Gulf oil spill

GULF OF MEXICO OIL SPILL

Fishermen ready to help in Gulf oil spill clean-up

 

jlembo@bradenton.com

BRADENTON — As perhaps the worst spill in U.S. history keeps spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, local fishermen and businesses are looking to pitch in with the relief effort. “They’re all talking about it — all trying to figure out if there’s something they can go do,” said Karen Bell, office manager for A.P. Bell Fish Co. in the fishing village of Cortez. The oil slick from the explosion of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon has yet to reach the Florida coastline. But with livelihoods and the future of marine life on the line, local boaters are already on alert. Glenn Brooks, president of the Gulf Fishermen’s Association in Clearwater, said he has submitted an e-mail offering the use of more than 200 local fishing vessels, all of which are willing to do whatever is necessary. “We’ve got vessels from small pontoons and skiffs up to 60-foot offshore commercial fishing vessels,” he said. “We’re offering boats and manpower.” Bryan Ibasfalean, vice president of Sunshine Dock & Seawall, a marine construction business out of Cortez, is teaming with A.P. Bell, the Gulf Fishermen’s Association and the Southern Offshore Fishing Association in Madeira Beach by offering eight vessels to the effort. Despite the disaster’s potential effect on the local wildlife, John Moore, manager of the Star Fish Company Market and Restaurant in Cortez, said business hasn’t changed any — much to the surprise of customers. “Some customers have been coming in and saying, ‘You’re not sold out yet?’” Moore said. “Some places in the Panhandle, people said they’re buying a lot of seafood and freezing it.” Russell Rhoden, a 10-year employee at The Cortez Kitchen, said the same thing — though he said The Cortez Kitchen is no longer purchasing oysters from Louisiana, where oil has washed up on shore. If oil does reach the Florida shores, Ibasfalean said the biggest thing is to keep the oil out of the mangrove estuaries — habitats for many organisms. “Everything grows up in there — grouper, snapper, everything,” he said. Capt. Ric Liles, out of Ruskin, agreed, especially since mangrove estuaries have intricate roots. “If the oil gets in the mangroves,” he said, “you won’t be able to get it out like you can clean oil off a beach.” Booms can be used for keeping the estuaries oil-free. These structures would serve as dams, blocking the oil from getting in and contaminating the wildlife. And oil can contaminate wildlife, said Carli Segelson, spokesperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It can be deadly to species such as birds and fish, especially if ingested, including dehydration, irritation to the lining of the mouth and, ultimately, death. Fish reproduction can be hampered by oil, which can also be deadly to sea life such as sea turtles, crustaceans, mollusks and manatees. Ibasfalean said local vessels haven’t been called into action yet, but owners are hoping to organize local staging areas out of Cortez and Anna Maria Island just in case. “As of now, nothing is spreading this way,” he said. “We’re going to wait until we’re called.”

John Lembo, Bradenton Herald sports reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7080, ext. 2097.

Read more Gulf Oil Spill stories from the Miami Herald

  • GULF OF MEXICO

    Decision expected on plug for BP's broken oil well

    Officials could know by early Friday if BP's broken oil well in the Gulf of Mexico has been sealed for good. An analysis of tests on the well done Thursday was scheduled to be completed within 24 hours, letting the federal government and BP PLC know if work last month that was meant to be temporary had the unexpected effect of permanently plugging the gusher.

  • INTERACTIVE | GOOGLE MAP OF THE GULF OF MEXICO

    Click on icons for incident reports

    View Gulf oil spill in a larger map

  • THE GULF OF MEXICO

    Ships ready to leave BP leaky well as storm brews

    ON THE GULF OF MEXICO -- Crew members aboard dozens of ships in the Gulf of Mexico prepared Thursday to evacuate as a tropical rainstorm brewing in the Caribbean brought the deep-sea effort to plug BP's ruptured oil well to a near standstill.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category