SWLA shrimpers get head start before oil hits coast

By Crystal Price - bio | email

CAMERON, LA (KPLC) - Shrimpers in Cameron Parish are fishing for all the shrimp they can before the oil spill comes near the coast.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries opened the western shore of Vermillion Bay to the Louisiana/Texas state line at sunset Saturday evening.

While some shrimpers fear that opening the shrimping season this early could lead to a smaller profit, shimper Philip Dyson of Cameron said right now his business's early season is good.

"If the oil's coming then they should let us catch them," said Dyson. "That's all we're asking."

Although the early season may be a huge help now, Dyson said things will be different if the oil does approach the Cameron coast.

"If that oil comes it's going to be a disaster here," said Dyson. "They are saying it could take a year or two to clean up the damage."

Dyson said he's already seen a slight impact from the spill after missing Vermilion Bay's shrimping due to the frequent closing and re-opening the seasons.

"This year we missed about $10,000 to $20,000 that we usually make there," said Dyson.

Dyson said he is staying put in Cameron Parish for a guaranteed profit this season.

While some of the early shrimp may not be marketable because of their size, Dyson said he's seen a fair enough share of the larger shrimp to keep business up.

"We sold 550 pounds of shrimp yesterday," said Dyson. "That's good for this time of year."

Dyson said although he is fearful of the spill, he's making his preparations one day at a time.

"Fishing is on a day-to-day basis," said Dyson. "You've got to worry about tomorrow; but worry about tomorrow when it gets here. If the oil comes we'll deal with it."

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is working closely with state and federal agencies to protect the fish of southwest Louisiana.

For more information on the oil spill response effort click on "Oil Spill Response" to the right.

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