“Thank god for BP”:Louisiana fishermen net more cash working for BP

There is always a silver lining – for some.

The FT reports:

The white shrimp season officially began this week in Louisiana, and at this time of year 46-year-old Mr Foret, a hardened Cajun shrimper from Houma in the Mississippi delta, would normally be out on the water plying the trade that has kept him and his family since he was 13. But now that he is a BP contractor through the oil company’s Vessels of Opportunity programme, designed to employ local fishermen in the oil spill clean-up operations, he earns more consistent money, and works a lot less than he used to. “BP is a very nice fella, and this is a guaranteed cheque,” he says, pointing to a huge yellow skin or “bladder” on his boat that is used to collect skimmed oil. “I’m sticking with this for as long as I can.”

Captain Michael Owen, better known as the big “O”, has been doing pretty well out of BP. For the past three months, he and his 24-foot fishing boat have been ferrying clean-up workers to parts of the Gulf affected by the oil spill. As a BP contractor, he does not have to worry about securing charter fishing contracts for small parties of tourists visiting the Mississippi delta, the business he ran until the oil spill. Nor does he have to stress over the pressure to find fish – redfish and speckled trout – for his demanding clients. “I’m super happy with BP,” he says. “And I’m not taking a cut [in pay].”

“It takes you three days to make that charter fishing,” says a charter fisherman from Port Sulphur about 30 miles up the road. “Thank god for BP.”


Gulf Coast Fisherman

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