scheme that is driving small business people out of business.”
The views of Kirk, a Democrat, on the negative economic impact sector management has had on her community caught the eye of several media outlets, including the Drudge Report website and Fox News conservative commentator Sean Hannity’s radio program, and the Gloucester (Mass.) Times.
The Lang interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i89mk0g7mzk caught the eye of the Townhall.com, a conservative and political opinion website (“Second Dem Mayor Slams NOAA, “Catch Shares A Disaster”) http://townhall.com/columnists/gwilymmcgrew/2011/10/20/second_dem_mayor_slams_noaa,_catch_shares_a_disaster. Lang’s views echo Kirk’s.
“In all honestly, two-thirds of the vessels haven’t been active since August. And it’s put a real damper on the ability, I think, of the fishing community to remain vibrant,” Lang says in the video. “Which means there’s been an untold hardship as far as economics on the fishing families, as well as that social and interpersonal type of conflict that takes place when every man and woman is worried about how we’re going to make the next bill. We’ve got the worst economy since The Great Depression, and we’re keeping people from working.”
The two videos suggest that fishermen can utilize a simple, yet powerful method of attracting attention to their plight, and educating people about their industry. If you’ve got a cell phone that can shoot video and a story to tell, you, too, can post it on YouTube and get your message out to the media and the general public.