What? No talk about the oil spill? [moved from New Orleans]
I'm surprised to see that no one is talking about the oil spill and how that will effect the New Orleans food and fishing industry.
For the locals, what's the word on the street? What are people saying about the clean up efforts (or lack there of)? How will our favorite restaurants handle this? What's going to be safe to eat/not eat?
I leave in less than a week for a mini vacay to New Orleans. This news has shocked and saddened me, but I'm determined to help support the local economy of this great city.... I guess I just won't be having any raw oysters this time.
We are all, I'm sure, incredibly saddened (by the scope of this disaster and the presumed deaths of 11 workers). And some of us are angry--esp. when hearing that oil companies balked at the cost of "acoustic switches" that could have averted much of this catastrophe and that the govt. failed to require them.
Soon, all of us, all over the country, will feel the economic impact via seafood shortages and higher food prices. Much more worrisome is the threat to our estuaries, our wetlands, our wildlife, to the livelihoods of our beleaguered fishermen/women.
As the news gets worse and worse, most, I suspect, remain in a state of shock.
No, you probably won't be eating any Gulf oysters or fresh Gulf fish or shrimp any time soon. But thank you for coming and supporting New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Looks like we will need that support--once again--desperately.
Gulf Coast Restaurants
1200 S Clearview Pkwy, New Orleans, LA 70123
The impact on food is not too clear at the moment. Shrimp season was opened early to allow as much fishing as possible. I also read that the east side of the river is closed to commercial fishing, but I don't know the exact parameters of the banned area. A friend who is a charter captain switched his operations to the west side of the river. Everything else is pretty much speculation, but i'm guessing we'll see seafood prices rise and see more imports.
FYI, the acoustic switch wouldn't have done any good, and I'm sick of people pointing to that saying that BP skimped and that skimp would have averted disaster. The acoustic switch is just that - a switch. No switches failed. That much became clear when they tried to close the BOP manually with the ROV. If you can't close a BOP manually, it ain't gonna close with a remote switch. It's like trying to turn on a TV that's not plugged in. Going out to buy a remote control aint gonna turn it on. Word on the street is that the completion cement possibly backed up into the BOP and once there set-up, freezing the BOP. I'm guessing some industrious reporter with the wall street journal wrote the story before the ROV was sent down, but it's since taken on a life of it's own. One more time... the acoustic switch wouldn't have done anything.
Agreed, the scope of the impact on the seafood industry can't be known. That it will be quite negative is quite clear. Having been to the farmers' markets and the big seafood market in Westwego in the past couple of days, I can tell you most assuredly that the fishermen/women are plenty worried--and plenty disgusted.
Will we have access to seafood? Sure, current stores are safe and after that we can get it from other places, at a cost. Or buy the Chinese stuff. For me, that's pretty unsettling. Will our restaurants sell tainted seafood? Of course not. Will they suffer? Almost certainly, as tourists and locals alike will worry about the safety of any seafood sold here.
I'm no engineer--and this is a food site, anyway--so I'm not going to debate the merits of the acoustic switch (which didn't fail--it didn't exist; AS stories have been reported by most of the major news organizations/papers/networks). What I did say, in response to the OP's question, is that "some of us are angry" when we hear that oil companies balked at the expense. And some of us are--at least that's the word on the streets I walk down--when we hear such things, whether you like it or not. I never said anything about BP per se (have actually heard some seafood people say BP is one of the more environmentally aware oil companies although I certainly don't know if that's true). My anger stems from the fact that the oil companies have fought regulation for years as they've reaped huge profits and been instrumental in the damage to our wetlands. I don't criticize the oil industry lightly: oil is obviously vital to the Louisiana economy (but the federal govt. has so far denied us our fair share of oil revenues); my own father's fortunes rose and fell with the oil industry; my brother works in the industry--and disagrees with me on regulation issues.
Call me crazy, but I'd rather pay $6/gallon for gas if it meant our precious natural resources were protected, our environment were safe, and our local fishermen/women could make a decent living. I've heard the arguments that the industry is pretty safe, accidents are rare, but when they occur, well, that's the price of doing business in big oil. Our appetite for fossil fuels is damned costly. For some of us, this price is too high.
All of us here love to eat our local specialties. I hope we'll remember where those foods come from and the folks who make it possible for us to eat them.
Here's an article interviewing a few chefs about what's going on:
Gist of it is we really won't know for sure until next week or so, but 60% of oyster production has been shut down as well as some shrimping. Seems like east of the river is going to be not good for a while. It's extremely upsetting.
You'll still have oysters in less than a week because they were harvested prior to the "landfall" of oil. But the future does not look good. We have no facts to work with regarding responisbility or "acoustic devices" etc. and I think that, despite the looming disaster, we must be fair. I've heard every "truth" available except for Space Aliens being at fault--that will come in time. It ain't good, though. We have rain coming and we must hope that wind will drive this slick away before it gets too far inland (or "inmarsh")
On the Great Lake's section, a query was made re: crayfish and the subject turned immediately to the disaster. Believe me, we here in the Detroit area are very, very concerned, not only about losing the shellfish but more about the people that depend on the industry for their livelihoods. We know what it's like to suffer that kind of loss (autos) and the ripple effect that results. We're all praying for you.