Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gulf Seafood Update, Fisheries Tour, and the Local Picture

Posted By on Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 5:12 AM

BP has agreed to fund three years of testing for Florida seafood and a marketing campaign to keep consumers informed, according to a story in USA Today. The company will spend $20 million over three years, half on testing seafood for petroleum contamination from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The other half will be spent on a marketing campaign. Florida's seafood sales have recovered about 75 percent of pre-spill levels, a Department of Agriculture official told the paper.

Gulf oysters at a local bar, 2009
  • Gulf oysters at a local bar, 2009
Over at Serious Eats, writer Kenji Lopez-Alt did something I've wanted to do for months: visited Louisiana fisheries and seafood restaurants for a firsthand look at the damage, recovery and general condition of the business from a diner's perspective. He confirmed the impression I've gotten from NOAA data and anecdotal reports that seafood is more closely tested and inspected than ever before, and that the oil spill's damage was largely to the product's image rather than the seafood itself.

Lopez-Alt sampled from menus and visited fisheries in southern Louisiana and found that seafood has returned to Louisiana's restaurant tables, fishermen are wary of ramping up their catch to pre-spill levels because consumers, even locals, remain wary.

If you want to support the Gulf, Publix carries Gulf shrimp while Gulf oysters and a few other fish are available at Gulf Pride seafood at the Factory at Franklin, though J.D., the proprietor, says the oysters are scarce and cost almost three times what they did before the spill. Whole Foods carries Apalachicola oysters and red snapper and grouper from the Gulf.

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