The Gulf oil spill has shown to be not only an environmental tragedy but also to the tourist industry and the seafood and fishing community. Thanks to 24 hour coverage of the disaster - both legit and trumped up stories on the extent of the damage - it appears that not only are families cancelling vacations but also not eating Gulf seafood.
Please know this - the Gulf seafood being sold in markets and in restaurants is safe. It has been tested and re-tested. Gulf seafood for sale has never been safer. Increased scrutiny insures safety.
This article speaks to an independently run test that verifies the complete safety in eating Gulf of Mexico seafood.
“Normally, at this time, the buyers are hunting me down and this year it seems like I’m working on securing buyers,” said Kim Chauvin, a third-generation shrimper and co-owner of Mariah Jade Shrimp Company, part of Louisiana’s $1.3 billion pre-spill shrimp industry. “Demand has fallen off drastically. Sales that were secure prior to the spill were canceled. I had one customer who said that he bought Indonesian shrimp instead.”
Chauvin says that less than a quarter of the area’s shrimp fleet was out at sea last week—the industry employs 14,000 people in Louisiana alone—due to low prices. Many of them, ironically, have chosen instead to work for BP on oil cleanup, via its Vessels of Opportunity program. “Our biggest hurdle is going to be to try and get our market back,” said Chauvin. “If we can’t build the confidence back into the consumer, we are done.”
There is a glimpse into the ignorance within the restaurant industry, too. Fortunately, there was a Chicago chef present at this Taste of Chicago festival to protest the spreading of fear of Gulf coast seafood consumption.
The economic atmosphere is bad enough in our country. Let's not add to it needlessly. Support your brothers and sisters on the Gulf coast. Buy and eat seafood. It's a delicious way to share the love.