Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Sunday, 9 May 2010 12:51 UK

Louisiana residents on oil slick

A starfish washes ashore off the coast of Lousiana

Residents in Louisiana have been describing how the oil spill is affecting them.

A sheen of oil began arriving on barrier islands off the coast of Louisiana last week, and crews have been laying inflatable booms, spraying chemical dispersants and setting fire to the slick to try to keep it from coming ashore.

Despite these efforts fears are growing that sea life may have been severely affected in the area.


Matt from Venice, Louisiana
Matt O'Brien says people working in the fishing industry are anxious

I am in the fishing industry: I am two weeks off completing a brand new shrimp dock. Boats will land here, sell their shrimp to me and I sell them on. I am finishing my project as if there is no oil and I will wait and see what happens.

If they can hold the oil where it is now, I think we can salvage the season. If it gets west of South West Pass, that is trouble. Eighty five percent of the total seafood is in that area.

Everyone is anxious. The fishermen don't know if this is a short term distraction or if it will destroy the seafood industry for generations.

When this first happened, they panicked and opened the season early. Then they closed it. They are going to open it again on Monday, but I think the shrimp are still too small and they should wait another week or two.

BP has been training local fishermen to go out and work with their vessels, to help clean and contain the oil spill. The guys who are trained are not getting called up, so they are starting to feel this might be a dog and pony show just to placate them.

BP does not want these vessels more than 10 miles out and the oil has not got close enough to warrant that yet.

So far there has been no contamination of shrimp, that is the important thing. The biggest danger is if we give the wrong impression and suggest the fishing is damaged when it isn't.

So, keep buying Louisiana fish!


Shrimp on sale in New Orleans, Louisiana
"The Gulf feeds everyone in America with its seafood" Demian Weidenhaft

Since last Friday, we have had a terrible stench floating through the city on and off. It comes from the crude oil itself as well as the by-products associated with it.

It is not as strong as it was last week, that was the remnants of the burn off they did.

I have lived here all 34 years of my life. New Orleans is wonderful at this time of year.

At night it is still cool enough to be bearable. The oak trees radiate their heat and the jasmine flowers give out their scent, creating this wonderful, comforting, exotic smell. Instead there is this chemical stench invading it.

I have two uncles who are fishermen. A few days ago lawyers visited and asked them to sign waivers limiting future damages. Two days later the Attorney General said any waivers already signed were not valid.

The Gulf feeds everyone in America with its seafood; we are so productive. If that is over, you will have thousands of people with nothing to do with their lives.


Being from an area finally just recovering from Katrina, this is a big blow to our economy as a state. I remember the Exxon-Valdez tragedy as a child. Now I'm experiencing something similar from an adult perspective. There is a lot of blame to go around, for everyone. I hope, and pray that we learn from this and don't forget the things that have happened.
Alessa, New Orleans, Louisiana

A controlled fire from a sunken oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico
A controlled fire from a sunken oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico

On Saturday evening around sunset, the wind blowing from the west off the Gulf of Mexico had a strong smell, like roof shingles burning. Now the west wind has a strong chemical oil smell, somewhat like diesel fuel. We are approximately 300 miles away from the spill site and I'm worried about the possibility of a hurricane making this mess worse.
Terry D, Clearwater Beach, Florida

For Americans to wish for a ban on offshore drilling is simply another example of the "not in my backyard" problem. Americans use oil-derived products daily, but no one wants an oil rig off their coast. Why not use this opportunity to push for "greener" energy, greater fuel efficiency, and using innovative ways to acquire and store electricity?
Chris D, St. Louis

The question is now: Do all current offshore platforms have emergency sea bed shut off valves, and do they work? It seems to me Congress should act to require confirmation they do, or shut all operations down till they all prove they have an emergency shut off.
Bruce Patrick, Banning, California

In some way we are all responsible for this accident. The incessant need for more and more commodities, such as oil, gas, coal to feed an ever increasing human population all comes at a cost.
Ervin Raab, Los Angeles, USA

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