Vol. 10, No. 9  September 2005    News & Comment for and by the Fishermen of Maine          SUBSCRIBE NOW!!
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Fishing For Oil
by Laurie Schreiber

Fishermen and conservationists say a new seismic inventory of oil and gas resources along the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) represents a threat to marine wildlife and the environment.

They also fear the inventory is the first step down a slippery slope to exploration and drilling along fragile coastlines.

The 2005 Energy Policy Act signed by President George W. Bush on Aug. 8 encourages increased domestic production of oil and natural gas, grants the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Mineral Management Service (MMS) new authority for federal offshore alternate energy uses, and requires a comprehensive inventory of oil and gas resources on the OCS.

U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) said she opposes efforts to open the OCS to oil exploration. During Senate hearings on the bill, she joined 11 senators representing coastal states in sending a letter to Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), which states the inventory will undermine current Congressional and Presidential moratoria on exploration in 85 percent of the OCS.

In the affected area from the Alabama/Mississippi border to the Louisiana/Texas border, 10 - 15,000 boats are affected.” Photo: Scott Labak

Coastal New England groups, which often have widely diverging views on fisheries and conservation, are now coming together to express considerable concern regarding the provision’s implications for Georges Bank.

“We’re very concerned about this type of research and its impacts on the marine environment,” said Northeast Seafood Coalition Executive Director Jackie O’Dell. “It seems pretty substantial. We spent many years rebuilding fish stocks, and fishermen have taken great pains to rebuild the resource — groundfish, scallops and other key stocks. We’re very concerned about development in

general, but particularly on Georges Bank, which is a unique environment. It’s one of the most productive fishing grounds in the world, and to even think about taking a potential risk that could destroy that is a great concern.”

“We strongly opposed the inclusion of the inventory,” said Oceana’s Federal Policy Director Ted Morton. “It’s a significant step against the ban of offshore drilling, especially off New England. Georges Bank is a vitally important fishing ground.”
Seismic testing is alarming in itself, Morton said, but it also augers a far more significant situation.

Mooning Norumbega
by Mike Crowe

Between the automobile and television, walking seems to have become a kind of nuisance for some people when they can’t be seated. While some who see walking as a bother do make exceptions for walking around a mall, others find the motorized shopping cart essential. Walking as an “activity” or a “sort of” athletic thing, with clothes and shoes for the serious walker is a new spin.

David Ingram walked from Veracruz, Mexico to Maine in 1568. He probably didn’t have shoes, (sailors didn’t wear them), a compass, map or much for clothes either. Not a lot is known about Ingram, but this was definitely not a recreational walk to lower his blood pressure or extend his golden years.

A crewman on a slave ship bringing slaves to the West Indies, he would see a radical shift in scenery. By 1520, sugar production in the Caribbean, had already increased the demand for plantation slaves. After leaving slaves in the Caribbean, his captain, John Hawkins, along with the not yet Sir Francis Drake and 400 men had sailed six ships, into a port near Veracruz, Mexico in 1568. However, this was Spanish territory and they were soon attacked by a Spanish naval force. Four ships were sunk. Drake fled and Hawkins, overloaded with crewmen from the sunken ships, let 100 men ashore before fleeing. Most of those left on shore went south, but a few went north.


Norumbega on a 1569 map of the coast of what is now the northeastern U.S. Above the St. Lawrence River. Just right of center, Penobscot Bay and River. This was the Global Positioning System of its time, but only a handful of people would have seen it and David Ingram was not one of them.


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