|Published:||Apr 21, 2011 3:20 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Apr 20, 2011 11:30 PM EDT|
EVERGLADES CITY, Fla.- Richard Wahrenberger remembers a day devastating Florida's fishing industry.
"It was tough. It was tough. I should have closed," Wahrenberger reflects, exactly one year after the BP oil spill.
Even though the oil gushing into the Gulf didn't come close to his Everglades City fish market, profits at City Seafood still sank 45% after the spill.
"I had a lot of phone calls, wondering how bad is the oil there? You couldn't hardly convince them that the oil was 600 miles away from here," Wahrenberger said.
For local stone crabbers, the timing of the April 20, 2010 disaster couldn't have been worse. They were already riding out a bad season, and hit twofold when the public perception of seafood grew grim.
"It was really, really bad. It got real slow around here. Not many crabs," Michael Kelley, of Hamilton's Stone Crabs in Everglades City, said Wednesday.
Despite heavy federal and state inspections of seafood, business owners are still battling the oil spill's tarnish on their reputation.
"We had somebody in the other day who didn't want to eat any fish because someone told them it could be contaminated by oil," Wahrenberger said.
Still, he decided against filing with BP...instead, fighting for his business on his own. And one year later, he's coming out even stronger.
"I'm going to survive. On my own. I'm not obligated to nobody, I don't owe nobody. I'm going to keep going," Wahrenberger said.
Wahrenberger also said the price of seafood, which skyrocketed after the spill, has leveled out.