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Shrimpers fear impacts of Morganza Spillway opening

Posted at 6:42 PM, May 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-30 19:42:05-04

Despite the change in the Morganza Spillway’s opening date, shrimpers fear a major impact on their industry.

They say the flood water is hurting their livelihood.

Shrimpers in Cypremort Point are not worried about rising water. They’re more concerned about polluted flood water.
They say runoff from fertilizer up north and other debris is diminishing the quality of water.

“There’s hardly no shrimp at all, no salt water fish, no crabs, no oysters,” said Thomas Olander. “All of that is totally gone away with.”

Olander is a 40-year-shrimper. He and his family own Vermilion Bay Seafood.
He says this season has been a total loss.

“We’ve been having this shrimp dock in our family business since 1971. It’s a 48 year old dock,” said Olander. “This is the first year we’ve had it and never had it open on at the opening of shrimp season. Never brought a shrimp here yet this year.”

His brother Rodney Olander said, “Our salinity content is at 0.03 you can’t get any fresher than that.”

The Olander brothers say the freshwater is creating an even bigger dead zone.
They’re afraid the Morganza opening will make the issue worse.

“There’s a real good possibility we will lose our fall season too,” said Rodney. “It’s going to be devastating for our fishermen.”

UL geology professor Gary Kinsland says though fishermen are feeling the impacts of dead zones, there are some advantages.

“How we do have such strong fisheries is because this sort of thing comes down these rivers,” said Kinsland “A lot of nutrients, a lot of sediments, and organic material. We’ve been reaping the benefits.”

The shrimpers we spoke with say in the coming weeks they plan to have an industry meeting to continuing discussing the need for relief and the dead zones they’re facing.