David Anthony Kearns with video contributions by Stanley S. Morton, III

BP Oil spill in Gallons

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lashing the Aquatic Field Hands: Y'all git on back into the water!

The fishermen of Mississippi know what's going on. (See videos in previous post)
A roomful of suits want to reopen the fishery as soon as possible, to hell with consequences, to hell with science, to hell with what everybody sees in the water, to hell with future generations of fishermen, to hell with the safety of seafood consumers everywhere.
Why would public officials be rushing to do that which could be most harmful?
The sooner there is no excuse NOT to go back in the water and fish, the sooner the fishermen's future claims of lost wages can be invalidated by BP, or the government's "incident" money czar, Ken Feinberg.
So, how does that work? Does someone get paid to make it happen?
You think?
Do you think BP doesn't have a little bit of grease money lying around to get the system moving again? About the best damned thing they do, the quickest damned thing they do is sling that check book out when a public official leans on them even just a little bit. Ask Charlie Crist!
Who else might stand to benefit?
Look at it: catch don't come in? Fish houses don't get paid, and the ice packers don't get paid and the companies that haul the seafood don't get paid. And then the banks don't get paid. And we can't have that.
Everything hinging on this little commish giving the go ahead to send the little chillin', the aquatic field hands, back into the water. The ugly scene is being played out in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida as well.
Why the mistreatment and pressure? Why use sports anglers as vessels of opportunity more than shrimpers, trawlers and such?
Because that's the wedge. The carrot. If you don't toe that line, lift that barge and so on, you don't get the cookie. If you speak up about the state or condition of the seafood, or even raise your hand for a say in the matter, you NEVER get that cookie.
Sport fisherman doesn't bring in the dinner, he brings in the tourist. Government has no wedge against him. They NEED to KEEP that wedge against the primary producers. They need to keep them quite, obedient, in line. "Yes, sir. No sir. How high, sir? What color, sir?" Get the picture?
But is the seafood safe?
Oh who the hell knows and who the hell cares. BP certainly thinks so! After all it's the fishermen themselves that might get sued if the shellfish, or the shrimp is bad. The lawyers will wander back the distribution chain until they find somebody they can sue and get away with it. Someone who can only afford an attorney who went to night school, not Yale or Harvard.
And who might that be?
(sigh) You just aren't listening here, are you.
The men on the commission at the front of the room, are who precisely?
Governor Haley Barbour's appointees.
Barbour rushed into the mix early on in the disaster to assure his fellow citizens of the Magnolia State that the oil was "just a sheen" on the surface of the water. Nothing to fear.
Governors appoint people, give them power, often so that they can apply the subtle drifts and intrigues needed to make the votes go the way they want them too.
Watching these videos was, for me, like a trip back in time, to the warm, slow days of the deep south, as it existed here in East Central Florida, during more city council meetings than I can count.
The public officials aren't concerned at all how their arrogance jumps off the proceedings through the video. They seem prepared to bully, steamroll, insult, ignore then forget the fishermen and their concerns. Just the way rascally ole city councilmen and county commissioners used to do here in Florida; before they woke up to at least the 20th Century, if not the 21st.
These aldermen, commissioners as they called themselves put a very poor face on Mississippi. Lot of work to do there, one can suppose. A lot of education will be needed.
Open government laws, perhaps. Do they even have these in Mississippi or is it still THAT back-woods that elected folks on public boards can have secret meetings without the press, to conspire and divvy up the winnings on sad-sack Harry the hapless taxpayer?
Sure seems that way.
The fishermen in the video, point out that not one of the folks on the board were voted in, by the people who actually work on the water. The Vietnamese fishermen mentioned here, hapless pawns and race card fodder, might not be that up on the news of the day to know they even have rights, or are permitted to fight for them, apart from cow-towing to the one commissioner.
Is Tennessee Williams writing the script for this video somewhere? High, sultry southern drama.
For allegedly rustic and uneducated folks prone to rage, and so on, these fishermen displayed commendable restraint, and unfailingly refined southern manners when they were insulted and baited by at least one member of the brutish commission; the one in charge of "his" Vietnamese fishermen.
Just ghastly. Appalling. A lurid spectacle indeed. All public officials in Mississippi, go hide. Hang your head in shame. Fishermen? Hold yours up, for you dared ask that which needed to be asked. And you did it for all of us.
You can see where this is going.
The fishery will be opened. Things will get shoveled under the water.
How do we know?
Why do you think they call it Corexit? It takes the oil and turns it into dense little balls which sink below the mixing layer. Below 300 feet in the open sea.
The mixing layer is the upper level of the water column, where the wind and tides mix up the water. You carry the oil and dispersant down below that and it can remain there out of sight out of mind for years.
Trouble is, the greatest migration on the face of the earth happens in the water, right across the mixing layer, every single damned day.
Creatures from the depth, large and small, march right on up to the surface at night to follow the dwindling light, and warmth, then they move on back down when the sun comes up.
Whatever poison is in the water, whatever they have ingested is carried with them. Which is et on by larger fish, and larger and so on, until it is et on, by all of us.
Does this matter?
The fishermen seem to think so. They should know best, they are out there every day, for generations.
Will anyone listen to them, or will they be lashed by master's whip back out into the field?
What do you think?

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