Oil spill meeting in Abbeville

By Adam Hooper - bio | email

ABBEVILLE, LA (KPLC) - Many of the men and woman responsible for a large portion of the nation's seafood industry have questions. Today they got some answers. The United States Coast Guard, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and B.P. were just a few of the agencies on hand at a meeting in Abbeville.

For many people in Louisiana, the water is a way of life. But, with each day that passes, they become more and more uncertain if work will come.

"Well, right now it's affecting us with the opening and closing, opening and closing," said Wayne Miller.

Much of the conversation focused around Vessels of Opportunity. This program trains area fishermen on how to take part in the cleanup. While they are not able to fish, B.P. will pay them to help. Many have signed up, but it appeared as if few have been put use.

"For every fishing boat there is ten private industry people working, that already have jobs. They take our jobs, and we can't go out and do cleanup," said Adley Dyson.

Despite many saying their call to help has been slow, B.P. said if you are put on standby, you will be paid each day, even if your boat never leaves the dock.

"They really want to go out there and do something. And, we want them to do something. But, we have to work with in the Coast Guard system, and the plans that are set forth by the parishes, so that we don't make the problem worse by having an unsafe situation on the water," said B.P. Spokesman, Glenn DaGian.

When it comes to lost wages, due to no work, B.P. said there is no limit on how many claims a business can file. They urge people not to wait, but to file as soon as possible.

Most of the fishermen and shrimpers that talked to 7 News said they are less worried about filing a claim, and more concerned with cleaning up the mess.

"I don't think enough is being done about the actual cleanup. Why let it hit us," said Adley Dyson.

"This will destroy us. It's not a matter of fact of if it will. It will," said Wayne Miller.

"There is too much emphasis on all of the handouts. The people don't want a handout. They want to work. They want their coast," said Preston Doren.

BP New Claims: (800) 440-0858

Follow up Claims: (800) 573-8249

Vessels of Opportunity: (281) 366-5511

Wildlife Distress Hotline: (866) 557-1401

Small Business Administration www.sba.gov

Copyright 2010 KPLC. All rights reserved.