Because so many Louisiana fishermen grow up on the water, this is the only life they've ever known. The oil spill changed that. Many of the state's 12 thousand fishermen have gotten accustomed to being clean-up workers, drawing their checks from BP instead of from the sea. And just because federal officials say the oil is clearing up faster than expected and the seafood appears to be safe so far, doesn't mean the fishermen believe it.
Ewell Smith with the state board that promotes Louisiana seafood says it's the fishermen who now need a lure. He wants BP to start paying the fishermen a bonus: 30 cents on every dollar of seafood they catch to go back to the water.
It's a common sense approach to put fishermen back to work to help mitigate claims against them. We've approached bp twice and they've told us no twice. But they told us no twice with the caveat to come back once the well is capped.
Now that bp is closing in on killing the deepwater horizon well, a spokesman told us the company is considering the idea.
"No final decision," the spokesman said. "But we are very supportive of programs of guys going back to fishing."
And there's good reason why. Jim funk with the Louisiana Restaurant Association says its industry could take a big hit, if the fishermen stay on the sidelines.
Louisiana seafood officials say so far none of their products have tested positive for oil or dispersants and that it is safe to eat.