Shrimpers in Cameron remember oil spill one year later

Gilbert Lee and Lance Sanders work on their shrimp boat in preparation for Shrimp season.
Gilbert Lee and Lance Sanders work on their shrimp boat in preparation for Shrimp season.

CAMERON, LA (KPLC) - Commercial fishermen from Cameron will never forget the night of April 20, 2010 when a rig operated by Transocean burst into flames in the Gulf of Mexico just miles from the coast of Louisiana.

"We didn't realize how bad it was when it first happened," said Adley Dyson, a commercial fisherman from Cameron. "We thought they would have it capped in a day or two."

The oil was not capped until 85 days after the rig explosion. Dyson feared the worst was yet to come within that time.

"We knew it was a lot of oil and we knew it was going to be devastating," said Dyson.

Oil from the BP Disaster was never confirmed in Cameron. However, a misconception led many to believe that all seafood from the Gulf was contaminated.

This inaccurate perception led to a drop in shrimp sales during the summer of 2010.

"It hurt us a lot because people are safety conscious," said Dyson.

But Dyson said business has picked up within the last year.

"It's starting to come back a little bit, because people now know the seafood is safe," said Dyson.

But other factors such as high fuel prices and over fishing in Cameron still stand in the shrimpers way of fully recovering.

"We were over fished for a while because this was the only place they could fish," said Dyson.

Ginger Lee, a shrimper from Venice, moved to Cameron with her family two months ago to start shrimping and oystering again. The BP disaster left her family with nowhere to shrimp or oyster after the bays in Venice were closed.

"It was very bad," said Lee. "We didn't know where our income was going to come in, because my husband only oysters and shrimps."

The Lee family said they plan to stay in Cameron until the oil is cleared in Venice. Shrimp season in Cameron Parish is expected to begin sometime in May.

Copyright 2011 KPLC. All rights reserved.