March 24, 2014
This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini. 25 years ago oil invaded Alaskas coastline… Today Kodiak remembers. Hear more after this…
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“Our emerald isle with its hundreds of miles of coast line is being blackened. Our livelihood and environment is being threatened. Our wildlife is being destroyed. Our surrounding waters and hard work have made Kodiak the largest fishing port in the nation there needs to be a huge effort to clean it up. This community lives by fish and our salmon fishing is about to start. Exxon needs to demonstrate an attitude that excludes and affinity for our environment a love for our land and sea, and respect for Alaskan citizens.”
Anne Barker took a stand at one of the many daily Exxon Valdez oil spill public meetings in Kodiak in 1989. Her speech brought hundreds of people to “March for Clean Up” after two months of foot dragging from Exxon. Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the spill in Prince William Sound.
“The spill happened on a Friday, and I think on Sunday or early Monday a big storm came up and it just took that oil and blew it all to the west out of Prince William Sound and it just covered everything.”
Kodiak Maritime Museums Director, Toby Sullivan.
“By the time it got to Kodiak it was not the spill you saw on TV with acres of black oil. It had been weathered so it had this brown surface to it, and they where like football shaped globs of oil in the water that floated. If you popped one open or if it went up on the beach it would brake open kinda like an egg yolk and the black oil inside would come out. But the definitely got all over Kodiak Island and there was a big effort to clean it up and it was a big event.”
As fishing families stressed the fact of the up and coming salmon season being wiped out, Exxon reps took a slow approach at any kind of action.
“There is no question about it some people just aren’t going to be able to fish this summer. The way we look at it particularly some set net sites that have extremely heavily oiled impacted area, we would hope to get that open in the next couple of months, but we’re not pretending to think that there is going to some panacea and everybody is going to be at work in two weeks and all of this is going to go away. That’s just not real.”
Fishermen said that the band aid efforts that where suppose to help ease the sting of the spill only brought more tension among fishing families. Sullivan agrees.
“The oil was one thing, and it had a huge effect on the natural system. But when the money from the spill clean up wad distributed around it was very uneven and the resentment from toward Exxon and toward other people was just enormous. That actually had more effect on the community than the oil itself.”
The Kodiak Maritime Museum is presenting the Exxon Valdez oil spill history to ComFish in Kodiak next month. Learn more at www.comfishalaska.com And find links at our website www.alaskafishradio.com.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak I’m Stephanie Mangini.