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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid