Gulf Shrimpers, Out of a Job, Work for BP

Oil giant pays victims competitive wages to clean up its mess
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2010 3:38 PM CDT
A shrimping fleet carries oil booms as it heads out into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana Tuesday, May 4, 2010.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(Newser) – For shrimpers on the Gulf of Mexico unable to practice their trade because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, one employment option remains: working for BP, the company that destroyed their livelihood. The oil giant's "Vessels of Opportunity" program covers costs and pays trawlers close to what they would net from a day of shrimping to provide info on the spill or help with the cleanup, ABC News reports.

Some shrimpers even appreciate the stability of a steady paycheck free from the ups and downs of the shrimp market—"When they're working for BP, they know how much they're going to make," said a spokesperson for the Shrimp Alliance. For other people, the larger tragedy is harder to forget. BP may be providing short-term help, and shrimpers "see easy money but they really don't want to do that," says one shrimp supplier. "They want to trawl for a living. For some people it's bred into them. It's what they've done all their life."

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