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BP Oil Spill: Worries About Seafood, Water Remain One Year Later

ABC News(EMPIRE, La.) -- One year after a deadly explosion triggered a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, concerns still remain about the safety of the water and the seafood being fished from it.

On April 20, 2010, BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 people and sending 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf.

The spewing oil wrecked havoc on the marine life, killing and soiling hundreds of birds, stranding dolphins and turtles, and putting a halt to the fishing industry in the area.

Many of the fishermen who were out in the oil-ridden waters still worry today that their produce -- shrimp, oysters and crabs -- are not yet safe to eat.

"I ain't worried about the money.  I'm worried about the people's health," said Rudy Camardelle, a fisherman in Lafitte, Louisiana.  "They can't be sending these boats out out there and catching these shrimp, selling these shrimp to these people.  And these shrimp might be 'taminated or something."

The fear of contaminated seafood is also having still having an effect on local businesses.

Theo Bourgeois, a charter boat captain in Lafitte, says his bookings are down 60 percent because of worries the fish are contaminated.

"The problem is a lot of my business out of state, people from up north.  And they're not interested in coming down, man.  They really feel it's still contaminated with pollutants and stuff.  And it's gonna be hard to convince them that's not so," Bourgeois said.

Yet, others agree with government officials who have deemed seafood from the Gulf safe to eat.

"I'm gonna tell everyone it was great," said Christy Ball, a visitor from St. Louis who ate a crab po' boy at a restaurant in Lafitte on Tuesday.  "I know there's a fear about it.  We've heard it.  And I don't believe it all.  And I think you have to be open minded about it.  You have to read up on what's going on.  And I think we all feel pretty good about it."

Although BP, the U.S. Coast Guard and other federal agencies say the Gulf is oil-free as far as they can tell, several Louisiana officials and wildlife officials disagree.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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