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Increasing seafood prices one of many “side effects” to the oil spill

May 27, 2010

(Brace yourself, today I’ve got a full dose of snark for you).

Oh hey, you know that oil spill affecting the gulf coast? The one that is the worst, yes, the worst oil spill in U.S. history? The one that caused Elizabeth Birnbaum to be fired resign? Well, there have been several articles detailing some of what I’ll call the “side effects” to this environmental disaster. And that is….. a price increase in seafood.

Millions of shrimp airlifted from oil spill disaster zone, via The Onion

Forget the complete and utter devastation of all marine and bird life. Forget the ecosystem of mangroves and marshes that will probably never fully recover. Forget the people that will be sickened by trying to help. No no, what we really need to be concerned about is how much we are going to pay for our shrimp this summer. And you know the most ironic part? Most of the seafood that you think is local … is not.

Take shrimp for example. Shrimp farming is a multi-billion dollar a year aquaculture business. Much of it is grown in places like China, Thailand and South America.

So how will you take your Gulf Coast seafood? Oysters with a nice oil-saturated mignonette sauce? Oiled crab cakes? Or shall we import? Chinese “gulf coast” shrimp?

Okay, enough with the sarcasm. The truth is, the price of food should be relevant to its environmental status. If we cause a disaster as profound as the BP oil spill, maybe we shouldn’t be eating seafood. The economy and the environment are linked. Our ability to eat seafood depends on whether we harvest it sustainably. You can’t poison one area of ocean one day and expect clean ocean-raised shrimp the next. We can come up with all the man-made, technological fixes in the world, but if we continue to poison our environment, no amount of money will save us.

So I guess what I’m saying is the most important thing is to KNOW WHERE YOUR FOOD COMES FROM. Know it, protect it and cherish it.

image via The Onion

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 1, 2010 2:54 am

    As we pray for the recovery of the Gulf, this is a prime opportunity to invest in inland aquaculture. There are more than 800 facilities in Louisiana alone. Most small scale making less than 100K a year. With the proper investment of time and money by the state, local universities and the private sector these could be ramped up to create green jobs, replace part of the lost wild catch and save the economy. If the region is to survive the mantra must change from Drill Baby Drill to Grow Baby Grow.

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