People in Chauvin express fear over spotted oil

By Keitha Nelson - bio | email

CHAUVIN, LA (WAFB) - The oil leak is having a big impact on fishing communities along the Louisiana coast.

Oil was spotted in Chauvin Sunday night. People there now fear their entire way of life is in jeopardy. The water in Little Calliou Bayou in Terrebonne Parish is murky. It's never been crystal clear, but there's something people in Chauvin have dreaded seeing.

"We noticed the sheen," said Donnie Ruiz. "It looked like spaghetti in the water."

While fishing in Little Calliou Sunday evening, Ruiz noticed spots of oil gliding in the bayou. Wildlife and Fisheries agents say that's the kind of thing they've seen in the past right before heavy oil rolls in.

"I called 911. I figured 911 would give me somebody," said Ruiz.

Ruiz said he was transferred from one agency to another and eventually spoke with someone from BP. He said the person took down his information, but that was about it.

"We have a lot of people down here who are right at the poverty level. This water is their job," Ruiz explained.

Little Calliou Bayou has not been closed off to fishing, at least not yet, though several other areas have been closed to fishing. While on a boat with Wildlife and Fisheries agents on Robinson Canal, Lt. Chad Hebert pointed out the closure sites.

"We are sitting on the open/close line right now, which is 29 degrees, 21 minutes" said Hebert. "Everything to my right is all closed to commercial and recreational fishing. Everything on my left is open."

Hebert is a self-proclaimed bayou boy. On a daily basis, he sees the trickling down affects of doing his job by regulating access to certain waterways.

"It affects everybody in the state, from the guys who are selling bait to the guys who are selling fuel, commercial and recreational fishermen," Hebert added.

Wildlife and Fisheries is reportedly aware of the oil spotted in Little Calliou Bayou and agents are currently evaluating the situation.

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