Fishermen discuss Bonnet Carre spillway opening: ‘It’s a disaster.’

The second opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway has been a hot topic here on the Coast. The freshwater being pushed into the Mississippi Sound from there makes the water unlivable for marine life.

Tonight, Coast residents gathered at the D’Iberville Town Green to voice their concerns and hear from experts.

Michael Fournier has been a commercial fisherman in Biloxi for 32 years. The fresh water that is being pushed into the Mississippi Sound from the Bonnet Carre Spillway is affecting fishermen like Fournier in a big way — some even say they have to drive for hours to get to water with high salinity. “I have a small boat so I can’t go way out. I have to stay in here close, so it affects me.”

Fournier joined many other fishermen and concerned citizens on Thursday night in D’Iberville to hear from a panel of experts on the situation. Retired fisherman Ronald Ferrell said, “There is nothing. Nothing, zero. Every time they open that spillway it is months and months before our water clears up and we start catching fish again. It’s a disaster.”

Ferrell was a commercial fisherman all his life and now he fishes recreationally. He says he is worried for his fellow fishermen. “It affects the livelihood pretty bad. Money gets really tight. It is really hard on the families.”

Biloxi City Councilwoman Dixie Newman organized the meeting. She says she wants Louisiana to step up and realize what they are doing to these fishermen. “We understand the situation in Louisiana and what they are facing with flooding, but it seems like they are not taking into consideration how it is affecting us negatively, especially the long-term effects we are now experiencing.”

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