Bay Bridge Ban Has Local Fishermen Reeling

A Bay Bridge fishing ban has some local fishermen reeling. Fishermen were first told the ban would be temporary while construction crews installed a concrete barrier down the center of the bridge. However, State Transportation leaders now say the ban will be permanent for safety reasons.

This is the time of year you usually find fishermen lined up along both sides of the Bay St. Louis Bridge. No fishing signs went up during construction of center safety barrier in the middle of the bridge . Construction crews are gone, but the no fishing signs will stay.

" I don't know why they won't let you fish on there because the bridge is the same way it was before all they did was put a wall there", said Rev. Jordan Bush. Bush fished off of the bridge practically every day, sometimes twice a day. He and many other fishermen say the ban is not fair.

Charlie Lanaux, is disappointed by the State's decision " I disagree with it I don't like it. I can understand why they don't want you out there."

The reason is transportation leaders fear someone might get hurt. Southern District Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown told us, "Fishing on the bridge does pose a safety hazard. There is no buffer between fishermen on this bridge and the traffic." But Charlie Lanaux says " I've been fishing out there for over 20 years. I can't remember nobody ever getting hit out there." However, other long time bridge fishermen agree with commissioner Brown.

"It's to the point it's just to dangerous somebody is definitely is going to get killed it's sad cause it's a great place to fish but times have changed around here," said Roy Dedeaux. Dedeaux says there's more traffic on the bridge today than ever before.

Many fishermen say adults know how to watch for traffic. They say a rail should be installed along the bridge walkway for protection. The fishermen say State leaders should put up signs saying fish at your own risk. Bush and others say they may circulate a petition asking the State to reconsider the ban.