My name is Rick Baumann. I have been working in one or more facets of the seafood business for over 50 years. I have seen the changes from the prospective of a harvester, wholesaler, retailer and restaurateur.
The company I founded, Murrells Inlet Seafood, is located in the Seafood Capital of South Carolina. The entire economy of our village is dependent on fresh local seafood.
My company has traditionally sought out fresh, local shrimp and fish production for processing and selling in the wholesale/retail markets. Commercial fishers, my company and others in our village are integral to the livelihoods of all those employed here – and everywhere our seafood travels to its end use.
It should be obvious to anyone who looks at this issue seriously that seismic blasting and offshore drilling are a real threat to our way of life and our ability to provide fresh seafood to the public.
It is already very difficult to survive in our industry. We comply with government regulations about what, when and how much can be harvested, knowing that we must protect the resources which sustain our professions.
With sustainable fish populations obviously the goal of these regulations, it is very difficult for us to understand how the US government would even seriously entertain the prospects of seismic blasting and offshore drilling in our ocean.
The government’s own Environmental Impact Statement predicts many thousands of injuries among marine mammals and many millions of disturbances, displacement and other impacts to whales, fish and other marine creatures – if seismic blasting is allowed to proceed in the Atlantic. Scientific studies have revealed that seismic blasting injures and kills fish and other invertebrates and causes great harm to fisheries.
So why would the government even think about allowing the oil industry to proceed with this dangerous procedure that so greatly affects the same wildlife that they seek to protect with their restrictive fishing regulations?
The American seafood industry is struggling to survive. We don’t need our fishing stock displaced, injured or killed by an industry which has proven reserves on land that will sustain this country for many decades. In fact, the current administration is proposing to sell of half of our strategic oil reserves!
Virtually every coastal fishing village, town and city on the east coast have adopted resolutions through their elected leaders – to oppose seismic blasting and offshore drilling. The Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast (BAPAC) represents over 41,000 businesses and over 500,000 commercial fishing families – and is adamantly opposed to seismic/oil as well because of the harm it will do to our coastal economies.
The fishing industry cannot stand our Atlantic resources we all want to save being blasted to disruption and death. We advocate for the future of our livelihood by working with the government to rebuild our fish stocks and clean up our estuaries and ocean.
Allowing the oil industry to proceed with seismic blasting is a reckless and flawed approach to sustaining recreational and commercial fishing resources and the vast economies attached to them.