Fisherman tries to clear up confusion about local seafood

The blue-green harmful algal bloom has hit the Coast hard and local businesses are feeling the effects.

All beaches in the state of Mississippi are closed due to the toxic algae, but that doesn’t mean local fishermen have taken time off work.

Commercial fisherman Frank Parker said, “I’ve always heard it is a dying industry, but as long as you have local people asking for seafood, we will always have a job. When that is not there, I don’t know what I am going to do.”

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality issued an advisory stating you should not eat any fish or seafood taken from affected areas. This has left a lot of people confused, according to Parker. “Probably 80 percent of my customer base is asking about the algae bloom just because in my 30 years of commercial fishing, we have never had a blue-green algae problem.”

Parker says the commercial fishermen haven’t been told to not catch the fish by officials. He says they do not fish near where the algae blooms are. “All of these advisories are on the beaches. We don’t fish on the beaches. We are required to stay so far offshore and because of the freshwater we have been having, most of the shrimp and fish have been in the offshore waters of the state. So, the areas where the fish are and that we are fishing are not affected by the bloom.”

Parker says that he and his family are eating the seafood, but you should always use common sense before consuming any food. “As long as it is safe to eat, we are going to catch it.”

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