Coastal Crisis: More of Mississippi Sound closed to fishing - - Jackson, MS

Coastal Crisis: More of Mississippi Sound closed to fishing

GULF OF MEXICO (WLBT) - The U.S. Department of Marine Resources says much more of the Mississippi Sound has been closed Thursday to all commercial and recreational fishing.

The new fishing bans reflect the growing amount of oil now in the sound and on the Barrier Islands.

With the containment cap back in place, the effort at the spill site is again gathering about 25,000 barrels of oil a day.

It's the effort along the shoreline, though, that some say is lacking.

Crews are working night and day to clean up the mess, but with dangerously hot temperatures, BP contractors are forced by federal work laws to take long breaks.

"No, I'm not satisfied. The workers, they work ten minutes out of an hour," said Santa Rosa Island Authority Director Buck Lee.  "We need machinery in here that will take it, that will sift it, put the sand back on, the oil out of here."

But that machinery doesn't always work either.

Also not working for some is the claims process.  Thursday, Bob Dudley, BP's new managing director in the gulf, was promising changes.

"We now will start paying one-to-two months out to make sure that the businesses can be sustained.  If we're going to err, we're going to err on the side of paying a claim and squaring it up later, if that's an issue," said Dudley.

Another issue that must be squared away is the legal tug-of-war over deepwater drilling in the gulf.

A New Orleans judge Thursday refused to step back from his injunction blocking the president's six-month moratorium on deepwater work.

"The moratorium was right when it was imposed.  The moratorium is right today, and we are in a dynamic situation and in a crisis," said US Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar.

Salazar is promising a new stronger version of the moratorium, as the Obama administration considers an appeal.

Meanwhile, the gulf coast states will join together this weekend to pray for areas impacted by the coastal crisis.

Governor Haley Barbour along with the Texas and Louisiana governors have called for a day of prayer Sunday.

The governors are urging citizens to pray for those who died in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, for the rebuilding of communities and for the restoration of the entire gulf coast environment.

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