Thursday, July 08, 2010

Surviving the Oil Spill

Louisiana Seafood Board Newsroom


A Gulf Fisherman Speaks Out About Surviving the Oil Spill
Posted: 07 Jul 2010 10:01 PM PDT
Pete Gerica is 57-years-old and has fished the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Portchartrain, north of New Orleans, all his life. As a 3rd generation southern Louisiana fisherman, there is determined grit in his words when asked about the massive BP oil gusher in the Gulf and pride in his profession as an independent Louisiana fisherman.

Gerica’s keenly aware of public concern over seafood safety but he points out that Louisiana seafood is under more testing scrutiny and inspections than any other seafood in America, and far more carefully checked than the significant influx of seafood from unregulated foreign sources.

Gernica has been catching drum fish in Gulf waters in recent weeks that are open to fishermen and has not seen or heard of fish tainted by oil.

Peter Gerica believes the lack of usual availability of fish and shellfish from Louisiana is attributed to restrictions on fishing, and that’s led to a false perception about quality.

While millions gallons of oil have poured into the Gulf of Mexico, Gerica steers away from anything that might sound promotional or self-serving. He talks about the research that is being done by scores of scientists and marine biologists and prefers to stick with the facts.

There is currently a significant shortage, he says, of wild caught seafood from Louisiana due to Gulf fishing waters being closed for precautionary reasons, and not – he emphasizes – because of any pollution of seafood. Louisiana fishing waters are a main source for America.

Gerica believes the lack of usual availability of fish and shellfish from Louisiana has shortages and that’s led to a false perception about quality.
Furthermore, he points out that tar balls in the water – now making for sensational media coverage – are nothing new. Tar balls have been seen on beaches and in Gulf and ocean waters for generations … and, as long as anyone can remember. Many come from natural oil leakage in the ocean floor, he says.

Gerica and his wife lost everything five years ago during Hurricane Katrina, including three fishing boats. They nearly died after being swept into a tree. He rebuilt and takes pride in the quality of fish and shrimp he catches, when available, and says that he’ll survive the BP oil spill … even though the end is not yet in sight today.

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