Southern Floods Inundate La. Fisheries

Originally published on May 29, 2011 11:42 am
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LIANE HANSEN, Host:

Mike, welcome back to the show.

MIKE VOISIN: Well, thanks for having me, Liane.

HANSEN: So what's the latest with the water that was diverted by the spillway? Where did it all go?

VOISIN: It's coming down the Atchafalaya and out into Lake Pontchartrain. There were two spillways open: the Bonnet Carre on the east side of the Mississippi River and then the Morganza on the west.

HANSEN: How has it affected wildlife and fisheries?

VOISIN: Well, in terms of wildlife what we're seeing is that with the amount of water, the wildlife out there is of course headed to levees and to dry land, and some of it is having to swim and is exhausting itself, and some of it's drowning basically. So we're having to close some of the wildlife management areas for access, so that people don't bother the deer, the bears and things like that.

HANSEN: And how about the fisheries?

VOISIN: With what's going to happen with the opening of the Morganza and the Bonnet Carre, I project we will be at about 25 percent of that or 62 million pounds a year for the next two or three years until we can rehabilitate from that.

HANSEN: Wow. That's not really good for business, is it?

VOISIN: Here we are with the greatest floods we've seen in probably 100 years. And our crop insurance that we worked hard to get isn't available to us this year.

HANSEN: And what are you seeing?

VOISIN: I'm seeing the river at the highest levels I've ever seen it - almost to the top of the levees.

HANSEN: Wow.

VOISIN: We got reports just yesterday that oysters in the central part of Louisiana were starting to see those mortalities that we expect.

HANSEN: Oh my. I mean, how are you coping with all of this? I mean, this is the third disaster you've had in the last few years. You had Katrina, you had the Gulf oil spill and now you have the floodwater. I mean, is there...

VOISIN: Well, we actually, to be exact, we had Katrina and then three weeks later Rita...

HANSEN: Right.

VOISIN: Deepwater Horizon was a very serious and challenging event. This one is probably more significant to them because it comes on top of that. There'll be a couple of different difficult years that we'll deal with and we'll just deal with it. You know, we won't be able to go to those white tablecloth restaurants; we'll have to go to McDonalds and eat and do a little more eating at home.

HANSEN: Mike Voisin is president of Motivatit Seafoods in Houma, Louisiana. Mike, it's great to talk to you again and good luck to all of you down there.

VOISIN: Great to talk to you, Liane, and best of luck to you.

HANSEN: Thanks.

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