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While New Orleans is still reeling from Hurricane Katrina, this latest Gulf Coast oil spill is not helping matters much. Local fisheries and fishermen are preparing to be shut down by the encroaching oil. Clearly, this disaster will have a major financial impact upon the region, as well as a culinary effect. Already, state authorities have issued a precautionary restriction on select offshore fishing areas and federal waters for the portion of the Gulf of Mexico impacted by the spill. Seafood will not be harvested from those areas.
Not only does Emeril Lagasse own three restaurants in New Orleans (as well as one closer to home in Miami Beach), but he is the unofficial spokesperson for his adopted city. The telegenic toque is quite concerned about the situation. "Our thoughts are particularly with Louisiana's hard-working fishermen, shrimpers and seafood purveyors, who are the heart and soul of our community," Lagasse says. "We hope the situation is resolved soon and that the impact can be minimized as much as possible. While there are still many unknowns about the outcome of this spill, we are confident in the extensive safety precautions taking place and the high quality of the seafood products we are still able to get from our local fisheries."
As the spill spreads, affected seafood will include shrimp, oysters and crabs. At the very least, expect rising prices for these briny products until the situation is resolved. Hopefully, the oil pollution will not make its way to Miami or the Keys.