Flickr photo by mccun934The impact of the enormous oil spill spreading into the Gulf of Mexico is going to reach far and wide for years to come. From tourism to gas prices, many industries could be hit from the fallout, but perhaps none quite so directly as the seafood industry.
Already restrictions have been placed on fishing along the 6,800 miles of the Gulf Coast, which produces about 40 percent of our country's seafood.
Seafood-lovers and those who make a living serving it up are worried about the safety, availability, and potential price hikes that may come in the aftermath. In some locations, people are racing to scoop up shrimp, crabs, oysters, and other favorites before they become scare.
While concerns are running highest along the Gulf Coast, restaurants everywhere are nervous, a spokesperson for the National Restaurant Association told CNN. She predicted the spill will affect the "supply and price of seafood for restaurants nationwide that serve products from this area."
So is it safe to bring home shrimp and other seafood specialties from your local grocer? Yes, say officials.
"Don't worry about any of the products in retail stores," says Steven Wilson, chief quality officer of the seafood inspection program at the United States Department of Commerce. "This was all harvested and processed prior to the storm."
As for future harvests, strict testing measures will be taken to ensure contaminated fish doesn't enter stores and restaurants. However, some scientists say that even if you did eat an oil-tainted species, there would likely be no negative effect and that the smell would be so unappealing that you probably wouldn't do so anyway.
Does the spill make you fearful of seafood?