Fishermen worried about contamination in Coast waterways

Fishermen worried about contamination in Coast waterways

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A water contact advisory for several contaminated Coast waterways is now entering its fifth day, and probably won't be lifted through the weekend. Fishermen say they have noticed fewer people casting their lines, especially in the affected waterways.

The Gulfport Lake Boat Launch is one of Glenn King's favorite places to wet a line. He's surprised to learn that a sewage spill less than a mile away forced the MDEQ to take action.

When asked if he was aware of a water contact advisory for the area, King replied, "Uh, no. It's good to know that so I'll know that if I did catch anything out of here, not to handle it."

A pipe ruptured Monday night, spewing about 500,000 gallons of raw sewage on Glascock Drive. Some of the sewage discharged into Bernard Bayou and the Industrial Seaway. Now, the contaminated waste water has moved further east to Popp's Ferry Road in Biloxi.

Blake Stokes and his family enjoy fishing from the Popp's Ferry Causeway, but are a bit worried.

"It don't do no good for the fish population or the environment," said Stokes. "I can see if you have an open cut or something and get in the water, it could have the possibility of getting infected."

According to MDEQ, people who come in contact with bacterial pollution in water have an increased risk of illnesses such as ear, eye, skin and respiratory infections, stomach illnesses; even meningitis and hepatitis. Those most at risk are very young children, seniors, and people with weak immune systems. Open cuts or sores are also more prone to infection.

Even so, the advisory won't keep Stokes from fishing.

"Oh, absolutely not. The oil spill didn't stop me, the hurricane didn't stop me, this ain't going to stop me," noted Stokes.

Residents and visitors should avoid water contact and eating seafood from the Industrial Seaway and Bernard Bayou from Highway 49 through Big Lake to Popp's Ferry. MDEQ scientists will continue testing the affected waterways throughout the weekend.

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