BILOXI, Miss. — A hostile crowd of about 150 shrimpers said Wednesday that they're doing all that is reasonable to save sea turtles, accusing the national fisheries service of faking data and falsely blaming the fishermen of drowning the marine reptiles.
When Barnette pointed out that one spike in 2010 coincided with the shrimp season, Dolores Suarez shouted, "What week were they spraying Corexit?" — the dispersant used to break up much of the oil.
Edward Ross of Biloxi said much the same about the findings that sea turtles drowned: "A lot of it is backed by theory and non-observation. I ain't seen no pictures. I ain't seen no data."
Dredges were at work in the Mississippi Sound — and shrimpers weren't — when large numbers of turtles began floating up on the beaches last year, said Mark Kopszywa of Ocean Springs.
"Who's going to be on our side?" Lorrie Williams of Ocean Springs asked Michael Barnette of NOAA's Fisheries Service at a meeting in Biloxi.