To the Editor:
I have been a commercial fisherman in and out of Point Judith for going on 50 years. I was there in 1972 for the first Blessing Of The Fleet, and I’ve hardly missed one since.
In those 40 odd years I’ve watched Galilee and Point Judith both undergo radical transformation. We went from being a small fishing port where Captains lived along the docks, to a massive powerhouse in the 80s, to the near collapse in the early aughts and now back to something of a revival.
And of course, in that time, we became a parking lot for Block Island.
But the one thing that has remained constant has been the tight knit community of fishermen and their families.
I am writing because I feel that the fishing boats, the basis of the entire event, are slowly falling by the wayside in the media.
It’s simple to find coverage of the road race online or in the papers, even on the nightly news, but near impossible to find coverage of the boats themselves.
Where is the coverage of the net mending or species demonstrations or the traveling tide pool? In short, where are the fishermen?
Demographics change, and the media coverage reflects that. And it’s a sad thing. A fisherman who wakes up at 2 a.m. to fish the waters along the beach isn’t likely to go for a jog before work. He’d effectively have to wake up last night.
A fisherman on a freezer boat, gone from his family for 20 days isn’t going to rush home for a protein shake and a run.
We get coverage of joggers. You can see a jogger anytime, just drive along Ocean road. What I can’t see is the heart of the industry that made Galilee what it is today.
And that’s what the blessing should be for. Not coverage of those lucky enough to have time to train, to have a 9 to 5 job where they can run, to have backs that haven’t been destroyed by decades of a harsh and unrelenting industry.
So, perhaps we should change the name to accurately reflect those people in the news. We could call it The Blessing Of The Privileged.
Captain F/V Elizabeth Victoria