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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid