Shrimpers and fishers concerned about LNG expansion

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 8:19 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Cameron has been home to a thriving fishing and shrimping industry since the 1800′s, but will it always be that way?

Some of the fishers and shrimpers have a bleak outlook about their future as the LNG Industry grows. A media boat tour was held for local and out-of-town media aimed at making people more aware.

It was a beautiful day on the water aboard Phillip “Rooster” Dyson’s shrimp boat. Shrimping is a way of life for generations of his family. But he said they are being squeezed out by the booming growth of LNG export companies.

He doesn’t think the fishing industry will last.

“I don’t think much longer, maybe another year or two if you’re lucky. I mean the strong will survive maybe. If something don’t start changing, I mean it’s all about the plant and nothing about the fishing industry,” he said.

Adley Dyson lost his shrimp boat in the hurricanes and moved to Lake Arthur. He suspects the current generation of shrimpers may be the last one in Cameron.

“It just changed the town to a place you didn’t want to live in no more. All the stores were gone and there wasn’t enough here to take care of that many people working,” he said.

And then there are some clearly in the way of Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass expansion. Travis and Nicole Dardar await a buyout they can accept.

“Nobody should have to live next to this and now they’re trying to build 350 to 400 feet from our house,” Nicole said.

Yet, Bucket Brigade is trying to get the word out to the public. Executive Director Anne Rolfes said the LNG growth is killing their way of life.

“Cameron Parish is Louisiana shrimping. Cameron Parish is the soul of the Louisiana fishing industry and it’s threatened now. There’s a giant axe over the fishing industry in this part of the state and we’re trying to save it,” Rolfes said.

Lori Cooke is the Bucket Brigade program coordinator. She said they hope to increase awareness.

“It’s making life extremely difficult for fishermen. People up in the populated areas aren’t aware of what’s going on here and what could potentially be lost. I don’t think it’s a lost cause at all. Look around, there are still shrimpers here. There are still people who want to live here,” Cooke said.

Yet things change. The Cameron Jetty Pier was a favorite place for recreational fishing, but it’s gone now. Venture Global LNG needed the space and built a pier nearby. Though nothing stays the same they hope to keep the best parts.

One of the Bucket Brigade’s priorities is to see that environmental laws are strictly enforced.