David Ballay: “FRUSTRATION BUILDS”

May 26, 2010

Optimism is fast becoming a bygone emotion. Fishermen and business owners along the Louisiana Gulf Coast have now realized that the disaster affecting our communities may be here with us for many days, months, or even years to come.

The Captains wait in limbo not knowing if they’ll be able to continue to provide for their families by harvesting the seafood from our waters. Charter Boat Captains are not getting any phone calls from prospective customers. They (the customers) are all afraid that when they get to Louisiana the areas will be closed to fishing. Businesses such as restaurants, repair facilities, bait shops, and sporting good stores all feel the effect of the waters being closed.

The clean-up operations have become a total disaster. Oil has bypassed the booms that BP has deployed and clean-up on the shoreline and the marsh reminds me of the old analogy of the highway department; (one man working and 5 watch) except in this case its one working and 10 watching. The opinion of local Parish and State leaders is that BP and our National leaders need to listen to the people that know our needs; know our marshes, and know how and where to fight the encroaching waves of oil. As in any undertaking, “LOCAL KNOWLEDGE” is the first thing that should be exploited.

As you can see even my “Positive Attitude” has taken a down turn. What can I think when observers tell me that crews working 8 hour clean-up shifts hardly do 4 hours of work; safety meetings, debriefings, travel time to locations, mandatory breaks, and early departures makes everyone wonder would farmers, fishermen, and business people be able to keep our economy running if we had work schedules like this.

I still have a positive attitude, but now I am positive BP and our Federal response is not doing what needs to be done to keep our marshes a viable estuary system.

DAVE BALLAY
VENICE MARINE AND OUTDOOR CONSULTANT
On behalf of the Recreational and Commercial Fishermen of South Louisiana

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