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Apr 27, 2010 7:33 PM by Kate Mundy

Seafood Indusry Worries as Oils Nears Coast

More than four million gallons of crude oil could spill into the Gulf of Mexico, before crews can get a relief well drilled at the site of a sunken oil rig. The leak continues to spew out 42-thousand gallons per day.

As the spill worsens, many fear the Louisiana oyster and shrimping industry will be wiped out. The U.S. Coast Guard says efforts have failed to shut off the flow of crude a mile beneath the water's surface. Robot subs are still working on it.

Tuesday, the sheen was 100 miles wide and 45 miles long and creeping closer to shore. The latest map showed the oil just 20 miles from the Louisiana coast. Fishermen worry that the wind will move the sheen west and right into the areas they catch shrimp and harvest oysters.

Fourth generation Delcambre shrimper Byron Daigle fears for his livelihood. "They need to get this under control," he said. Daigle says shrimping wouldn't recover for years, if oil gets into the marshes.

"We'll be devastated from this, it'll finish it off," said Daigle. Right now all he can do, is sit and wait.

Jimmie Dupre operates the T-Turbo out of Delcambre. He hasn't faced something like this in his 52 years of shrimping. "It's gonna kill everything, oysters, shrimp, fish, crabs. If it does make it to the beach, it's gonna wipe us out," he said.

There's a sense of nervousness just down the Highway 14 at Shucks in Abbeville, where Grand Isle oysters are a staple and gulf shrimp is always on the table.

"Right now you might not have a direct impact on it, but within months or a year to come, if they don't take care of it pretty quick, it could affect us pretty hard," said restaurant co-owner Bert Istre. Businesses might be forced to raise prices and sell out of state seafood.

BP said 49 vessels including oil skimmers, tugboats, barges and special recovery boats that separate oil from water, are working to round up the oil.

Meanwhile, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry said crews may set fires to burn off the oil. The burn would be done far offshore and could happen as soon as Wednesday.

The oil would be trapped in special containment booms and set on fire. A similar burn off the coast of Newfoundland years ago eliminated more than 50 percent of captured oil.

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