News / USA

Oil Spill Halts Fishing off US Coast of Gulf of Mexico

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid