Tar balls, dead fish & no clean up crews worry Hancock Co. residents

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - By Al Showers – bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Reports of tar balls and fish kills kept leaders at the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center busy Friday morning.

Hundreds of tar balls and patties washed up on the beach near Lakeshore Road overnight.

"They range from anywhere from a quarter inch, looks like, to a couple of inches," EOC Director Brian Adam said, pointing to the oil debris. "Of course this one here is a little bit bigger."

Residents who reported the tar ball clusters want to know why no one was out cleaning up the mess, and why they haven't seen cleanup crews on the beach lately.

"The last two days we have not done any beach cleanup. That will resume tomorrow night, weather permitting," said Melvin Castillo, BP's Hancock County Branch Director.

Castillo said crews and equipment were de-mobilized during the recent tropical weather threat, but are now in the process of re-mobilizing.

"We still have the same amount of people, 55. We'll put the same amount of people out there and, if need be, we can ramp that up and double the task force."

While on the beach surveying the tar balls, Adam received a call about an unusual occurrence just down the road at Bordage's Marina.

"If you walk along the pier, you'll see small dead fish. You've got some speckled trout that's dead through here. All the crabs are crawling up on the bank and I just kind of wonder why," Adam said.

A fisherman who didn't want to be identified said he knows why.

"Something is killing them. It wasn't killing them before this oil got here. And now they're dying everywhere."

Adam and a representative from the DEQ bagged some of the dead fish and the crabs for testing. They hope to know what caused the crab and fish kill within a few days.

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