Theresa Dardar, a member of the Pointe-au-Chien tribe in Terrebonne Parish, is down to the last bag of shrimp she froze in late April 2010 after the BP spill. The state opened the shrimp season early that spring before oil began lapping at the coast. Her husband Donald, a commercial fishermen, hauled in all he could that April and May. The Dardars have worked through their frozen supplies and aren't sure they trust fresh shrimp—something that's always been a staple of their diet.
Pointe au Chien, 20 miles southeast of Houma on Lake Chien, is a close-knit Native American community that was hurt by the spill and a string of hurricanes. Last week, Dardar said the area's shrimp catch is declining, some of the local fish look diseased and oiled marshes are rapidly eroding.
Residents include 68 families from the Pointe-au-Chien tribe, along with some Cajuns. "People here work mainly as commercial fishermen and a few are tugboat captains," Dardar said. She's a board member of GO FISH, a south Louisiana advocacy group formed after the spill. Her husband Donald is second chairman of the Pointe-au-Chien tribe.
The Dardars are distressed by what they've seen trawling "Last year, my brother-in-law caught a fish that didn't have scales and threw it back," she said. "Then my husband pulled in what we call a triple tail, and it didn't have scales. Last summer, my husband's uncle started to prepare a drum fish he caught but saw it had hardly any meat."
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