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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers 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.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid