It Is Now Safe to Fish in Louisiana…

The state of Louisiana, on a recommendation from the state’s Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, has reopened a majority of state-controlled waters to recreational fishing. This includes sport fishing, shrimping, and crabbing. The recommendation came when “approximately 500 samples of fish, crabs, oysters and shrimp from near shore indicated that they posed no health threat.”

And it looks like the cap that BP put in place is holding, which is some more good news. Many would interpret these events to mean that the worst is behind us, and they might be right. But in my opinion, while the Gulf begins the long return to ‘business as usual’, the damage has already been done.

Louisiana had a 2.4-billion dollar fishing industry: how much of that will remain in 10 years time? Yes, recreational fishermen and charter boat captains and bait fishermen get to go back to work this week, but what about the commercial fishermen? By the time the waters get re-opened to them, how many will still be around to go fishing? And I haven’t even started with the environmental effects of all this oil: in addition to the direct wildlife mortalities, the potential indirect consequences may not be felt for years.

The Gulf of Mexico will never be the same after this horrific event, and that is an important point to keep in mind. Right now, we need to deal with all this spilled oil, and all the lives and livelihoods that it has destroyed. But in the long run, we need to shift our perspective: rather than doing the same old thing until a tragedy like this happens, we NEED to be embracing new methods and technologies to better our world.

Right now, we are treating the symptoms, when we really need to be treating the ailment.

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