Voices From the Spill: George Barisch, The Fishing Life

Voices From the Spill: George Barisch, The Fishing Life

The Gulf spill tries the patience of a Louisiana fisherman.

It will take years before we know for certain the true impact of mixing 5 million gallons of sweet Louisiana crude oil and another 1 million gallons of toxic dispersants into the complicated ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico.

Fisherman and politician George Barisch can’t wait for years.

In order to keep his life and family going, Barisch got back to fishing as soon as he possibly could. When I saw him last week he’d just pulled his boat out of Gulf waters, loaded with more than five thousand pounds of shrimp and redfish. One advantage of much of the Gulf having been off-limits to fishing for the good part of a year is that fish stocks are thriving.

Despite the haul, there are questions, which George understands better than anyone. How is the market going to recover when much of the country is still hesitant to buy Gulf seafood? And is seafood from the Gulf safe to eat?

George answers that question by grilling up a few dozen shrimp in his suburban kitchen (his Gulf-side home was wiped out by Katrina), sprinkled lightly with garlic and lemon. He’s convinced that the fish are untainted, even though he’s got dozens of friends and supporters in the environmental movement who have sworn off Gulf seafood while testing continues.

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