This was a subject brought up on our Surviving The 21st Century radio program last Saturday. I for one was shocked. According to our guest Joannie Hughes of the Coastal Heritage Society Of Louisiana the FDA were forcing Fishermen to sign a waiver prior to fishing in the Gulf. This waiver is simple in its wording, however complex and confusing in its meaning

You can read it here.

It begs the question – Is Gulf seafood safe?

I read the document several times, I am by no means a conspiracy theorist, but it bothered me greatly. The copy I posted above may be hard to read, so let me go through it, and tell you my thoughts. It is the first two sentences that bother me

This letter serves as our guarantee that the shrimp supplied has not been harvested from an area closed to commercial fishing by foreign, federal, state, or local authorities.

No oil or oil smell is present at time of delivery to the processing plant.

Lets start with the second sentence. This essentially puts the onus of testing the catch on the fisherman. It also has the potential of placing liability for any subsequent problems, for example someone becoming ill, on the fisherman. While it might be reasonable and even common sense to tell the fishermen that if the shrimp smells of crude oil don’t catch it. How can a fisherman know if the fish contains oil? Are they being expected to invest in expensive testing equipment?

The first sentence also bothers me, while it appears a logical request, when taken in conjunction it creates an interesting situation. What if the fisherman passes sentence number one, he fishes legally, but fails the second requirement? Then who is at fault? Then where does the liability lay?

I am not a legal expert, however I do know a few. I decided to talk this over with my good friend Mannie Barling. As a retired attorney and also part of our panel on last Saturday’s program he seemed like the natural choice.

Not only was he in broad agreement with my thoughts he was happy to go on record:

This letter is an attempt to relieve the government and BP of potential liability by placing responsibility on the backs of Gulf fisherman

He went on to add:

In essence BP is trying to avoid paying Gulf fisherman for their loss of income

I have to admit that the more I peer into what is happening in the Gulf, the more concerned I become. The mainstream media has moved on to the next big story, but in reality, this disaster is only just beginning.

While I was talking to Mannie Barling and his wife Ashley Brooks earlier today they explained that they do want to help with the Gulf recovery. They have decided to donate $5 to the Coastal Heritage Society for every book purchased through their website by people in the Gulf  states suffering this disaster. Oh, and you do not need to be suffering from Arthritis, or any of the other problems mentioned in the titles. Everyone in the Gulf region should read these books because of the information contained in them about the chemicals raining down on the region!

Of course my plan now is to get Mannie and Ashley’s books on the New York Times Bestseller list!

On a serious note, I really want to thank Mannie Barling and Ashley Brooks for caring. They are not in the Gulf region, but they are proof that people across the country want to help.

Simon Barrett

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