Currency of the Waters

Last year we visited Captain Jonathan’s Seafood at the Shrimp Lot in Westwego, Louisiana. It’s one of the many family-owned businesses that have worked Louisiana’s rivers, bayous, and gulfs for generations to deliver the freshest seafood to a shellfish hungry nation.
The state leads in domestic production of shrimp, oysters, crawfish, and crab, but it’s still a modest amount, considering that over 80% of the some 5 billion pounds of seafood consumed in the U.S. each year is imported.
Still, Gulf shrimpers and fishermen have fought hard to keep domestic seafood competitive in a time of global competition, rising fuel prices, and a rigid post-harvesting regime.
Back on their feet after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, this “little industry that could” now faces its latest obstacle, and it’s a potentially colossal one. The long-term effects of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill on the local shellfish population are currently unknown, but it stands to damage not just the Gulf seafood industry, but the larger U.S. economy as well.
Louisiana has a culinary tradition steeped in all things briny—think crawfish étouffée, oyster po’boys and seafood gumbo—and it’s a cuisine that’s greatly influenced the American palate.
Many of us know well the draw of Gulf-harvested seafood: we relish the delicate sweetness of fresh blue crab claws, and geek out about the perfect salinity of an oyster shooter.
We rely on people like Captain Jonathan, and they, on us. As these shrimpers and fishermen wait to measure the impact of this spill on their livelihood, it’s an unsettling time, and they need our support, now more than ever.

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Currency of the Waters

Last year we visited Captain Jonathan’s Seafood at the Shrimp Lot in Westwego, Louisiana. It’s one of the many family-owned businesses that have worked Louisiana’s rivers, bayous, and gulfs for generations to deliver the freshest seafood to a shellfish hungry nation.

The state leads in domestic production of shrimp, oysters, crawfish, and crab, but it’s still a modest amount, considering that over 80% of the some 5 billion pounds of seafood consumed in the U.S. each year is imported.

Still, Gulf shrimpers and fishermen have fought hard to keep domestic seafood competitive in a time of global competition, rising fuel prices, and a rigid post-harvesting regime.

Back on their feet after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, this “little industry that could” now faces its latest obstacle, and it’s a potentially colossal one. The long-term effects of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill on the local shellfish population are currently unknown, but it stands to damage not just the Gulf seafood industry, but the larger U.S. economy as well.

Louisiana has a culinary tradition steeped in all things briny—think crawfish étouffée, oyster po’boys and seafood gumbo—and it’s a cuisine that’s greatly influenced the American palate.

Many of us know well the draw of Gulf-harvested seafood: we relish the delicate sweetness of fresh blue crab claws, and geek out about the perfect salinity of an oyster shooter.

We rely on people like Captain Jonathan, and they, on us. As these shrimpers and fishermen wait to measure the impact of this spill on their livelihood, it’s an unsettling time, and they need our support, now more than ever.