Hurricane Laura takes toll on Cameron seafood industry

Hurricane Laura takes toll on Cameron seafood industry

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Hurricane Laura dealt a serious blow to the seafood industry in Cameron Parish, but parish officials and residents are working to prevent it from being a fatal blow.

On a typical day in Cameron, you might see boats returning to shore with a catch of shrimp or fish. But Hurricane Laura has taken a severe toll on those who depend on seafood for their livelihood.

Cameron Port Director Clair Marceaux says some have lost their boats.

“Our fisheries folks have taken a really hard blow," she said. “About a third of our fleet, estimated, has vessels that have sunk, so we’re working to get those out of the water. At safe harbor, they sunk, so it wasn’t as if they were left here and in sank."

Plus she says some are also dealing with losing their homes.

“We also have to keep in mind that the business owners who are shrimpers have is in some cases last both their vessel that they used to make their living with their their small business and also their home so they’ve been hit with a double dose of required recovery,” said Marceaux.

The old mural on the ice house sets forth Cameron’s claims to fame over many years, including once being the nation’s largest seafood producer. Though the words have nearly faded away, Marceaux says they are determined the seafood industry will not.

“If we allow the fisheries to disappear, then we we risk losing a layer of the fabric of our culture but it’s a tapestry and it takes all different colored brands and it takes a text caring about that tapestry,” she said.

Just as they plan to have the mural repainted, she says they are working to bring back the fishermen and related businesses. To help, they are holding a special event just for those who have lost so much. They are calling it Feed the Fleet.

“I’m hoping that it’s a really good day for all of them to see one another, learn some information about how they can get help and for all of us to enjoy a meal together in and see one another,” said Marceaux.

Marceaux hopes the coming together will encourage the fishermen and make sure they know they are not forgotten.

Marceaux says identifying and removing debris in waterways is one issue that must be dealt with before fishing can resume.

Copyright 2020 KPLC. All rights reserved.