County officials urging people not to panic over oil spill threat - - The News for South Mississippi

County officials urging people not to panic over oil spill threat


By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - State and local governments once again reminded the public on Saturday that Mississippi waters are open to recreational and commercial fishing. Officials also stressed that coast beaches are open.

Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy said while we need to prepare for the oil, panic shouldn't keep us from enjoying our natural resources right now.

By noon there were about two dozen fishing poles cast at the Long Beach harbor; however, earlier in the day there were many more.

"The harbor had probably 50 people in it when we got here,"said James Phillips of Gulfport.

Some people said they feel anyone who stays away from coast beaches just because of the oil threat is overreacting.

Phillips said, "Some people are jumping the gun. They're thinking the worst. Until the oil actually gets here, there's not too much you can do about it."

The government releases projection maps every day on where the oil flow may head next. Lacy said he's getting a lot of calls from worried people who are misinterpreting the maps.

"Understand that this is a projected forecast," said Lacy. "If you remember looking at a hurricane map, you see that five day forecast. The cone in very large just as what NOAA is putting out on that very large black line that loops around on the trajectory maps."

Lacy said no one knows for sure what is going happen. He said South Mississippians should not let the threat of oil coming ashore alter our way of life.

"Mississippi beaches are open. We're having kind of a good beach day today," Lacy said. "We have a lot of people that's out enjoying it. Just as we have a lot of fishermen out there in our Mississippi Sound and Mississippi waters that are enjoying the good fishing."

"Sun's out. Nice breeze to keep the gnats off you," said Philips. "I wouldn't miss it for anything."

Mississippi Department of Health officials say any fish available for commercial sale like fish sold in grocery stores comes from non-contaminated waters.

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