The Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989 had devastated the shore around Prince William Sound, diminishing the marine population. Consequently, the fishery industry in the area faced a sharp fall on their fish catch and revenue. Feeling little had been done to study the impact of the spill, a group of fishermen sailed off to begin a blockade of the Valdez Narrows on August 20, 1993. While tankers must pass through Valdez Narrows to enter the port of Valdez, seven tankers were held off in the three-day blockade.
As oil was continuing to pump through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, and tankers were keeping off shore, the storage tanks in Valdez would soon overflow. With the probability in interrupting the oil flow to prevent an overflow, and also facing a growing loss in profits, the government came in to settle the blockade. The blockade was called off after Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt promised to release $5 million of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill restoration funds for ecosystem-wide studies.
Comprehensive studies of the effects of the spill toward the ecosystem around Prince William Sound began in the following year.
- Tanker Blockade Ends Hugh Curran. Anchorage Daily News, 1993.
- Exxon Valdez Oil & Prince William Sound: A 10-Year Reckoning Riki Ott. 1999.
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