Not enough oysters to drive down prices

Not enough oysters to drive down prices
Friday, January 28, 2011 - 7:23pm

BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) – As we approach a critical time for the seafood industry, many are wondering how the waters fair in the wake of the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Of all the supply to be affected, none were more so than oysters.

The cool months are typically reserved for the best product at the lowest price. However, a downgrade in the number of fishermen on the water is causing the prices to stagnate. Currently they sit at a price more commonly seen in the summer months, when supply is lower and the product is not as bountiful.

“This is supposed to be a seasonal time when the prices go down, but that hasn’t happened because of the limited fishing,” Robby Walker, Louisiana Seafood Exchange, explained. “It’s the lack of fishing that’s thwarting the supply. If everything was the way it was before the BP spill, this would be the ideal time to buy oysters.”

But everything is not the same. The tide for the Louisiana Seafood Industry changed, and it’s one that continues to fight against the negative publicity.

“I certainly think we can put a very positive spin on all the great seafood we have in Louisiana,” Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne said when discussing the new marketing effort to combat the perceptions created against the brand during the height of the spill. “It’s abundant and delicious, and we want to make certain people all across the country know that.”

For now, suppliers are able to keep up with the demand and have had no problem filling orders. However, if the fishermen do not get back on the water, consumers may continue to see a high price when paying the bill.

“There’s not enough supply to force the prices down,” Walker continued to explain. “So those people who are getting product are paying a little higher for it.”

As for the ones serving up the seafood delight, many are saying they’re seeing a return of customers, which is positive news for the rebounding industry.

The coming months will see an even higher increase in consumption due to Lent. However, the height of Oyster sales is actually experienced at the end of November and December, and then again on Valentines Day.

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