Red Tide Effect on Fishermen

For days, tons of fish have been washing up on Gulf Coast shores, all thanks to the red tide, an event that is not only wreaking havoc on Coast wildlife but also on the pockets of fishermen.
As fishermen along the Coast try their best to make due, News 25’s Bryan Kennedy caught up with one of them to see just how being docked has affected them.
James ‘Catfish’ Miller sits, hands dirty from working on his boat. He says usually he’s out trying to make a living shrimping, crabbing or harvesting oysters but closed reefs due to the red tide have stopped that, a devastating stoppage he says we’re only seeing the beginning of. “Now, the breeder fish that put off offspring have been damaged again. Before long, we won’t have any breeder fish left to have juvenile fish for the future to harvest and to make money on.”
Miller, along with fishermen on the Coast, faces the same fate, sit and wait until they can earn a living again. Although fishermen hands are tied, local distributors have gone out of their way to make sure they can still make a living and serve their customers, even if that means importing seafood from as far as Maryland and Texas. Co-Owner of Desporte and Sons Seafood Market and Deli Sean Desporte said, “We get everything inspected. I’m searching to get seafood out of different areas where everyone knows that they’re safe eating the seafood."
Boats remain docked as the reef remains closed. While the algae blooms have been to blame for the red tide, Miller says the blame goes much further than that, especially since all these problems didn’t start until five years ago. “I’ve been fishing since I was four-years-old,” said Miller, “I don’t think the temperature of the water has anything to do with this disaster. I think it’s time for the oil to release off the bottom after it’s been over five years since the Deepwater Horizon blew up.”
Miller says you can chalk him up as a disgruntled fisherman, he’s heard that before, but it’s up to the state government to look past that to use the millions from the BP Restoration Fund to help them. “We’re not welfare cases. We’re not looking for handouts. We just want to be compensated to make it through life until something better comes along for us,” said Miller.
Desporte and Sons encourages customers to keep returning. They plan to always make sure their food is safe and good to eat.

Categories: Local News, News

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