News / USA

Seafood Industry Damage Limited to Gulf of Mexico

Imports keep seafood on plates nationwide

The oil spill threatens Gulf grouper. But prices have not increased yet.
The oil spill threatens Gulf grouper. But prices have not increased yet.

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

Sellers of fresh seafood are starting to feel the effects of the oil leak that continues in the Gulf of Mexico, but experts say imported fish will keep supermarkets nationwide stocked.

At Captain White's Seafood City, one of a cluster of fresh seafood vendors in an out-of-the-way corner of the Washington, DC's waterfront, owner Sonny White says oyster prices have doubled since the oil spill closed some oyster beds in the Gulf states of Mississippi and Louisiana. He's worried that soon oysters will be too expensive to sell.

"Oysters are what would really hurt us to begin with," he says. "We go through hundreds of bushels a week of oysters. We'd just hate to lose that business."

He wouldn't say how much he earns from oysters, except to say it's substantial.

Shrimp is among the Gulf of Mexico's best-known seafood. But 90 percent of the shrimp in the United States is imported.
Shrimp is among the Gulf of Mexico's best-known seafood. But 90 percent of the shrimp in the United States is imported.

Current impacts minor

Across the parking lot at Jessie Taylor Seafood, manager Ryan Evans says the oil spill hasn't been a big deal for his business — yet.

"It could turn into a very big deal," he says. "At the moment, it isn't such a major problem. Shrimp prices are starting to increase a little, but if this continues, yeah, it'll definitely be a major problem."

So far, he says, he's had to raise his prices for shrimp from the Gulf by about fifty cents a kilo. The price of valuable fish like king mackerel, grouper and snapper could also go up, but hasn't yet.

Sales of seafood from the five states bordering the Gulf of Mexico totaled $660 million in 2008, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. But while the local impacts in the Gulf states could be devastating, the rest of the nation might not see much of an impact. That's because most Americans shop for seafood at supermarkets rather than at fresh fish stands, and supermarkets get most of their seafood from overseas, according to Gavin Gibbons, a spokesman for the industry-sponsored National Fisheries Institute.

Big and small buy imports

"[More than] 83 percent of seafood is imported," he says, "and that includes 90 percent of all shrimp. So, while the seafood that comes out of the Gulf is iconic and people ask for it by name, broadly, it doesn't have the same impact in terms of sourcing for big grocery store chains."

Gibbons says while the big supermarket and restaurant chains don't rely as much on Gulf seafood, the small businesses that do are more likely to suffer.

Sonny White of Captain White's Seafood City says about 20 percent of his catch comes from the Gulf, and he gets quite a bit from the Atlantic ocean. But he also buys imported shrimp, tuna, and other seafood from the Philippines, China, and other countries.

Sympathy for Gulf fishermen

So he's not too worried about how the oil spill will affect him.

"It wouldn't put us out of business. We've been through a lot," he says. But, he adds, "It's going to hurt the people who depend on the Gulf for a living. I mean, I really feel sorry for them because they're going to be out of business."

White says one scenario that does worry him is if the ocean currents carry the oil spill out of the Gulf and into the Atlantic Ocean, where a lot of his seafood comes from. If that happens, experts say, the impact could go far beyond the fishermen in the Gulf.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid