People still fishing despite water quality

People still fishing despite water quality
(Photo source: WLOX)
(Photo source: WLOX)
(Photo source: WLOX)
(Photo source: WLOX)

With recent beach closures and water contact advisories several aspects of tourism have seen drastic hits.

Hotels are seeing cancellations and people are staying off the beaches. But, according to local fishermen, the water is still good for casting out a few lines.

Those who know the area and its fishermen say that not much stands in their way when it comes to catching a few fish.

"People who fish every weekend just about regardless," said one local fisherman.

When contact advisories hit the area, and beaches close down for days, areas like the old Broadwater Marina don't see much change.

"It didn't affect us much around here," said lifelong angler, Carl Harris.

His friend, John Heidelberg, agreed.

"Nah, I mean the fish are biting properly." You won't find Heidelberg packing up his rod and reel anytime soon, but he thinks out-of-towners won't have the same attitude and he can see why.

"It will have an effect on tourism and the locals. I wouldn't get in the water either," said Heidelberg. If tourism is effected, it would only make sense that charter businesses would start seeing the impact.

According to Tyler Hahn, he hasn't noticed much of a decline in bookings on his charter boat.

"I mean I think it's 100 percent safe as long as you take the right precautions you know they don't have any open wounds or anything," said Hahn.

People are still going on fishing trips, and people are catching fish. What happens after that is up to the fisherman.

"We don't eat what we catch. We throw back everything," said one fisherman.

"I haven't stopped eating it," said Steven Riley, who has been fishing these waters his entire life. He thinks all the closures and advisories will have an effect on the area. "It lowers the chances of folks coming down here and fishing for sure. Because as many people that used to fish down here don't come down here anymore," he said.

According to Riley the most dramatic change has happened in the past four or five years. He says there could be a number of factors to blame, but the main culprit is time. "I don't know, I guess it changes as the years go on."

The beach closure at Rodenberg Avenue was lifted, but there are still areas of beach that are under advisement. Those areas are just east of Jones Park in Gulfport and the far west side of Pass Christian.

On Wednesday, the DMR and the Secretary of State will participate in the inaugural state of the coast conference.

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