BP restoration projects too little too late for one former fisherman

BP restoration projects too little too late for one former fisherman

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Mike Layman was an avid fisherman. The only thing left from his fishing days is his boat at Point Cadet Marina. Since the BP oil spill, all it does is serve as a getaway apartment from his home in the country.

"I've eaten seafood from the Gulf all my life, and I quit eating it altogether. Hoping for Chinese or Texas seafood," Layman said. "That's how it's affected me. I don't do maintenance to my boat any more. I have all my fishing gear at the house. I haven't moved from my boat to go fishing since the BP oil spill."

An approved reef restoration project north of Deer Island and just yards away from his mooring makes him happy, but not for himself.

"Well, I think that's going to be fine for future generations," Layman said. "I don't think it's going to help us right now, the older folks. I see it being very positive. That's the only thing it could be is positive."

Ten projects at a cost of $134 million have been approved to help the Gulf of Mexico recover from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.

In South Mississippi, there are breakwater and reef restoration projects planned for Back Bay, Graveline Bay, St. Louis Bay and Grand Bay at an estimated cost of $30 million.

The Department of Marine Resources will work with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to design and permit the projects, which will likely take years to complete.

"Your subtidal reefs are really aimed at creating habitat, providing more oyster reefs for us to enjoy and for fishermen, of course to fish on, because it creates great habitat for fishing," said Kelly Lucas, DMR Chief Scientific Officer.

Another project is for bike and pedestrian enhancements at Davis Bayou in the Mississippi District Gulf Islands National Seashore. That project has an estimated cost of about $7 million.

As for the BP money, Layman wanted some to come directly to him.

"I filed a couple of times," Layman said. "Never even got a recognition really. I did from that first group. They said they got my claim. That was it."

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