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Mayport Florida
A Shrimping Town Says "No To Cruise Ships"

May 15, 2008

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Mayport Florida
A Shrimping Town Says "No To Cruise Ships"

May 15, 2008

Courage. When I think of that word, I think of policemen, fireman and armed forces. I think of cancer victims, people born with disabilities and recovering victims of domestic violence. Courage is the personality trait the drives people to do things, others would never consider, to take on tasks that seem so insurmountable to others, as to seem impossible. Yet, there are those who chose to do what they think is right, to fight for what they believe in, at any cost.

I pondered these things as I became familiar with the little community of Mayport, Florida. Mayport, Florida is officially a community within Jacksonville, Florida. It is home to Mayport Naval Station, home to the local shrimping industry and home to the zip code 32227 with a population of 5,267.

It is a quiet, quaint, protected village harbor that is nestled among the Mayport Lighthouse, Marine Science Education Center, Ft. George Island and Little Talbot Island all just north of Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach, all western suburbs of City Of Jacksonville, Florida.

While it has been neighbors with the third largest naval base in the United States, the naval base has respected their neighbors, and the community of shrimp fishermen who call Mayport Village their home, have prospered.

Now, those shrimpers have had their livelihood threatened by a monster, known for polluting the harbors they ply, giving little thought to the people who have lived, survived and thrived in these communities for hundreds of years.

Mayport Village is the latest target of the cruise industry, and the courageous people of Mayport are fighting back.

The Save Mayport Village website says, "There are many Generations of Shrimpers who have lived and worked here most of their lives". These are the villagers who stand to lose the most, when the deep draught polluters flagged in foreign nations, come into port to rape the environment at the bidding of their American stocker holders.

Their agenda is clear. "Its time to take a stand to preserving the history and culture of Mayport. Protect our working waterfronts, Just say no to Mayport cruise terminal."

Residents point out to the less than stellar history of environment awareness the City Of Jacksonville has had in the past as reason to believe that the cruise industry will be more important than the local environment shrimpers need in order to protect their industry.

Their website says, "Jacksonville was on EPA's violator list from 1978 until 1995 because of other air pollution problems. For part of that time, cars and trucks in Duval County had to pass emissions tests, but there are no plans to bring that back. Now that Jaxport has opened the gate for container and cruise ships emissions go pretty much unchecked. Jacksonville City Hall is working on a plan to encourage new development with less traffic impact, said Susie Wiles, spokeswoman for Mayor John Peyton. this of course does not include the ship traffic.which by the way is a hundred times worse.

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