Angry oyster fishermen turned out this morning to meet with State Senator Blade Morrish.Morrish is sponsoring a bill to correct what he says was a mistake on his part last year-- the limit on oyster permits.
And the state senator told fishermen he's committed to making things better for them.
Last year oyster fishers protested the limit on permits-- only 126 were issued and they felt it wasn't fair.
In a meeting with oyster fishermen State Senator Dan "Blade" Morrish apologized and explained his bill that will give everyone an equal chance to fish. He responded to questions."Your wife has one boat and you have one boat?" The fisherman explained, "No she has two and I got three to be exact." Said Morris, "You can get one vessel, one person, one permit. Okay? If you have three other boats you can have someone with a permit operating those boats as long as they have a permit."
This year the sack limit was ten per day-- if more people fish the sack limit could be reduced. But Morrish explained, "Wildlife and Fisheries controls that. That's completely out of my hands or yours."
The oyster fishermen, most of whom catch other seafood too, gave him an earful. Shouted one man on the back row, "What we need is some help in here for people to pay their bills."
They disagree with the way it's decided whether to close oyster season. Said one fishermen, "Instead of doing the permits they should have went where all of us could fish for four months instead of just a few fish for seven. But they don't ask us nothing." Another added, "Nobody listens to us. Nobody asks us what we think, what we need to do in our own backyard."
And there are other issues. "And if it's not from dispersant and BP like they're saying, then why is all this water running and these oysters are dead?" asked one woman.
Morrish said he is confident his bill will pass and says he is committed to making things better. "We need to band together as a Calcasieu Oyster Task Force, meet like we're meeting today, have Wildlife & Fisheries here with Mike, with Ag Center, and the Department of Health and Hospitals and DEQ and get our facts together so I can bring those and I can represent you and do a better job than I did last year," said the state senator.
For a link to Senate Bill 202 click here.