Fishermen Tell Secretary Mabus: Reopening Gulf Waters is Unsafe

Blog post by Ada McMahon, 8/10/10, crossposted from Bridge the Gulf (

Today President Obama ate a heaping plate of Gulf shrimp at the White House, in an effort to assure America that the Gulf Coast is open for business.

“We’re excited that fishermen can go back to work and Americans can confidently and safely enjoy Gulf seafood once again,” the President said.

But a group of fishermen from across the Gulf Coast states is speaking up, saying that seafood pulled out of the Gulf now is not safe, and their waters are still filled with oil and toxic dispersants.  These men and women, who depend on harvesting the sea for their survival and way of life, want fishing waters to remain closed until further clean-up and more trustworthy testing is complete.

They suspect that the President has been enjoying shrimp that was caught and frozen before the BP oil and dispersant disaster threatened Gulf waters. This frozen seafood is indeed safe, but reopening the fishing grounds is not.

Mississippi reopened some of its waters for shrimping on August 6th, and Governor Haley Barbour told the Associated Press that seafood caught in the Gulf is safe to eat.

On Saturday, August 7th, these fisherfolk brought their message to the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  Secretary Mabus has been charged by President Obama with developing a long-term recovery plan for the Gulf Coast. He toured the Gulf Coast last week for a series of community listening session to inform that plan.

While Secretary Mabus boasted about the shrimp lunch he had just enjoyed and characterized seafood safety as a “marketing” problem, fisherfolk from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama challenged him.

“Our guys want to be able to go back to work. They’re fishermen!” said Tracy Kuhns of Barataria, Louisiana. “But they don’t want to go out back out there prematurely and bring a product in that is going to make somebody– a family, children, anybody– ill…”

The fishermen’s top three demands are: stop the use of dispersants; don’t open fishing grounds until the seafood is proven safe through better testing; and create new jobs that go to local commercial fishermen first.

That unified message came out of two days of meetings between fishermen and advocates from all five Gulf Coast states earlier in the week.  They first took action together at the Gulf of Mexico Alliance meeting in Biloxi, Mississippi, where Mabus was scheduled to speak but canceled (read Derrick Evans’s blog post to learn more).

Fishermen and Press! If you want to connect with this growing group, please contact:

Tracy Kuhns
Association of Family Fishermen and Louisiana Bayoukeepers
Barataria, Louisiana


Thao Vu
Mercy Housing and Mississippi Coalition for Vietnamese American Fisherfolk and Families
Biloxi, Mississippi

There are also representatives of the group in Alabama, Florida, and Texas that they can connect you to.

Thao and Tracy were recently featured on Bridge the Gulf in two video profiles.  Watch here:

This entry was posted in BP Oil Spill and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Fishermen Tell Secretary Mabus: Reopening Gulf Waters is Unsafe

  1. Bill Kinner says:

    Some claim there is ( no-known) test for residuals in Seafood ( see CNN 360 w/ Anderson Cooper “nightly reports >testing seafood for residuals, the scientist boldly states this< from the Gulf) others disagree ! Access to Louisiana State Health Reports was blocked? CDC reported hundreds of inhalation injuries. Local Hospitals documented each case by category. BP Mobile Clinics were brought to scene? You were requested to use them when seeking treatment ? Google 2-Butoxyethanol & ethylene oxide on New Jerseys "Hazardous Chemical List" see history & all updates. Do you harbor any doubts. The EPA equates it to ketchup on fries. Sen. Whitehouse is concerned ( watch the 2 panel hearings at They held other hearings on dispersants. Then search "Exxon Valsdez" . The original formula for another dispersant "Inipol" EAP22 contained only 10-12 % 2-Butoxyethanol & ethylene oxide. Read all links to this & it's documented effects. COREXIT 9500 & 9527 gather needed attention.
    The COREXIT 9527 they sprayed on the Gulf Spill contained 38% 2-Butoxyethanol) over three times the amount contained in "Inipol EAP 22" sprayed over Prudue Bay! This is a "come to Jesus moment" with EPA Officials & BP. Ask yourself a question: Do I have access to documented injuries or not ? Where was I when the spraying applications ocurred, did they tell me I needed breathing apparatus or skin protection. Is the Seafood Safe , I post , You decide !

  2. Bill Kinner says:

    I refer to COREXIT 9527 & 9500 used in the Gulf of Mexico as “The Agent Orange of 2010″. Lisa Jackson head of the EPA(eviornmental protection agency) testified about dispersants on c-span. At no time did she mention COREXIT 9527, only 9500. The Mississippi Delta farm lady was on a lot of cable stations. Briefly , she was an ” organic farmer” (no chemicals). The winds came out of the Gulf & spray dropletts deposited on the leaves of her crops. She beleives the COREXIT products sprayed over the Gulf drifted inward over land. The dropletts caused burning of leaves wherever they landed. When you review the video you can clearly see a droplett circle & a burn within each. I said enough for now. I hope the two posts raise your renewed investigative interest ? Contact Wilma Subra of Subra Labs. She testified on c-span & resides in Louisiana . She should be non-bias & friendly.

  3. a.w. says:

    This is a profoundly heroic position for the fishermen/women to take! “Bravo and Thank you” for refusing the proposed (and well financed) reality ‘disconnect’; of assured immediate sea food safety.
    If only there was some such selfless human sentiments, regarding so many urgent demands for an immediate end to the offshore deepwater drilling moratorium.

  4. Nice stuff, Just forwarded this on to a coworker who read up on this and she took me to a movie after I gave her this site. So, Thanks!!

  5. Pingback: Shrimp, anyone? « Chronicles of Zostera

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s