"But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever." - John Adams

Friday, June 18, 2010

134 years and 1 oil spill later, P&J Oyster Company is out of oysters

Owner Al Sunseri, who I interviewed days after the BP Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, tells CNN he had to send his workers home Friday."My son -- who is delivering oysters right now -- he asked me yesterday, 'Should I go apply for food stamps?'" Sunseri told CNN."I started here when I was 21, and I remember how I wanted to carry on the tradition of our business and I remember the feeling of not only the pressures of trying to carry on this long-standing business but also the opportunity that I had to do it," he said. P&J is the oldest oyster company in America, based in the French Quarter for 134-years, and provides oysters to many of New Orleans most famous seafood restaurants. When I talked to Sunseri in April, only 10 days after the spill, he was concerned but not fatalistic."Well, Lou, if it's not one thing it's another. We dealt with the (proposed Gulf Coast oyster) ban earlier this year, now this ... it's looking pretty bad," Sunseri told Beyond Horizon.Today, any optimism he had has disappeared. He has told his employees to work with BP for compensation over lost wages.Over the last decade or more, the Gulf of Mexico has provided about two thirds of the nation's oysters, according to federal data. In 2008, Louisiana landed nearly 13 million pounds of oysters, about $40 million worth.Further clouding the future of Sunseri and countless oystermen across the gulf is the fact that its spawning season for young oysters that usually take 18 to 24 months to grow to market size.Lou Rom, an award-winning investigative reporter, with over 2,000 articles published, hosts Lou Rom Live weekdays from 4-6 pm on KVOL1330. Contact him at kvolou@yahoo.com
Posted by Beyond Horizon: What to expect at 1:13 PM

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