Florida Wildlife Federation Holds Sportsman’s Roundtable in Apalachicola

“We gathered the people whose livelihoods depend on the Gulf’s health and heard that there many who are still feeling the ripple effects of the oil disaster,” said Jay Liles of Florida Wildlife Federation

12-03-2010 // Jon Brett
Gulf of Mexico catch

On the six-month anniversary of the Gulf oil disaster, the Florida Wildlife Federation teamed up with the Apalachicola Riverkeeper to sponsor a Sportsman’s Roundtable in Apalachicola, FL on October 20. The event was designed to draw in commercial and recreational fisherman, guides, and oysterman to discuss post-spill restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico following the worst man made environment disaster in U.S. history.

“We gathered the people whose livelihoods depend on the Gulf’s health and heard that there many who are still feeling the ripple effects of the oil disaster,” said Jay Liles of Florida Wildlife Federation. “A center piece of the discussion was the need for the U.S. Senate to act on the Clean Energy and Oil Company Accountability Act of 2010.”

Participants were encouraged to discuss their concerns, as well as outline how they would like to see restoration efforts handled.

One concerned fisherman noted that while NOAA has opened almost all of the closed fishing areas in the Gulf of Mexico, oil is being discovered on the seafloor in large quantities, and he believes that poses a significant threat to continue his line of work that’s been part of his family for generations.

While Apalachicola’s fishery never experienced the worst of the disaster, many of the area’s fishermen fear that it’s still too early to know the true state of affairs.

Another local fisherman commented that while the seafood testing has showed positive signs, there are still many crabs being found with oil under their shells and that’s bound to work its way up the food chain.

In the end, the roundtable was a great success because it gathered valuable input from the individuals who depend on a healthy Gulf of Mexico to make a living. These sorts of grassroots events are critical to NWF’s paramount goal of “safeguarding America’s wildlife and wild places” following disasters of this magnitude because they provide priceless information regarding how the NWF can ensure that the critical habitat is restored.

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