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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid