Crabs and oysters are no longer endangered just in the Chesapeake Bay –the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may harm the southern seafood industry, and the animals themselves. The Associated Press released a story May 4, wondering how the spill –and the federal government’s lockdown on Louisiana fisheries– may affect seafood prices worldwide.
According to the story, the state of Maryland receives about 2,000 bushels a day from Louisiana crabbers, and there is no end in sight for the oil spill. This void may pay dividends for local watermen, since the most bountiful Chesapeake blue crab season in 13 years began last month.
Jason Ruth, a regular Louisiana seafood buyer for a company in Grasonville, told the Associated Press, “Anytime you take that amount of resource out of play, it’s got to be affecting the prices some. To what extent, that’s yet to be seen.”
According to a May 8 report by Reuters, the oil spill is also spreading at the peak time for oyster reproduction in the gulf. To put this in perspective, the gulf provides almost 70 percent of the country’s oysters, with a value of $131.6 million in 2008.
If seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is banned long-term for health reasons, then one of Chesapeake watermen’s biggest competitors will be out of the running for a while.