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

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

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds 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