Businesses worry oil leak will be financially devastating - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Businesses worry oil leak will be financially devastating

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - "A time bomb" is how one Mississippi charter boat captain is describing the threat the oil spill poses to both the environment and businesses that depend on a healthy Gulf of Mexico. Captain Mark Stebly said Thursday his crews are reporting that oil has already made its way to Louisiana's barrier islands.

Ocean Springs business owner Kenny Dinero said it's hard to run a bait and tackle shop without any bait.

"If we don't catch any live bait, there's no economic at all. Because we're not selling shrimp whether we have it for live or dead," said Dinero. "It's that time of year for us to start catching shrimp. If this oil gets in here, it's probably going to ruin our brown shrimp season and everything else, which is going to kill the fishing. Which means people won't have bait to buy or fish to catch."

The possible economic impact of the oil leak weighs heavily on the minds of Mississippi fishermen and charter boat operators.

"I've already canceled three fishing trips because of this," Capt. Mark Stebly said. "It's just so far reaching. Just the tourist trade, everything. Charter boats. Fishermen. Oyster fishermen. Shrimpers. It's vast."

While the entire Gulf Coast waits to see which way the oil will flow, Captain Stebly said the leak is already to the Chandeleur Islands where his business is based.

"It's actually globs of oil as big as your thumb, or as big as your fist," said Capt. Stebly. "If oil settles to the bottom, it will completely smother out the grass beds and oyster reefs. Shrimp populations are going to be decimated. People don't realize the reaches that this could have from Florida to Texas. "

As for the cleanup, Dinero said, "Now I hear the government is getting involved in it, maybe if they can go down there and they can stop the leak. I think they have enough technology now to collect the oil before it gets to us. I don't know about South Louisiana. "

The oil leak is already affecting some businesses. Thursday, a salesman who offers wholesale fishing supplies told us business is slow from New Orleans to Pensacola. He said people are reluctant to buy supplies they may not be able to use.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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