Louisiana Oyster Beds Threatened by Blown-Out Oil Well – Gulf Coast

Louisiana Oyster

Oyster growers and harvesters are facing a double threat. Oil gushing from the blown-out well off Louisiana could contaminate the beds, killing the oysters or rendering them unsafe to eat. On the other hand, a method of fighting the encroaching oil by opening inland water diversion gates in hopes of pushing the oil back also could kill oysters. The fresh inland water dilutes saltier waters oysters need to thrive. Complicating the problem: It’s spawning season for young oysters that usually take 18 to 24 months to grow to market size.

John Rotonti, owner of Felix’s Oyster Bar and Restaurant, said he has yet to run out of oysters for his raw bar just off Bourbon Street in the French Quarter tourist district. He must absorb escalating prices and face uncertain supplies.
At some point, he said, he’ll have to close the raw bar that is the trademark of his business and probably lay off a half-dozen shuckers.

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