As the shrimp season began in Louisiana and the Mississippi delta Aug. 22, fisherman said they still feel the effects of the BP oil spill in 2010, The Huffington Post reports.
According to RestoreTheGulf.gov, over the past year more than 47,000 federal, state and local responders have attempted to clean up the gulf. Although more than 2,000 people are on-call status for to help clean up, local fisherman said the damage has already been done, and those who make their money from their fishing boats are not doing well.
“We don’t have millions of dollars sitting in the bank where we can go do something else,” Byron Encalade, president of the Louisiana Oystermen Association, told The Huffington Post. “We live and die on the seafood industry. This is our culture. This is how we live.”
Encalade said the dispersants BP used to thin out the oil has caused a lack of reproduction among oysters, which means one thing for shrimpers: this shrimp season will be tough.
“I don’t know where this concept of ‘everything is alright and they are doing what they are supposed to do’ came from,” Encalade told the Post. “These people are suffering down here, and I don’t think they have the slightest idea of how these communities are surviving. But they’re doing it on the back of Catholic Charities, nonprofits and each other.”
Encalade said poor Black fishermen have been among those hit the hardest by the spill. In 2010, Warren Duplessis, a deckhand for an oyster operation, told the New York Times that the disaster may have been the final blow to the area’s fishing industry.
“You might see a time when there ain’t no more Black fishermen around here,” he said. “Because now you can’t raise no children off the side of a boat. Nowadays you’ve got to take him out of here, let him learn something with the books. No future in what we’ve been bleeding and sweating for all our lives.”