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Grand Isle seafood workers desperate for work a year after the spill

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Posted: Apr 19, 2011 6:50 PM by Russell Jones, Stephanie Ryan
Updated: Apr 19, 2011 6:50 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: grand isle, fishermen, gulf, year, later, defending our coast, seafood, wbrz, louisiana

GRAND ISLE - Some fishermen in the Grand Isle area say the year since the Gulf oil spill has been like "a living hell".

Over at Dean's Seafood Processing, hundreds of shrimpers used to bury the conveyor belts with shrimp. Now, workers spend their days cleaning, the belts idle while they wait for work.

"It's getting to where we're running out of work," said Robert Armand, who's employed at the plant.

Owner Dean Blanchard said the oil's not just in the back of their minds: it's visible every day.

"Every time a boat comes in and its propeller hits the bottom, oil comes up," he said.

Blanchard's operation has received about a million dollars from BP payouts, but he claims their losses are estimated at up to $80 million in sales. He said he's only getting ten percent of what he normally does because many fishermen aren't even going out, worried their current BP payments will stop.

To make ends meet, Blanchard says they're in "survival mode", cutting back on everything including ice to keep the shrimp they do process fresh.

With little seafood and less money coming in, Blanchard says that he worries things will never return to normal in Grand Isle.

"I feel like 30 years of my life's been for nothin', because BP don't know how to run a business," he said. "Who would've thought someone could ruin your whole life?"

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