Impact of BP oil spill still felt by fishermen

Impact of BP oil spill still felt by fishermen
Some fishermen said Red Fish and White Trout used to be some of the most abundant catches to come out of the gulf. That has changed. (Photo source: WLOX)
Some fishermen said Red Fish and White Trout used to be some of the most abundant catches to come out of the gulf. That has changed. (Photo source: WLOX)
"You still catch fish here and there, but it's nothing like it used to be," said Paul Godsey. (Photo source: WLOX)
"You still catch fish here and there, but it's nothing like it used to be," said Paul Godsey. (Photo source: WLOX)
Fishermen we spoke with said there still aren't nearly as many anglers out on the water as there were before the spill. (Photo source: WLOX)
Fishermen we spoke with said there still aren't nearly as many anglers out on the water as there were before the spill. (Photo source: WLOX)
Fishing was banned altogether for several months after the spill in 2010. (Photo source: WLOX)
Fishing was banned altogether for several months after the spill in 2010. (Photo source: WLOX)

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - On the five year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we're taking a closer look at how the accident affected life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Ask a fisherman what it's been like to hit the water during the past five years, and he'll most likely tell you one thing: "Things have gotten a lot slower," said Steven Wilcox.

The Gulfport resident remembers a time when he could set up for a day of fishing at 7am and catch his limit by 9:30am. Now, he says the situation is much different.

"Sitting around for six, seven hours, you get six fish in the box, you're doing good," said Wilcox.

Wilcox moved to Gulfport a couple of years before the spill, but his friend Paul Godsey has been fishing this area for as long as he can remember. He said Red Fish and White Trout used to be some of the most abundant catches to come out of the gulf. That has changed.

"You still catch fish here and there, but it's nothing like it used to be," said Godsey.

And he said it's not just the sport fishers who saw a drop in success on the water.

"A lot of people live off of this stuff down here and for it to let it go like they did is just uncalled for really," he said.

Godsey believes the situation could have been handled a lot differently by BP. He said the fishing hasn't improved since that tragic accident, but not everyone agrees.

"To me, it seems like they've done pretty good," said Steve Blakesley of Gulfport.

According to Blakesley, the fishing has gotten better over the past three years. But, right after the spill, it wasn't just the fish that stopped showing up.

Before 2010, Blakesley said this area would be covered with people and their fishing gear.

"Now you get maybe four or five people out here," said Blakesley. But, that didn't stop him. "It wasn't enough to discourage me from going," he said.

If you remember, fishing was banned altogether for several months after the spill in 2010.

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