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Ycloskey crabbers continue to struggle after oil spill

Published: May. 27, 2012 at 3:07 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2012 at 11:10 PM CDT
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Ycloskey, LA - Chris Battle has been crabbing on Lake Borgne for years, but this year he says that he is in trouble.

"I had no problems before the spill feeding my family and paying all of my bills. Now sometimes I pay my bills late because I have to wait until I get the money, it's rough," says Battle.

Crabbers are having to leave their traps out for days and even then, the harvest is slim.

"It's just an industry that's on the verge of collapse," says Battle.

They blame the dispercent that was used to break up the oil after the April 2010 spill. But not only are they scarce, crabbers are noticing spots and holes on the crabs.

Harlon Pearce, Chairman of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, addressed the issue today from the packed 20th annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, where Louisiana seafood is a star. Pearce says it's too early to determine exactly what has led to those empty traps.

"When it comes to seafood, we'll have to see by the end of the year what happens. We're always going to go through a transition period after an event like this. So let's just let things happen, let's see where they are. We'll have to see how this whole picture unfolds by the end of summer and winter," says Pearce.

Crabbers say they may not be able to hold on that long.

"I think the crabbing industry is coming to a complete stop, we can't feed our families," says Battle.