Fishermen arrested in Bayou La Batre after blockade protesting little oil cleanup work

July 31, 2010,

Three people were arrested in Bayou La Batre, Ala., today after blockading city waters to protest getting little oil cleanup work, police and fishermen who were at the protest said this afternoon.

Jobie Allen Nelson, 31, Gordon Lewis Schoon, 23, and Michael Donald Sowa, 38, were arrested and booked into Mobile County Metro Jail on multiple charges, including disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental operations.

“I feel like we’re all getting treated wrong here,” said Schoon, a commercial fisherman. Schoon said he received several charges, including resisting arrest. He denied wrongdoing. “I never once resisted. I did everything they said.”

Alabama Marine Police arrested three of several people involved, according to Bayou La Batre Police spokesman Cpl. Jason Edwards. The arrests were made on the water, Edwards said.

City police could not immediately provide more information about the arrests.

Nelson, also a commercial fisherman, said he’s been unable to get work skimming or spotting oil for BP PLC’s Vessels of Opportunity oil cleanup program. Instead, the jobs are going to out-of-towners and recreational fishermen who don’t depend on a now-suffering fishing industry to make a living, he said.

“This is our livelihoods, you know what I’m saying? This is what we do, and we can’t do it right now,” Nelson said.

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