Fish kill worries those in the seafood industry

Published: Sep. 5, 2012 at 2:25 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2012 at 8:00 AM CDT
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IBERVILLE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Large amounts of fish kill after hurricanes and large storms is nothing new in southeast Louisiana, but it certainly doesn't make the situation any easier to take for the people that depend on these fish for their livelihoods.

"The fish is just starting to come back here in the bayous after Gustav and now we have this," said Iberville Parish Councilman Louis Kelley.

For Kelley, the images in Bayou Goula speak for themselves.

"The wind blew the limbs in the canal and the leaves are taking oxygen out of the water," Kelley added.

Kelley, who is also a commercial fisherman, can only watch as fish fight for the oxygen-depleted water making its way into the bayou.

"This is some fields that the water is coming out of and it's fresh and the water is not going to last much longer and you'll see all these fish die," Kelley explained.

This scenario is one all too familiar after storms.

"It's not an uncommon thing," said Mike Wood, director of Louisiana Inland Fisheries.

He said steps will be taken to make sure reported fish kills are related to natural causes and nothing more.

"We have a multi-agency response to determine that there is, what the cause is for one thing, and that there is no damage or harm or threat to public safety," Wood added.

While it may be natural causes, the effects can be monumental. An estimated 200 million fish were lost in the Atchafalaya Basin alone after Hurricane Andrew.

The numbers may not come close to that this time around, but it's still disheartening for people like Kelley who depend on these fish for their well being.

"We never like to see fish die. The fish are just starting to come back and we need them. The bait fish, the sport fish and the commercial fish - we need it all," he said.

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