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Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News
Email: mrodriguez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mrodriguezwwl

HOPEDALE, La. -- David Palmer makes a living off the water through his business, Lazy Boyz Seafood, in Hopedale. More than two years ago during the BP oil spill, Palmer laid out oil boom in the waters around St. Bernard Parish.

'We all put out anchors and booms around here,' he said.

Little did he know at the time, those anchors would end up affecting the way he trawls for shrimp today.

'That's what we're catching,' Palmer said, as he showed off one of the potentially thousands of anchors, left behind when the oil boom was picked up.

Some local boaters and fishermen say the so-called 'orphan boom anchors' are creating a nuisance and damaging vessels, including Palmer's boat. State officials estimate there could be as many as 7,000 boom anchors just beneath the surface of area waterways and there is currently no plan in place to retrieve them.

The issue came up this week in New Orleans, during a U.S. Senate committee meeting on the oil spill.

'You can imagine the scenario, where you have a boater going 30 or 40 miles an hour through these wetland areas and hitting a steel object like that. I mean, people could literally be thrown from the boat,' said Garret Graves with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

For their part, the Coast Guard, who are the incident command, said they studied the issue and determined it wasn't worth it to go remove the anchors.

'All those factors -- both the environmental insult, the safety of the workers undertaking it -- were all factored together in to make the assessment that leaving them in place is not free of injury, but it's less impactful of what it would take to go after and recover them,' said Capt. Samuel 'Duke' Walker of the U.S. Coast Guard.

David Palmer, though, would rather see it addressed. The orphaned anchors have cost him and other fishermen thousands of dollars in repairs.

'It's just a big mess,' he said. 'A big mess.'

An initial pilot program was conducted last year in St. Bernard and Jefferson Parishes to remove some of the anchors. According to a report submitted in June of 2011 to the Federal On-Scene Commander, the program found 46 anchors, along with more than 1,000 other, non-oil spill related metal hazards.

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