A chilling spill

What haven’t Louisiana harvesters had to cope with in recent years? Foreign imports were already depressing dock prices when Hurricane Katrina came rampaging through the region in 2005, throwing fishing boats onto land and destroying the industry infrastructure.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike roared through in 2008, wreaking similar havoc. Between hurricanes, infrastructure problems, low dock prices and spiraling fuel prices, Louisiana fishermen have somehow coped with a lot of adversity.

Now comes this latest blow, courtesy of a BP oil rig that exploded and sank last week. The word today is that it’s spewing an estimated 200,000 gallons a day and could eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill as the worst U.S. environmental disaster in decades.

If so, it’s going to have a chilling effect on Louisiana fisheries and its fishing industry. One can only hope that lessons learned from the Valdez debacle will spare Pelican State harvesters the lasting pain Alaska fishermen have — and continue — to endure.

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