Mississippi Shrimpers Refuse to Trawl, Fearing Oil, Dispersants
by Dahr Jamail
August 20, 2010
The Mississippi Sound was recently reopened, but Mark Stewart and other commercial fisherman fear oil and dispersants, and refuse to fish.
BILOXI, Mississippi, Aug 20, 2010 (IPS) – The U.S. state of Mississippi recently reopened all of its fishing areas. The problem is that commercial shrimpers refuse to trawl because they fear the toxicity of the waters and marine life due to the BP oil disaster.
“We come out and catch all our Mississippi oysters right here,” James “Catfish” Miller, a commercial shrimper in Mississippi, told IPS. Pointing to the area in the Mississippi Sound from his shrimp boat, he added, “It’s the only place in Mississippi to catch oysters, and there is oil and dispersants all over the top of it.”
On Aug. 6, Mississippi’s Department of Marine Resources (DMR) and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ordered the reopening of all Mississippi territorial waters to all commercial and recreational finfish and shrimp fishing activities that were part of the precautionary closures following the BP oil rig disaster in April. At least five million barrels flowed into the Gulf before the well was shut earlier this month.
But Miller, along with many other commercial shrimpers, refuses to trawl.