Minutes of the October 14, 2021 Meeting
The Rotary Club of Mobile
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by President Elizabeth Stevens, at 12:15 PM. After observing a moment of silence recognizing the recent death of member Paul Sousa, Chris Gibson came forward to offer the invocation. Tommy Blankenship led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Announcements – Elizabeth announced:
- The board will meet next week following the luncheon meeting.
- The Rotary General Fund Grant Application may be found on our website. The deadline is October 30, 2021.
- Please RSVP for the Annual Gala on October 28 at the Battleship. There will not be a luncheon meeting that day.
- Aimee Risser was invited forward to discuss RYLA teaching leadership to sophomore and junior high school students taking place at Camp ASCCA on March 4-7, 2022. She said that applications need to be submitted in January.
Program: Andrew Elliot: The winding Road to Peace and Prosperity
James Fowler introduced Andrew Elliot, director-Counsellor of the Northern Ireland Bureau located in Washington, D.C. James said that he and the speaker had discussed the similarities between Belfast and Mobile, noting that Mobile will soon join Belfast in successfully operating their international airport beside their port facilities.
Mr. Elliott discussed the rocky history of a divided Ireland and the violence and deaths of some 3700 people during the conflict which lasted from 1969 until 1999 when a joint effort of British, Irish and Americans worked to successfully end the conflict. Today, he said, there is an entire generation unaware that a problem or even a border between parts of Ireland ever existed.
Ireland today, he said, is better known for tourism and creativity in the areas of arts and culture which he said are all booming. He added that the country learned the madness of division and that the nation has been strengthened as a whole as a result.
Mr. Elliot said that Ireland has a unique place after Brexit in their trade exports, putting the nation at a unique advantage. The nation has not been adversely effected by Brexit, unlike Great Britain. After answering a number of questions, Elizabeth presented him with a certificate noting that a donation in his honor has been made to the Mobile Symphony’s Chamber Strings Program.
The meeting adjourned at 12:55PM.
Sumpter McGowin introduced Scott Bannon who serves as the Director of the state’s Marine Resources Division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources who explained that his role concerns the salt waters south of I-10. His office is the only state office outside of Montgomery with his being located on Dauphin Island.
His department strives to create better parks throughout the state and the crown jewel is now at Gulf Shores. Another goal he said, is to improve commercial and recreational fishing off shore and conduct genetic studies of fish. There is an important economic factor in both types of fishing and he noted that during red snapper season the impact is estimated to be $1 million per day.
The waters off of Alabama, he said, contain more than 12,000 artificial reefs which encourage an enormous variety of sea life. Col Banner termed this “the world’s premier artificial reef program since the 1950’s,” and a way to invest in the future.
A “Gulf-wide” effort has increased the quota for red snapper. The quota is in pounds caught and if bad weather (as has occurred recently) keeps the weight of fish caught down, the season will be extended. He estimated that this year it will be pushed well into December. Col Banner stressed that this makes it unnecessary to go out in bad weather just because the season is open.
He also mentioned the local farming of oysters which has drawn wide interest and noted that Bayou La Batre as a seafood processing center includes the novelty of shucking oysters by air pressure which greatly speeds up the process and reduces health risks. He also stressed the importance of oysters as a filter providing good quality water.
After answering a number of questions, Garrett thanked Col. Bannon for speaking to us and gave him a certificate noting that a donation in his honor has been made to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.
Garrett adjourned the meeting at 1:00 P.M.