News / USA

Oil Spill Halts Fishing off US Coast of Gulf of Mexico

U.S. officials have suspended fishing in most waters affected by a massive oil spill from a sunken off-shore rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Concerns about the oil's impact on fish and other wildlife are mounting.

Officials say the fishing restrictions will hold for 10 days as scientists study the effects of the oil spill on commercial seafood in the Gulf of Mexico.  The areas under the suspension include waters off the coasts of southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the panhandle of Florida.

The spill, caused by the sinking of an oil rig, comes shortly before the start of the fishing season for crab, shrimp and oysters.  The fishing industry in Louisiana is responsible for about a third of all seafood caught in the United States.  And fishermen in the southeastern town of Venice say they stand to lose a great deal.

Dozens of fishermen gathered at a Venice school on Sunday to meet with representatives of BP America, the firm that operates the underwater well.  BP is hiring local fishing boats to help in oil clean-up efforts.

Richard Williamson, who captains a shrimp boat, says he has not fished this season, so he needs to work with BP. "We haven't had a chance to get out yet.  That's why we're hoping to get my boat hired here so it won't be a whole waste.  The next three to four months are shrimp season time," he said.

Williamson says the details of the fishing boat program are unclear - when the program will start, what fishermen will be asked to do and how they will be paid.  Williamson says he worries there were more fishermen at the meeting than BP might be willing to hire. "They haven't said, but there are rumors going around saying 30 boats they might hire.  Thirty boats out of all these people.  So the ones that don't get hired, I don't know what they're going to do."

Bad weather has hampered efforts to send out boats to clean-up the oil spill and monitor the effects of oil on wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico.

Wildlife officials say that in addition to fish, bird populations are at serious risk of being poisoned by the oily water.  Bird rescue groups have set up four facilities along the Gulf, including one near Venice, to treat contaminated birds.

Jay Holcomb, the director of the International Bird Rescue Research Center, says they have seen only one bird so far - a northern gannet that was brought in on Saturday. "We only know of this one bird.  And because of the weather, we don't have crews out looking for them; it's just not safe," he said.

Holcomb says the facility near Venice is prepared to handle up to 200 birds per day.  The challenge will be finding them in the vast spill and sending boats to rescue them.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid