Edward J. Markey
Subcommittee on Energy and Environment
I have taken a moment to outline the major concerns I have as an independent seafood business owner from Grand Isle, La., regarding the effects of the BP oil spill.
1) If a seafood product is put onto the market and is later determined to have made the consumer ill because of oil and/or dispersant contamination, who will be determined to be the responsible party?
2) Our commercial shrimpers and fishermen are hesitant to fuel up their boats, buy ice and oil and salt because they believe that the open waters will soon be closed once more, or that they will find oil contaminated seafood which will have to be disposed of. It is difficult for an out of work fisherman to pay for these expenses without the confidence in the government, who dictates the openings and closures and without the confidence in BP’s press releases which state that virtually all of the “recoverable” oil has been “recovered”.
3) Regarding public perception of our seafood in the Gulf of Mexico: The public sees portions open to fishing and shrimping as well as portions closed to fishing and shrimping. They ask me why this is if all the seafood is deemed safe to eat. Also they are concerned with the food chain, for example, commercial harvesting of crabs and oysters in most areas are still prohibited. If a crab dies, fish feed off of it. Whatever killed that crab has now been consumed by the fish, and so it goes on.
4) We are having a difficult time locating insurance companies who will sell product liability insurance on Gulf seafood to us. We have never had product liability insurance before because there was never a need for it.
5) In summary, we in the seafood industry have very little trust in our government and we feel as though our government has done more to help BP than it has to help the impacted businesses and people of the Gulf Coast. We want to know what you can do to change this perception.
Dean P. Blanchard
195 CYPRESS LANE P.O. BOX 1 GRAND ISLE, LA. 70358