Oil spill clouding the future of the Biloxi shrimp tour - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Oil spill clouding the future of the Biloxi shrimp tour

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

By Doug Walker – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The song that opens the shrimp tour sums up the season so far. It's a song about the oil spill.  

On a normally packed tour boat, only a handful of tourists show up for the morning run into the Mississippi Sound.  One of them was Roger Lauterjung from Illinois.  He knew he was taking a chance.  

"I was checking the news very carefully every day to see if this has been affected and I didn't hear anything about it, so we decided to come on down." 

On the tour, operator Brandy Moore did her best to educate the visitors about the coast shrimping industry.  But she has added something new to the maritime curriculum.

"The most thing I hear is that people come from up north and say, 'The gulf coast is covered in oil, but we came down here and it's beautiful.' And they're asking me what's the deal with that, so we actually started adding a little bit of the oil into the tour," Moore said. 

Not surprisingly, business is down so far on the Biloxi shrimp tour.  The reason, the operators say, is continuing national publicity about the huge oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico, and its impact on coast tourism. 

Brandy Moore is frustrated.  

"I'm not concerned necessarily about the actual oil. "I'm just concerned about the media and the hype that it's been given. And people are hearing that and seeing that, and it's like the stigma with Katrina." 

Stigma or not, Gregg Roberts traveled from Missouri, despite the threat of oil.  He feels it was a trip worth taking. 

"I think it's bad, but it just hasn't got as far over and we didn't want that to impact our trip," Roberts said.  "We were cautious coming down, but still felt good. And there's a lot to do down here and the water is still really good." 

And it's that type of attitude that tourism leaders on the coast hope will steer us through the rough seas brought on by the spill. 

The shrimp tour runs three times a day, seven days a week, from now through Labor Day from the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.

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