Local Fishermen Along the Coast Are Seeing No Signs of a Comeback

By: Jerry Askin Email
By: Jerry Askin Email
Local fishermen along the coast say they

Staff Photo: Jonathan Phillips
Fishing pro Brian Travis casts his line as his co-angler Chuck Rounds waits for a bite at Lake Lanier during the first day of the Forrest Wood Cup on Thursday. Travis and Rounds are two of 78 fishermen competing in the four-day tournament.

Local fishermen along the coast say they're still not seeing any signs of a comeback. Some say they're continuing to see a significant decline in the amount of fish they catch - and that's how they make their living.

Some fisherman along the coast say their way of living has changed and the aftermath of the oil spill is to blame. Now, nearly ten months after the largest deepwater horizon oil spill along the gulf, some say they're still struggling to survive.

Larry Ritchie is like many commercial fishermen along the coast who depend on fishing to make ends meet.

He says, "We're all having problems. Anybody that makes a living on the water, we're all being hurt right now."

But some say for the past few months their way of life has changed drastically - and they're pointing the finger at the effects of the oil spill.

commercial fisherman Mike Hampton says, "It's our way of life, we love doing it, that's why we do it."

Ritchie says, "Usually I would average about 300, 400 or 500 pounds on a three day trip, in the areas that I've been fishing, but catching three fish my last trip is way down."

Many boats are practically just lined up on the shore now.... that's because the fisherman say they can't afford to go out on trips and come back with nothing.

Commercial fisherman Jerry Luke says, "I've caught more crabs last year in one day than I've caught this whole season, so that goes to tell you that soemthing's wrong."

A marine biologist in Panacea says the oil that rolled in along the coast killed a lot of the the food supply for the fish, but it's not the only factor.

Jack Rudloe says, "It's been a very cold year, but we've had cold years before... But if we go out there now, drop a net, we're not going to catch many fish at all."

Ritchie says, "It's a problem, it's a big problem, and it's a lot of people who are hurting."

Many of these fishermen have filed claims and are still waiting for a check from BP.

For now, they are remaining optimistic and hoping that they can get back on the water soon and make their money how they enjoy doing it .

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  • by Cathy Location: Tallahassee on Feb 17, 2011 at 11:02 AM
    We know people are still hurting from the oil spill; call the Oil Spill Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 for someone to talk to, 24/7. All calls are free and confidential. Or text ‘talkwithus’ to 66746, standard messaging & data rates apply.
  • by County Girl on Feb 16, 2011 at 03:45 PM
    The waters have been damaged beyond our imagination. All BP has done is throw some money out and then it dropped out of the daily news. It's still out there folks. THEY know that it will take decades maybe longer to repair the damage done bu that spill. We're just seeing the start of it ! The bottom feeders, fish bait, and such will be gone or are almost all gone now, the bigger fish will leave for untainted waters. The dead zone of the GULF just increased by who knows how many square miles ? What a shame. It will never be the same.
  • by brad Location: st.marks on Feb 16, 2011 at 08:24 AM
    its about time this was back in the local media keep doing more on this disaster
  • by tom Location: madison on Feb 16, 2011 at 08:08 AM
    These same fishermen were on the news before the BP explosion complaining times were tough.....sounds to me they are looking for a scapegoat and some free money
  • by Jean Location: Tallahassee on Feb 15, 2011 at 06:26 PM
    I never saw oil "rolling in" along the coast in Franklin or Wakulla counties. I was at Bald Point, Alligator Point, or St. Marks NWR every weekend throughout the summer. However, I suspect that there was oil out in Apalachee Bay and that dispersants were being sprayed, because there was often a strange smell early in the morning.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 15, 2011 at 05:14 PM
    I knew it. Once BP got the oil stopped they pretty much disappeared. I don't think the worst has reached us yet. With all the oil sinking and the dispersants the entire food chain has been ruined for years to come.
  • by J Location: Wakulla on Feb 15, 2011 at 04:33 PM
    haha can not believe wctv actually interviewed jack rudloe for this. that dude is CRAZY
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