News / USA

Gulf Oil Spill Shuts Down 50 Percent of Louisiana's Oyster Production

Gulf Oil Spill Shuts Down 50 Percent of Louisiana's Oyster Production
Gulf Oil Spill Shuts Down 50 Percent of Louisiana's Oyster Production

Multimedia

Jeff Swicord

As British Petroleum continues to try to cap its leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. officials have banned fishing from the Mississippi River east to Alabama and Florida.  Louisiana's seafood industry is suffering losses estimated in the millions.  But some in the industry caution that while closures will hurt, they will not be catastrophic.

Sal Sunseri is co-owner of the P&J Oyster Company in New Orlean's historic French Quarter. For 134 years it has supplied restaurants in New Orleans and the U.S. with fresh shucked oysters.

"We do about 30-35,000 oysters in a day," he said.

P&J is a part of Louisiana's $2.4 billion a year seafood industry, the largest in the U.S.  Fifty percent of the state's oyster production is shut down, there but for now prices remain steady. "There is already a drop in supply.  Because, on the east side of the river, that is one of the most productive estuaries for oysters in the world.  So, we are taking precautionary measures and of course shutting it down.  And everything on the west side is what we are drawing from now right now," he said.

Sunseri emphasizes that the fishing closures east of the Mississippi River are just precautionary.  To date, there has been no evidence of contamination in the river from the oil spill.

"The kind of broken marsh that you see out there where you can see the grass and all out there, that's an estuary," said Peter Garica, vice chairman of the Louisiana Seafood Marketing Board.

He also is a commercial crabber and fisherman.  He says if the shut down continues on the east side of the Mississippi, Louisiana's' seafood industry will survive,  because 70 percent of the state's fish and shellfish come from the west side of the river. "Fishing is going to go on whether it be on the west side of the river or the east side of the river," he said.

Garcia says the recent dip in supply will be temporary.  He thinks it is partially due to consumers overbuying out of fear. "It's putting a false sense on the market right now that everybody has this big flashing yellow light flashing, caution, caution, caution, so people are buying stuff in high volume than they usually buy.  Even at the farmers markets they are buying more," he said.

Bourbon House Seafood Restaurant in the French Quarter specializes in local seafood.

Managing partner Steve Pettus says he has had no problems getting fresh seafood from his suppliers.  His concern is that the public knows that the seafood he serves is fresh and safe. "Because everyone of the oysters that come in we tag them as to where they are coming from," he said.

He emphasizes the industry goes to great lengths to document where seafood is caught or harvested.

Each 23 kilogram bag of oysters he receives has a tag that marks the area it came from. Bourbon House displays the numbered area on a chalk board behind the oyster bar for their customers to see.

"I am not worried about quality at all.  Because again I count on not only on the regulatory agencies that determine the quality of the water in which these products are grown.  I count on the reputation of our purveyors that we have known, longer than I have been alive. We have been doing business with them," said Pettus.

British Petroleum plans to plug the leaking oil well with an experimental well cap.  The seafood industry is watching closely and hoping for success.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More