Fishermen ready to help EPA - - The News for South Mississippi

Fishermen ready to help EPA

By Jessica Bowman - email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - "We want to work, go to work today, right now, to try and stop it," said one concerned fisherman.

"But, a we've got a massive amount of oil coming, and we've got an armada of boats that can catch it all. As a matter of fact, we've been known for killing every species in the gulf, but we can't stop some oil? Come on, we got enough boats we could go scoop that stuff up and make your head spin," said another angry fisherman. "Them haul guys, they know how to transport, but they don't know how to catch none. We can catch this."

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said she is preparing for the worse. She wanted to hear ideas from the local fishermen who know the waterways best to see what can be done.

"My main mission here is to go back and tell them there are people here who want to work," Jackson said.

"As of now or very soon, their source of income is gone," said one fisherman.

"Our shrimpers, our crabbers and these guys that go out and make their living do this and that's really what's going to get hurt," said Jim Gunkel with Quality Poultry and Seafood.

Jackson said the EPA wants locals to help out in a way so the effort really makes a difference.

"I think they're going to be on the front lines, and what they're saying is we're going to be here anyways," Jackson said.

"These guys know the waters. They've grown up in these waters. They know the ends and outs. Some contractor from out of state or some government doesn't know how these waters react and the little estuaries and bayous and things like that, these guys know that they need to use the local people and allow them to do this and do the work."

Jackson said there is a training that those wanting to help will have to go through because they will be dealing with hazardous materials.

James said, "We need to be trained if they want to do that. They need to come down and do it immediately for us, so they can put us to work in the next three days to help the coast line."

Jackson says she believes locals will be able to play a role in either skimming the water or protecting their beds.

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