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 Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More