Fishermen Along the Coast Struggle to Maintain

By: Jerry Askin Email
By: Jerry Askin Email

Many fishermen in Franklin County say they had to make several cutbacks after last year's Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but most say they're remaining positive and hopeful for better times ahead.

Aaron Brown is like many oystermen and commercial fishermen who make their living on the water. Nearly a year after one of the largest oil spills along the Gulf of Mexico, many fishermen and shrimpers say their way of life changed.

"If they take oystering away from us, and seafood industry altogether, that takes everything - your whole life," Brown says.

Bruce Millender, who is also an oysterman, says, "We're working about half-speed - we're working about 50 percent of what we could be doing prior to the oil spill."

Dustin Pratt, who also fights to make a living along the water everyday as an oysterman, says business seems to be picking back up, but he still feels the pinch.

"They're cracking down on us harder about our oysters and our seafood and what not because they're worried that there is oil and contamination in our seafood," Pratt says.

Many oystermen along the coast say they're hoping for better times ahead, but they want BP to provide more funding for Florida's seafood industry.

Legislators recently announced that BP has allocated an additional 30 million dollars to help promote tourism in several Northwest Florida counties, but some fishermen say they’re worried about being left high and dry.

"Every little bit helps at this point because the fisherman we've had a tough time in this last year, year and a half dealing with the oil spill," Millender says.

A CBS News investigation has discovered that on the day of the BP oil spill, there were at least 28 other oil spills in the United States that went unreported.


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