Fishermen Still Losing Money Three Years After Oil Spill

Louisiana fishermen are still losing money, three years after the oil spill. The fishermen blame the estimated 200 million gallons of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon well in 2010.

Executives at BP, who own the well, have stated that tourism and fishing have recovered from the disaster, but local fishermen tell a different story.

As reported by CNN, many residents along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana fish for a living. Numbers of fish, crab, and oysters, have declined along the coast, and fishermen are still losing money three years after the spill.

Darren Stander, of Yscloskey, Louisiana, has reportedly observed crab fishermen leaving with hundreds of traps, returning with most of them empty. The 26-year-old works on the docks, hauling in crabs and oysters brought in by local fishermen. It used to be a two to three-man job, Stander now works alone.

The crabs that are caught don’t necessarily sell. Residents and tourists still question their quality. University of South Florida biologist, Steve Murawski, confirms that seafood caught in the gulf is safe for consumption. He reports that there has not been any reported illness or adverse effects from consuming seafood caught after the oil spill.

The Louisiana Oystermen Association reports decreased numbers of oysters as well. Reefs, which used to be filled with oysters, are now empty. Conservationists have taken steps to revitalize the reefs, but it is a long process. It can take up to five years for a reef to recover to its previous state.

For many fishermen, the costs of fuel and employing staff far outweigh any profit they could possibly make selling the seafood. As the supplies and the demand are down, their profits are dwindling as well.

The fishermen aren’t the only ones feeling the impact three years after the oil spill. Other local wildlife has been compromised as well.

As reported by the Examiner, dolphins, sea turtles, and coral reefs continue to suffer due to the oil spill. Studies conducted by the National Wildlife Federation reveal discouraging news.

By January of this year, the infant dolphin mortality rate had increased six times. Overall, dolphin mortality rates remain higher than average since the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

The number sea turtles found stranded, annually, has increased four times since the oil spill.

The mixture of oil, and the dispersant used by BP to clear the spill, have deterred coral growth on a reef seven miles from the spill site.

Louisiana fishermen and the National Wildlife Federation share concern for the Louisiana coast. The local fishermen are still losing money three years after the spill, and the NWF are concerned for the future of Louisiana’s ecosystem.

[Image via Wikimedia]