Rising Mississippi worries fishermen

Monday, May 9, 2011 - 5:02pm

More bad news for Louisiana fishermen. Just as the shrimping season is about to get started, inland crabbers and shrimpers say they flood waters could destroy their business this year. This is on the heels of a disasterous season last year because of the BP oil spill.

It seems like Louisiana fishermen just can't catch a break. "Nobody's 100 percent. Then the oil came and put another nail in the coffin almost, and now, we've got the fresh water," says Pete Gerica, President of the Lake Pontchartrain Fishermen's Association.

The Bonnet Carre Spillway is open. That means a rush of fresh water will flow into the Pontchartrain Basin, pushing profits further out to sea. The shrimp, crabs, and fish will move to saltier areas and the fishermen will be forced to follow. With fuel at nearly four dollars a gallon, that's not going to be easy.

"The cost to there and to get back might just be too much," says Gerica. "You ain't going to go out there and work for nothing."

Experts say production could go down by 25 or 35 percent. "I really think its going to hurt the fisheries big time in the Pontchartrain basin," says Gerica.

The rising river may lead to unchartered waters. "We've never had this before, so we don't know what the outcome is going to be," he says.

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