Katrina and Red Tide Closes Apalachicola Oyster Bay

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

The Shrimp Man, that's what he's known as, that's what he's known for.

He also sells oysters. But right now oysters are the last thing on his mind. With Apalachicola Bay closed due to red tide and Hurricane Katrina, oysters are tough to come by.

The Shrimp Man as he prefers to be called says, that he "will not handle any oyster until Apalachicola comes back, that way I know it's a good oyster and it will be safe to eat"

Many seafood business owners we spoke with told us they are substituting oyster purchases from Apalachicola for oysters in Panacea, Florida or Texas, but with Hurricane Rita headed to the Longhorn State, others say they don't know what additional impact it will have on the oyster supply.

The Shrimp Man says, "It's hurt our economy, it's hurt everybody in New Orleans, It's hurt Bayou La Batre, that was a shrimping town, a lot of people are out of work, their boats are gone, their homes are gone, it's just a bad time for a lot of people in the seafood industry"

Normally, if imported from Apalachicola the costs of oysters would be about $25 - $27 a bag, but with a 30 to 40 percent increase in oysters, experts predict the price could be passed down to customers.

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