With oyster populations already down because of Hurricane Ike in 2008, Texas fisherman say the BP oil spill may wipe out oyster harvesting entirely.
Usually, Texas and Louisiana both have summer seasons, during which fishermen dredge for oysters on state-owned leases, but the BP spill has halted much of the Louisiana summer harvest. Texas’ bays have been fished especially hard to make up the difference.
“We’re going to be out of oysters by the end of the month,” said Lisa Halili, vice president of Prestige Oyster. “We were just seeing a comeback from Ike. Now we’re being attacked by BP.”
The Reuters Environment Forum blog has an interesting insider’s account about how the BP oil spill is affecting fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Ed Stoddard writes that 25 percent of the Gulf of Mexico is now closed to fishermen. But some recreational fishing guides are still taking clients out to fish.
Several of the guides I spoke to said there were still inshore areas open to fishing though one said, “We have to work harder for the fish because the good areas we normally go to are closed.” Some grumbled that the media coverage was obscuring this fact.
Guide Jeff Fuscia , while loading his 24-foot (7-1/2 meter) boat onto a trailer, told me on Friday his clients that morning had taken their limit of five redfish each and had released several more. But another guide told me while fueling up his large boat that he was going out 130 miles (215 kms) to get well beyond the restrictions.