Gulf Seafood Safety Remains Questionable
Although white shrimp areas in the Gulf have been opened for fishing, there is still concern that Gulf seafood may not be safe to eat. U.S. government BP oil spill response leader Thad Allen has reiterated that Gulf seafood is safe for consumption, citing that the seafood is undergoing more testing than other seafood.
Despite the reassurances of Allen and Jane Lubchenco, NOAA’s administration chief, some fishermen are seeing a significant drop in the demand for Gulf seafood. An official with the Alabama Seafood Association reports that several long-time distributors for Gulf seafood are canceling orders.
The sheer extent of the BP oil spill and the months spent trying to clean up the oil spill has had a devastating effect on the Gulf seafood industry. Along with the physical effect of the BP oil spill on the water and marine life, many shrimpers have been working for BP in oil spill skimming operations and in shoreline boom installations.
This situation is likely to change soon as BP has reduced its fleet of skimmers from 343 to 40. The question then remains, what will shrimpers do next? Will they fish for shrimp that no one wants, or will there even be enough shrimp available to make it worthwhile?