Fishermen reflect on BP oil spill impact

Fishermen reflect on BP oil spill impact

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Thursday marks the seven year anniversary of the BP oil spill.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster had an immediate negative impact on the Mississippi Gulf Coast tourism. But the greater long-term damage, according to some, happened to the Coast's fishing industry.

"It shut everything down. Shut all the fishing down. Actually, this shop was supposed to be built right before it blew up," said Roscoe Liebig. "It put it all on hold."

As Liebig prepares for another season of selling live bait, he wonders about the lingering impact of the oil spill.

"You've got good years and bad years, you know? Time will tell. They say in the long-term is where we'll really tell what happens," said Liebig.

Osmond Pham is getting set for the season and believes the impact of the oil spill continues to affect the catch.

"That's why last year we normally have more of the shrimp. Seeing the oil spill, the percent of shrimp growing up is less," Pham said.

Along with the impact to commercial fishermen, the spill also affected the charter fishing industry.

"Hopefully, we can bounce back from it with the charter business, the trout....and redfish," said charter boat fisherman, Matt Dubuisson.

Dubuisson says the charter fishing industry remains in recovery mode; although the immediate impact was significant.

"We couldn't, the waters was closed. We couldn't use our own water, couldn't get the resource out of them. I think everybody's coming back, and we just hope the resource is there for us," Dubuisson said.

Thousands of fishermen filed damage claims with BP following the oil spill. On Thursday, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced that the $49.8 million initial State Expenditure Plan was approved.

SEP projects include the Mississippi Gulf Coast Water Quality Improvement Program, Pascagoula Oyster Reef Complex Relay and Enhancement, and the Compatibility, Coordination, and Restoration Planning.

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