There is little doubt that there will be some impact to our local shrimp industry say those in the know. Gerald Pack, who owns Safe Harbor Seafood Market and Restaurant, the last remaining fish house in Mayport, says that if the oil from the blown oil platform in the Gulf makes it to Florida’s east coast, it will have a definite impact. Even if the oil doesn’t make it here, the oil spill tragedy will have an impact. That’s because shrimpers in the Gulf will likely find themselves migrating to the east coast of Florida to practice their trade. “They can come to our coast and fish,” he tells the Florida Times-Union. In Louisiana, the shrimping season began just before the oil platform exploded April 20th. In Mayport, the rock shrimp season will begin in June which likely will lure shrimpers here. Fair to say if the oil spill does head to our area it will devastate Mayport and its only industry right at the prime production time. In the meantime, a judge has ruled that Florida and the rest of the U.S. can join in a consortium of groups from six states. The Gulf Oil Disaster Recovery Group plans a class-action against BP on behalf of Gulf and Atlantic shrimpers and fishermen.
The Gulf Oil Disaster Recovery Group was the first to announce that the BP cofferdam experiment had failed and they could not control the oil leaking from the wellhead. BP itself had downplayed the truth and has issued conflicting press releases. Many experts are saying that we are on a verge of a catastrophe in the Gulf since even BP has admitted that 60,000 barrels a day could be flowing into the Gulf waters. That is the equivalent of a Valdez-type of leak every week in the Gulf.
As of Sunday night, May 9, Florida oil spill disaster lawyers have been aware along with several other concerned citizens that the spill is traveling west as the ruptured well 98-ton containment chamber hit a snag when there was buildup of gas which delayed efforts to put the containment device over the rupture. At least 5,000 barrels of oil a day are still gushing unchecked into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded killing 11 crew members. The first tar balls were found by beachgoers on Dauphin Island, Alabama, Saturday, although it is not certain if the oil came from the recent Gulf spill.