The state is seeing a surge in people applying for saltwater fishing licenses since the Gulf Oil disaster began. BP requires the licenses for anyone entering into its Vessels of Opportunity program. And while most of the people filing for the licenses have a legitimate claim, there are reports of recreational fishermen trying to get into the program and take jobs away from out-of-work fishermen.
Fishermen, oystermen and shrimpers are fighting to save their coast and their livelihood. BP has enlisted 6-thousand of their boats in the war against the oil leak; cutting the boat captains a check to help make up for the business they’ve loss because of the company’s negligence.
But as is the case in almost every disaster… some people are trying to take advantage of the miss fortune of others. Bob Zales, the president of the National Association of Charterboat Operators, says his members sometimes have to compete with recreational fishermen, who make their money inland, but want to rent their boats to BP.
“These are attorneys, doctors, who have their boats in the program. But they’re off making their money doing something else.”
Since the BP pipe began pumping millions of gallons of oil into the gulf there has been a surge in the number of saltwater fishing license issued. BP is requiring people wanting to join their Vessels of Opportunity Program to have a license…
Most applications are from legit claimants. Henry Cabbage with Florida Fish and Wildlife, says those who aren’t will be weeded out by BP.
“If there people aren’t making a bulk of their money off fishing or then they aren’t eligible.”
It’s not just the Vessels of Opportunity Program; outsiders are trying to break into. There are 4-thousand cleanup jobs available in Florida. The state is watching those applications closely to make sure, the people hired have been affected by the leak.