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Gulf Fishermen, Spill Experts and Alaska Fishermen Assess Aftermath of Gulf Spill and Weigh Risks of Offshore Drilling in Bristol Bay

While Gulf of Mexico fishermen are still reeling from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, Alaskans are trying to better assess the implications for potential drilling in the rich fisheries of Bristol Bay and other Alaska waters. 

A panel presentation Friday November 19th at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle (Fish Expo) will include perspectives from Gulf fishermen, Alaskan fishermen and oil spill response experts. 

According to panelist George Barisich, a third-generation Gulf Coast commercial fisherman, recovery for Gulf fisheries remains unknown and families are struggling.  The full economic impact won't be known for some time to come. 

Bristol Bay fishermen have been watching the Gulf spill with anxiety.  Even before the Gulf spill, the Obama administration temporarily removed Bristol Bay from the federal offshore oil leasing schedule, but only until 2017.  According toThomas Tilden, a commercial fisherman and Tribal Chief from Dillingham, Alaska, the oil and gas industry has had a strong interest in Bristol Bay for over 30 years.  He calls on leaders to permanently protect the world-class fisheries in Bristol Bay and the Bering Sea and the thousands of related of jobs from offshore drilling.

Other panelists include experts on oil spill response, oil in marine environments, and the effects of the Exxon Valdez spill on Alaskan fisheries. 

Pacific Marine Expo Panel Discussion:

Offshore Drilling in Bristol Bay and the Bering Sea: Lessons Learned from the BP Spill

Date/Time:

Friday, November 19, 2010
9:00 - 10:00 am
Location: Room C3, Qwest Field Event Center, Seattle

If you can not attend the panel presentation, please contact Mary Engel to arrange interviews with panelists at 206-453-2372, mengel@pewtrusts.org.

Panelists:

George Barisich lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is the President of the United Commercial Fisherman's Association.

Thomas Tilden is a Bristol Bay commercial fisherman from Dillingham, Alaska. He is Chief of the Curyung Tribal Council.

RJ Kopchak is a former Prince William Sound fisherman and one of the founders of the Prince William Sound Science Center where she served as the first Board chairman and president.

Leslie Pearson is a private oil spill consultant and was the emergency preparation and response program manager for the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Robert Spies is an expert on the effects of contaminants on marine ecosystems and is the President of Applied Marine Sciences, a research firm specializing in ecological monitoring studies in aquatic environments.

For directions to Pacific Marine Expo or a schedule go to: http://www.pacificmarineexpo.com/10/public/enter.aspx

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