Louisiana lobbies for monitoring and marketing its seafood
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) biologists are reported to be collecting thousands of specimens of crab, shrimp and finfish in the waters east of the Mississippi Delta for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) testing and analysis that, hopefully, will support a conclusion that the area is safe from hydrocarbons and dispersants released following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill — and a decision to reopen waters now closed to commercial fishing.
At the same time, the seafood industry and state leaders continue to fight for a long-term testing-and-monitoring program that could last up to 20 years, paired with a nationwide marketing campaign to promote local seafood, says the Daily Comet.com of Lafourche Parish. Urging decades of special precautions while promoting care-free consumption here and now could be tricky. In pressing its case that the spill’s damage to its fisheries merits considerable compensation, Louisiana risks warning off seafood consumers.
Meanwhile, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tells us Louisiana oysters and shrimp are back on the menu (at the higher prices that inevitably follow short supplies). The problem is getting the word out and the customers in. Tommy Cvitanovich, owner of New Orleans’ Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, told the American Statesman, “The biggest challenge we have is telling people we have oysters. Since Katrina, we’ve only had three shifts with no oysters. And they’re healthy. This is the most scrutinized seafood in the U.S.”
Update 9/3/10: The NOAA announced it has reopened 3,114 square miles of Gulf waters offshore of the western Florida panhandle to commercial and recreational fishing after fish caught in the area and tested by NOAA showed no signs of contamination. This is in addition to 5,130 square miles reopened yesterday. The closed area now covers 39,855 square miles or about 17% of federal waters in the Gulf, down from 37% at the height of the closure on June 2.
Date posted: September 1, 2010