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Gulf fishing industry still reeling from effects of BP oil spill May 24,2012   |  Source: AP

Gloom infects the hard-working shrimp and crab docks of this gritty fishing town as the second full year of fishing since BP's catastrophic oil spill kicks into high gear.

Usually folks are upbeat and busy in May, when shrimpers get back to work in Louisiana's rich waters. This spring, though, catches are down, docks are idle and anxiety is growing that the ill effects of the massive BP oil spill may be far from over.

An Associated Press examination of catch data from last year's commercial harvest along the Gulf - the first full year of fishing since the 2010 spill - reveals merit in the fishermen's complaints. According to the analysis of figures obtained through public records requests, seafood crops hit rock bottom in the Barataria estuary, the same place where some of the thickest waves of oil washed in when a BP well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.

Detailed data from "trip tickets" fishermen fill out when they unload at docks reveal steep drops in Barataria, though it's far from bleak everywhere along the Gulf Coast. Fishermen are making money that is pretty equal to before the spill, according to the 2011 data not officially released yet by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Part of the reason is that though the fishermen aren't hauling in as much, prices

 

© 2012 KRIS and Synapse

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