Monday, June 14, 2010

The Gulf Coast Dillema

Dealers beg for oysters as BP checks flow

With compensation checks easily available, oystering has slowed to a crawl on Apalachicola Bay.

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Commissioner Charles Bronson referred to the problem at a special county commission meeting Tuesday afternoon. He promised extra marketing support for the seafood industry and vowed to open the oyster bars for harvesting if oil contamination appears inevitable.

But, he added, “The problem right now appears to be finding someone to harvest the oysters.”

Seafood houses across the county say they are able to obtain barely 10 percent of their normal allotment of oysters.

Lynn Martina, owner of Lynn’s Quality Oysters on U.S. 98 in Eastpoint, said she is having trouble getting enough oysters to stay in business. She believes some oystermen are not working because they are receiving compensation from BP.

A representative of Water Street Seafood said they are receiving only about 10 percent of their normal take of oysters. At 13 Mile Seafood, the oyster house was able to obtain less than 20 percent of what it normally processes. A representative there said the hot weather might be partially responsible for the shortage.

The oil spill in the gulf is certainly impacting the economy of the gulf coast, but in unexpected ways. Which leaves the question to be answered, 'what happens when the oil really does come ashore and begin impacting marine life?'

Presently, man oyster houses are teetering on the edge of going out of business because of the gulf oil spill. Not because the oil has contaminated the oysters, but because BP has contaminated the oysterman fleet. BP is buying them off and hiring them to do mundane oil slick searches or simply paying them their average wages for doing nothing,

Which just goes to prove the oldest reality of charity and government.....'if you pay people not to work? They won't work.' So what happens in a few months when the oil contaminates and kills the oyster beds and there truly is no more work for these people.

You think the economy has been bad to date? Watch and see the impact that this disaster in the gulf is about to have.

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