Mississippi fishermen call for resignation of Dept. of Marine Resources director

The Biloxi Sun HeraldAugust 18, 2010 

BILOXI — A group of commercial fishermen voiced their anger and concern during Tuesday's monthly Commission on Marine Resources meeting.

The group of 10 or 15 also asked Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Director Bill Walker to resign over what the fishermen said was a lack of representation since the Deepwater Horizon's massive oil disaster began April 20.

Mark Stewart, one of the more vocal commercial fishermen, said plumes of oil are still being found in the Mississippi Sound.

Stewart, who owns the shrimp boat Charlotte and Roger based in Ocean Springs, said the DMR did the wrong thing by reopening the Sound.

"Two weeks after the oil stopped, they reopened the Mississippi Sound," he said.

"That was too early. They should have kept the Sound closed the rest of the year, then reopen it next year. Bill Walker is doing a poor job. He is not telling the truth, and I had to call him out on it. He needs to go."

Stewart, a third-generation fisherman, said a petition is being circulated to have Walker removed.

Another commercial fisherman voicing his concerns was James "Catfish" Miller.

Miller said a recent report by Georgia scientists said as much as 80 percent of the oil still lurks under the surface.

That comes after federal scientists said a majority of the oil had been removed by BP workers, burned off or dispersed.

"We are being led the wrong way," Miller said. "The last time out, we found a plume on the inside of Cat Island. I don't think they are telling the truth."

Walker did not respond to requests for comment.

To read the complete oil spill coverage, visit www.sunherald.com/oilspill/.

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