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Oil leak affecting seafood prices in Raleigh

Posted May 10, 2010
Updated June 18, 2010

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— As 4 million gallons of crude oil continue to leak into the Gulf of Mexico, seafood stores and restaurants in Raleigh have already started feeling the effects of the spill.

Louisiana normally provides 35 percent of the oysters sold in North America and nearly half of the shrimp. With that market shut off, restaurants and seafood markets nationwide have scrambled to keep up their supply.

At Capital Seafood-Market in Raleigh, oysters are usually sold year-round.

“We could sell 60 to 70 bags of oysters Friday and Saturday,” Capital Seafood owner Dwayne Greene said.

But Greene said he decided not to buy oysters from Louisiana after the spill, and the seafood he is selling doesn't come from the Gulf.

“We don't get any of our seafood from down in the Gulf, but everything that we have on our counter has gone up in price,” Greene said.

The oil leak has already shut down Gulf Coast commercial fisheries and has threatened fishing workers’ livelihoods. Greene said so far, his wholesale seafood prices have risen 5 percent in just one week.

“All I can do is eventually pass it on to the customer base. But right now, we are hoping it won't be long, so we are kind of maintaining our prices across the board,” he added.

Chef Adam Jones said the spill has forced Michael Dean's Restaurant in Raleigh to buy oysters from Texas and South Florida. He checks daily to see how far the oil slick has spread.

“If the oil slick goes west, we will have to source out different oysters. We also carry a lot of cold-water oysters – oysters from New England, Canada, the West Coast. So, there are other options for us,” Jones said.

A blast at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, led to the leak on April 20.

BP is trying several options to stop the flow of oil. Officials say if the gusher continues as it has, it could surpass the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound by June 20. About 11 million gallons leaked from the oil tanker in 1989.

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  • ratherbnnc May 12, 2010

    I wonder if the Govt. will step in and provide subsidies for those who will be devastated when the oil makes it to the east coast? Becuase it's coming if the incompetent people in charge now don't get the leak stopped. Outter Banks, the Sounds, the entire east coast beaches covered in oil. How does that sound!

    Under Federal law, BP is responsible for paying and equally responsible for stopping the leak.

  • ratherbnnc May 12, 2010

    the cost of going offshore is very expensive with the price of marine fuel which can be up to 25 cents higher per gallon for gas than for autos.

    somewhat correct. The high cost of marine fuel comes from demand not because of taxes. Many people do not know that marine fuel is not subject to the highway use taxes, which should make the price lower..but..You still pay some taxes, but under law you can deduct the taxes on your income tax returns
    as being non highway use. If you own a boat you can justify it.

  • HorseVideosClassified May 11, 2010

    ncguy - you are right on target - almost all seafood comes from Asia now. Get this, even Sanitary Fish Market, in Morehead City, buys their shrimp from Asia. So glad they support their local fishermen!! We only dine at local restaurants in the Morehead City area that serve fish caught locally. Please ask before you dine. Mpheels - great idea - but catching fish yourself is very expensive too - the cost of going offshore is very expensive with the price of marine fuel which can be up to 25 cents higher per gallon for gas than for autos.

  • ncguy May 11, 2010

    People don't realize that most of the fish in your supermarket comes from asia and commercial stocked ponds.

    If there is not a sign saying where it was caught then you have just purchased from asia.

  • mpheels May 11, 2010

    By all means support local fishermen, but the cost of NC caught fish is also going to increase as the overall supply of fresh seafood decreases due to the oil spill. If you really want to save money on fresh seafood you're going to have to catch it yourself.

  • 5-113 FA Retired May 11, 2010

    The price of carp just doubled.

  • wralgolo2 May 11, 2010

    Excellent idea. Always try to support your local businesses.

    mrsgaskill wrote:
    Here's an idea...why not buy from the fisherman in NC? Take a trip to Wanchese or even to Wilmington and buy "local". Support our NC fisherman!

  • NoFreakinWay May 11, 2010

    I wonder if the Govt. will step in and provide subsidies for those who will be devastated when the oil makes it to the east coast? Becuase it's coming if the incompetent people in charge now don't get the leak stopped. Outter Banks, the Sounds, the entire east coast beaches covered in oil. How does that sound!

  • mrsgaskill May 11, 2010

    Here's an idea...why not buy from the fisherman in NC? Take a trip to Wanchese or even to Wilmington and buy "local". Support our NC fisherman!

  • wralgolo2 May 11, 2010

    I wonder if the government will step in and provide subsidies for those who cannot afford to purchase seafood. Because after all, high priced seafood will cause economic inequalities and you cannot have that.