MS - A Flood of Catastrophe: How a warming climate and the Bonnet Carré Spillway threaten the survival of Coast fishermen

On a warm, sunny September morning, bait salesman Roscoe Liebig scanned the harbor’s vacant piers and shook his head in disgust. Liebig recalled his usual surroundings: a full parking lot, a line of fishermen hooking their bait, and oysters peeking out in a low tide. That day, all of it was gone.

In a typical year, he’d be outside peddling his shrimp and croakers, a type of bait fish, to fishermen passing by.

“This is catastrophic,” he said. Referencing another historic disaster, Liebig put 2019 in perspective: “BP could blow up a well and you’d do better than this. It’s a dying freaking industry, and this is just the icing on the cake.”

Inside “Roscoe’s Live Bait Works,” sitting on a barge in the Mississippi Sound, Liebig grows restless as he reviews his finances. Sales are down sharply from the previous year, and he worries that making even a small repair or upgrade to his boat could break the bank.


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