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Vietnamese Americans Voice Concerns, Mississippi Efforts to Restore Coast, After BP Oil Spill

 Thau Vu with the Mississippi Coalition for Vietnamese American Fisherfolks and Families, spoke for herself and on behalf of five others at the meeting.

“The BP oil spill has really devastated their livelihood, and they have sustainability concerns,” she said. “They do know that coastal restoration is critically linked to their livelihood.”

Vu said about 80 percent of about 6,000 Vietnamese-Americans living on the coast are economically linked to commercial fishing.

The group also is interested in land acquisition for shrimp aquaculture and forming fishing cooperatives.

Oil spill restoration comments center employing Mississippians on projects (gallery) | gulflive.com

 Many of these Vietnamese are descendants of families who were settled here as the U.S. was pulling out of Vietnam in 1975.  Vietnamese are known to be avid shrimpers, and soon after arriving became involved with disputes with local shrimpers about overshrimping.

A November, 2011 story in newamericanmedia.org provides a history of the area: 

Some say that Asian America began in Louisiana. In the late 1700s, Filipino sailors escaped Spanish galleons and started shrimping the hot, humid Gulf Coast, where the weather reminded them of Southeast Asia and the water teemed with oysters, lobsters, scallops, crab, crayfish and shrimp. After the Vietnam War, new waves of Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants settled in the area, indelibly shifting the region’s mix of food, culture and history.

But neither history nor affinity could protect New Orleans-area Asian Americans from the multiple disasters of the last six years. Neighborhoods were just beginning to recover from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in April 2010. Fishermen watched the news nervously, hoping the spill would be contained quickly. It wasn’t. The oil — between 55,000 and 62,000 barrels a day — flowed for 87 days into the gulf before it was capped.

After BP Oil Spill, Future Uncertain for Vietnamese Fishers – New America Media