Prices rise as buyers stockpile Gulf seafood
Expecting shortages as the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill continued to spread in the Gulf of Mexico, seafood purveyors rushed to stockpile and helped drive up the prices of shrimp and oysters. Now, as the Independent of Lafayette, La., reports, restaurateurs are scrambling for substitutes:
“I’m taking oyster poboys off my menu,” says Justin Girouard, chef/owner of The French Press. “They’ve gone up $4 a gallon.” Girouard is feeling the pinch when it comes to fresh crabmeat as well. “Crab is basically at winter prices, $24.99 a pound for jumbo lump. That’s the same price as December.”
As we noted last week (Frankie and Johnny’s Sue BP), seafood restaurants are joining a lengthening list of claimants against BP. At the start of this week, the Obama administration declared a commercial fisheries failure in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, paving the way for federal grants to offset fisheries’ financial losses. The next day, May 25, NOAA extended the closed fishing area in the Gulf of Mexico to match the Louisiana state waters closure west of the previous boundaries and to include an area to the southwest where oil has been reported. The closed area now represents 54,096 miles, slightly more than 22% of Gulf federal waters. See the NOAA map.
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