OTR Interviews

Gulf Oil Spill Bad Business for Shrimp King

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 15, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now, the destruction from this underwater oil gusher is extreme. Our next guest knows it. He owns a business that has been absolutely devastated. Joining us live in Grand Isle, Louisiana, is Dean Blanchard. He's the owner of Dean Blanchard Seafood.

Good evening, sir. And so that we have some sort of sense of the devastation to your business, tell me what your business was like a year ago and tell me what it's like now.

DEAN BLANCHARD, LOUISIANA BUSINESS OWNER: Well, we -- how're you doing, Greta? We're working on about 10 percent of what we did last year, and it's very hard to pay the bills at 10 percent.

VAN SUSTEREN: How many employees did you have a year ago, and how many people are you employing now?

BLANCHARD: Well, last year was a slow season. We had 60 employees. And right now, we're down to 8.

VAN SUSTEREN: In terms of your business, do you ship -- do you ship food all over the country? I mean, give me an idea a little bit about your business.

BLANCHARD: Well, we got 1,400 vessels that go out and catch shrimp, come to our facility. We unload them. We process them. We pack them. We deliver them to stores and restaurants throughout the country. And basically, we've lost all our customers because we can't supply them, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did you think of the president's speech tonight?

BLANCHARD: Well, I think it's -- we had too much studying. I believe it's time for action. I kind of agree with the governor of Mississippi. We don't need the price of fuel to go up anymore for these people. You know, I've -- we've lost probably $15 million $18 million worth of sales in the last month. We haven't collected a penny from BP. I got a call governor's office before I came to your show tonight and said BP is going to give me $165,000 initial check. Well, that's about -- that's about maybe 12 percent of what I figured I would have earned in this amount of time. So it's hard to pay your bills on 12 percent of what you was figuring on making.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, this spill was -- started about 60 days ago, or 59 days ago. What efforts have you made to contact BP? I'm trying to figure out to what extent BP is sort of responsive to the immediate needs of the people in your community.

BLANCHARD: Well, you know, we've been like everybody else, you know? BP got a bad habit of lying, you know? What they tell you and what they do is two different things. You know, I've met some good people from BP, but I just don't think they acted fast enough on getting help to the people they devastated. You know, our business is a seasonal business. We spend all our money in January, February and March to start harvesting in late April, May, June and July. And they pretty much shut us down, you know? So we borrowed the money, and now we got to pay it back with no production.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I'm sort of curious because I know that you have -- you actually traditionally have a very successful business, and I'm wondering, like, you take the -- you know, your business and how much it might affect, for instance, a restaurant in the northern part of the country that's expecting the -- you know, expecting some inventory, expecting it at a particular price, and now with the scarcity, it's going to drive the price up, which is going to create, you know, I would assume problems around the country, not just locally. We're just seeing sort of the extreme devastation to you now, but that it might have a greater affect. Do you think that's possible or not?

BLANCHARD: I'm getting calls every day from customers that are having to go and deal with foreign companies. Basically, like the governor said about the oil. We can't fill the orders, these foreign companies are coming in and they can, you know? Basically, I worked 28 years of my life for nothing. For nothing. This will be the year that I could have really done good. We was expecting a bumper crop of shrimp. And I feel like 28 years of my life is down the drain because of the action of others. And I believe they ought to be held responsible.

VAN SUSTEREN: Dean, thank you. And I certainly hope that people are held responsible for you and others, as well. Thank you, Dean.

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