Fish with the King

As Gulf fishermen are forced to work for the oil company that destroyed their livelihoods, who will train Louisiana’s next generation to fish?

| March-April 2011

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    Deckhand David Merrick shows some of the catch after returning from a two-day shrimp haul at Joshua's Marina in Buras, Louisiana
    REUTERS / Hans Deryk
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    A Belle Chasse, Louisiana, road sign expresses local frustration with BP
    REUTERS / Alexandria Sage
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    Efram Naquin stands on the deck of his oyster boat in Pointe-Au-Chien, Lousiana
    AP photo / Patrick Semansky

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Fish With The King 
(a sign near the Campo marina)

Before 

FJ Campo sits at a table with receipt books on either side of him. He sells fuel and bait to fishermen from his Shell Beach, Louisiana, marina. A fan blows the odor of freshly cut plywood boards he used to expand his bait shop. He waves as a shrimp boat passes on the other side of the dock past tall marsh grasses. Bars of yellow light pour in a bright sheen across the water and heat shimmers the shoreline. The sky is blindingly blue.

FJ recalls trawling for shrimp when he was 12. In those days, everything was done by hand. No mechanical winches like now. He had always wanted to be on the water. Fresh air. No putting up with smart alecks. Have to be self-motivated, though. You got to drag your ass out of bed at 4 a.m. Some people can’t get up at 8 a.m., and if they do they need an alarm clock to do it.



Two quarts oil, FJ, a fisherman shouts.

After