Gulf oil spill affecting local seafood prices

June 8, 2010 3:26:55 PM PDT
The crisis in the Gulf is affecting the price of fish, especially shrimp. Nearly 10 percent of shrimp eaten by Americans comes from the Gulf. With seafood prices up more than 30 percent, people are wondering if price gouging is occurring.

Shrimp caught in the Gulf of Mexico and packaged and frozen before the oil spill, 50 days ago, are a rare commodity. As a result, at wholesalers, like Ans Seafood in Elmsford, NY, the price of shrimp has gone up 10 to 15 percent. Production in the Gulf hasn't just slowed. It's completely shut down.

Many retailers, like Mt. Kisco Seafood, prefer shrimp from countries like Honduras and Panama. Yet, they're affected because the shortage in the Gulf has increased demand for South American imports. Prices are up 75 cents a pound.

The Gulf yields oysters, red snapper and speckled trout, but those items can be found in other waters. Much of the seafood in our area comes from the Northeast, such as swordfish from Maryland. For now, experts believe the biggest concern is if the spill moves from the Gulf and into the Atlantic.

Nevertheless, people are concerned about the rise in prices. At wholesalers and retailers the hope is the same: people want the leak in the gulf to be stopped sooner rather than later.

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