News / USA

Gulf Oil Spill Threatens Fishermen's Livelihoods

McAnespy brothers fear their way of life will not return

Louis McAnespy is a third-generation commercial fishermen from Louisiana who fears he will lose his livelihood due to the fishing ban imposed after last week's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (file photo)
Louis McAnespy is a third-generation commercial fishermen from Louisiana who fears he will lose his livelihood due to the fishing ban imposed after last week's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (file photo)
Jeff Swicord

As work continues offshore to contain the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, commercial fishermen in Louisiana, under a fishing ban, sit in port waiting to learn their fate.  Many have spent their entire lives harvesting the oysters, fish and shrimp that thrive in the Gulf.  Their life savings are often tied up in boats and fishing gear.  Jeff Swicord introduces us to one third-generation fisherman from Port Sulphur who fears he is about to lose both his livelihood and his heritage.

Fifty-year-old Louis McAnespy bought his first boat when he was 15-years-old.

"I spent close to $40,000 last year bedding oysters," McAnespy said.

Like his father and his grandfather before him, he makes his living harvesting the fish and shellfish of the Louisiana Gulf coast.

"This was the first place we had, my grandfather built it.  Then we started, I built my house and my brother built a place here," McAnespy said.

But he fears that could all be coming to an end as the massive oil slick from the Deep Water Horizon drilling rig creeps toward the coast.  His thoughts and fears keep him awake at night.

"Three or four hours before I could fall asleep. I wake up three o'clock in the morning with the same stuff on my mind, tossing and turning.  I feel like a fish out of water just flapping around in my bed at night" McAnespy said.

Louis's brother Henry McAnespy showed us a map of the oyster beds they lease from the state.

When Hurricane Katrina destroyed their oyster grounds, Henry invested $30,000 of his retirement money to re-seed the beds.  Now he worries they will lose everything.

"You know, in two years I could recap some of the money.  But if this oil gets on there, everything we got invested, we just going to go down." said McAnespy.

The two brothers estimate they have more than $300,000 invested in fishing gear and equipment.  They employ 12 people including Louis's son and deck hand Matt.

The McAnespy's have applied to take part in a British Petroleum program to employ fishermen in the oil cleanup.  They have been to several meetings but have not been chosen.  Louis says BP's response to the spill has been inadequate.

"I was told this morning at BP oil that they was hiring 50 commercial vessels to go off and handle this oil spill.  That seems like a lot of oil for 50 boats to handle.  I think they need 550 boats, 1,000 boats.  Whatever they can get on they should put on," McAnespy said.

"That is what we are trying to save right there, wildlife.  It might just be a little fiddler crab, but it is something. Redfish will eat that and feed on it.  Sheephead, speckled trout, it is part of the food chain," McAnespy said.

For now the McAnespy's can only wait, their fate adrift with the tide, the wind, the course of the spill.

"There is nothing I would love more than to spend the rest of my life back here.  But I don't see it happening.  I really don't.  Don't see it happening," McAnespy said.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid