Debris Removal Begins In Mississippi Sound - - The News for South Mississippi

Debris Removal Begins In Mississippi Sound

Fishermen normally try to avoid snags. But not this time. They're actively looking for the tree limbs and metal and plastic parts that litter the near shore waters of the Mississippi Sound.

"We're excited to see the debris removal start out front. And we're looking forward to getting it done and getting our beaches and waters back to normal hopefully," said Irvin Jackson with the Department of Marine Resources.

It's a far cry from fishing trips where a lucky few land a boat load. There's debris enough for everyone.

"We're after it man!" shouted one fishermen, as he dumped a load of tree limbs.

Shallow waters at the foot of Courthouse Road are a staging area for dumping debris. The graveyard of storm broken limbs will eventually find its way to the landfill. But it's not all trees they're finding.

"We found some unidentified objects that come out of them casinos I'm sure. Stainless steel. Wash machines. Rebar and concrete. A little bit of everything," said Pascagoula fisherman Rufus Young.

He's not exaggerating. Young says his grappling hooks already pulled in assorted ladies lingerie. For many fishermen, landing a spot on the clean up crew was a lucky strike.

"Very glad to get the work. Really are. Because fishing ain't been the greatest. And shrimping. Imports is killing up on our shrimp prices," said Young.

It would be an impossible task to remove all the debris. The fishing crews will catch what they can.

Richard Sharpless is with the U.S. Coast Guard, which is overseeing the debris removal.

"Making sure that the waterways are safe for everyone and there's no hazards or anything left out there that can harm the environment," he said.

Although it took nearly a year to get started, there is a schedule to finish the work. The contract calls for completing the debris removal in 90 days.

By Steve Phillips

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