Oyster farmers still feeling affects of oil spill

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Things are looking bleak for Louisiana’s oyster farmers.

The crop this year is small. Prices, as a result, are up, but there are so few of the delicious delicacies that oyster farmers and processors are worried about their industry.

That industry is no small affair.

Louisiana’s oyster business accounts for a $300 million-per-year economic impact.

Since the devastating BP oil spill in 2010, the oyster crop has suffered.

The damage was not so much from the oil itself but from the massive amounts of fresh water the state poured into the coastal wetlands to keep the oil from intruding inland.

While that strategy appeared to work on the oil, it damaged the oyster crop, which is sensitive to the salinity of the water and can be killed off by even slight changes.

Even now, more than three years removed from the spill, the farmers and processors say the lingering effects are difficult to ignore.

“It’s not a decline; it’s zero population,” said Steve Voisin of Houma’s Motivatit Seafood. “I remain optimistic because I’ve seen it come back time and time again, but I’ve never seen it so low.”

Those are some daunting words from a local oyster expert.

The painful anecdotes extend to the people who grow and harvest the oysters.

“I’ve got three boats and only one is working,” said Nick Collins, of Golden Meadow. “We just don’t have enough oysters. We are getting a great price for what we have. You can’t complain because it’s going, but the future is still very grim.”

There is some promise on the horizon.

Continue reading story at: http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20131204/OPINION/131209788/1026/news01?Title=Oyster-farmers-still-feeling-affects-of-oil-spill#gsc.tab=0

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