Jason Melerine was born to the water. His father fished, his grandfather fished, his great-grandfather fished. At age 11, Melerine drew pictures of the boat he would someday own. The day he turned 16, he quit school to go crabbing. Now 28, he can barely read and write.
Fishing off Delacroix Island, a sliver of land alongside the Louisiana coast, is all he knows. In the first weeks after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded last April 20, Melerine, like most Louisiana fishermen, feared the worst: that the cocktail of oil and dispersant would immediately kill the state’s already fragile fishing industry. His worry consumed him. He pulled patches of hair from his chin and his leg. He landed in the hospital with migraines. He contemplated suicide.
Read the remainder at ProPublica