DMR director: Show me the oil

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Jeff Lawson – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Is there still oil in Mississippi waters? The head of the Department of Marine Resources, Dr. Bill Walker, says his staff has not been able to find it. Nevertheless, some people still claim there is plenty of oil out there, and because of that, our seafood is not safe to eat.

That's why Dr. Walker is asking anyone who thinks they have seen oil in the Mississippi Sound or state waters to call his office. He issued that challenge several days ago. So we went by his office to see how many calls he has received since then.

"None. Zero," Walker said Friday.

Dr. Walker said it is a vocal minority of fishermen who are still claiming there is oil out there. He didn't want to speculate on why they are making such claims, and why they will not call and tell DMR where they think that oil is.

Walker did say he is more convinced than ever that the oil is gone.

"We are not able to find it and we have some pretty smart people looking for it. But we can't find it. All we are asking is show it to us. We will sample it. You can watch us sample it. We will send it off for analysis."

Walker is also convinced the perception much of the nation has that our seafood is not safe is due to those making what he calls "unsubstantiated claims."

"They have to know that they are hurting the industry as a whole, and they are not doing the industry or the state any service. They are actually doing a disservice."

Walker still hopes that anyone who thinks they see oil in our waters will call that number and let him know.

"I really hope that they will. Do I think that they will? Probably not."

The number to reach DMR if you think you have seen oil in our waters is (228) 374-5010.

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