Officials have announced a ban on fishing for at least 10 days in waters off Louisiana spanning to parts of the Florida panhandle as the oil slick from a leak spreads across the Gulf of Mexico.
Rough weather conditions are complicating crews’ efforts to contain the oil slick.
Seafood from the Gulf could become unavailable for months due to the calamitous environmental effects of the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform last week off Louisiana.
The oil reached the state’s coast last Thursday night.
On Friday, Gov Bob Riley said people and businesses can be compensated financially for their incurred losses by BP, the company responsible for the drilling platform and accident, Atmore Advance reports.
Prices of shrimp, oyster and other types of seafood harvested in the Gulf may soon be shooting up.
Oysters from Louisiana makes up about one-third of the country’s total oyster output, and the Gulf of Mexico is a prime spawning region for fish, shrimp and crabs.
“We have been getting our local oysters in containers from Mississippi and Louisiana suppliers,” said Joe Lewis, owner of East Brewton Seafood Market. “But we get our oysters in the shell from Appalachacola, but they are very expensive.”
“If things continue the way they are going, the prices will certainly go up,” he continued.
As many as 100 fishers are volunteering their vessels for the oil cleanup to take place in the coming weeks, according to Lewis.
“I may be able to get fish one more time,” said Lewis. “I get most of the seafood we sell here from Bayou LaBatre, and some fishers there have already stopped fishing to be able to use their boats in the clean-up.”
Local seafood markets like Family Seafood hundreds of miles away in places like South Norfolk, Virginia, could soon be feeling the impact of the fishing ban.
“We’ve already been told that shrimp and oyster prices will be going up,” said Ron Lucas of Chesapeake. “We are going to be relying more on local industry for the oysters.”
Fishers face a bleak situation in the Gulf.
“If this hits the shore, we’re ruined,” Lewis said. “If the problem isn’t contained and cleaned up, things are going to get tough. It looks rough right now.”
And if the oil gets into the Gulf Stream, it could potentially drift around Florida and up the country’s eastern coast, reports Wavy.