The BP oil spill has put all of South Florida in an officially declared State of Emergency. Not long before that announcement was made, we reached out to seafood industry folks like Chef Jonathan Eismann and one of his longtime purveyors, Christopher Twiss, as part of our continuing coverage on the spill's effects on our local fisheries and the seafood we eat.
Here's what Eismann and Twiss had to say about the situation and its effects on snapper, grouper, swordfish, shrimp, stone crab, clams, and all the catch that make area waters great.
Jonathan Eismann - Chef/Owner - Pacific Time
"From an environmental standpoint it's a fucking nightmare. I'm not buying
anything from south of the Carolinas. Nothing from Mexico or the Gulf Coast.
off the phone with my purveyor, guy I've known 15 years and am very
close with. He shows me origin on everything. By law you have to have where the fish came from on the receipt. He uses very reliable local
fishermen from up around Boca Raton, Pompano, but why don't you give him a call, see what he's got to say?"
Christopher Twiss - Manager - PT Seafood and The Fish Peddler
"We're a wholesale seafood company and a retail market. I sell to Jonathan Eismann at Pacific Time, Sean Bernal at the Oceanaire, a lot of guys in Palm Beach and Broward, Chef Paul at Soyka, Nicholas at Joe Allen, Sergio at Casa Tua, Alberto at STK.
It's not very good, my friend.
It's gonna be devastating for the guys in the Gulf. The red snapper, the swordfishermen, the farm raised clams up in the panhandle, the oyster guys. Had this happened 6 months ago think about the stone crabs. It might have shut down whole industry. I don't know what happens when they start dropping next year's traps back in the water.
This is just starting and it's gonna go on for years, not good. It's devastating.
Some people say the ocean will eat up most of the oil, we'll see.
These are Floridians that are affected and are going to lose jobs. These are our neighbors we count on for food. Like, I can start buying Northern hardshell clams that aren't affected, but then our neighbors lose our business. I don't know what's gonna happen. Maybe it ends up good, but I doubt it.
The real devastation could come for the stone crabs out of the Southern Gulf down there in Fort Meyers, Naples , and Everglades City. If this thing moves down through there and gets in that fishery.
Some fish might swim away, but the crabs aren't gonna crawl 1,000 miles, they're gonna hunker down in the sand and hold tight. You might say, well, the oil's on top of the water and that's not where they eat, but they do eat stuff that eats on top of the water, so it just goes right up the food chain.
The importers have guys in South America. They'll catch fish and replace ours, but our guys will be put out of business. 90 percent of my business is fish from local fishermen.
You're probably gonna see an increase in prices in the slow season when they usually drop.
Grouper, red snapper, a good percentage of that stuff comes out of the Gulf.
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And up in the Northern Gulf, that's where all the oyster beds are, Apalachicola.
We still haven't even talked about the shrimp. The pinks, and whites, and browns.
Everybody's nervous right now. Nobody's sure what's gonna happen, but everybody's definitely nervous."