We made our way to Plaquemines Parish, LA, which has one of the largest small-scale fishing fleets in the country, with primary catches coming from shrimp, crab, and oysters. It’s also one of the largest crude oil producing areas in the country.
We heard from fishing community leaders about the importance of fisheries to the area, to their livelihoods and to their culture. We also heard about threats and the impacts that oil spills and hurricanes have had. But most recently, the largest threat is a water divergent project that will kill marine ecosystem habitats for species all along the coast including dolphins, shrimp, bluefin tuna, oysters, and many more.
We spent time with Kindra Arnesen who has been at the forefront of these issues for many years -- at great personal cost. Kindra recounted the trauma that her community faced after the BP oil spill and other disasters and the struggle to hold big companies accountable for their impacts. The population in the area has dwindled in the past decade, but Kindra is not leaving her home.
“You have two choices in life: fight or flight, and I’m not a ‘flight’ kind of girl.” - Kindra Arnesen
We were honored to spend time with Sandy Nguyen, director of Coastal Communities Consulting, and a leader in the Vietnamese and Asian American fishing communities. CCC offers a wide range of critical services to the fishing community and has channeled millions of dollars worth of loans and damage claims directly to fishing families. Sandy introduced us to folks like Cuc Nguyen of Boothville, LA who processes her family’s catch in their home. We were there for crab season, and watched in awe as soft-shell crabs in her facility gradually crawled out of their old shells.
Here are some things you can do today to help support small-scale and community based fisheries across the nation:
Make a stand on social media: Tell @NOAA now is the time to act in the best interests of the public. Don’t let Wall Street investors take over our fisheries.