Gulf Seafood- To Eat or Not To Eat?


Man, I love Gulf seafood. I love the shrimp. I love the crab. I love the redfish. I love the oysters. I love it all. That's why I do not plan on eating any for quite some time – not from the Gulf.


There is a movement afoot saying that in order to save gulf seafood one must eat it. While I believe that makes absolute sense for farm-raised and grown animals and products like rare heritage breeds, for which a market must be made so that farmers can afford to raise, grow and save them, it is a different story for wild seafood, especially seafood from the Gulf now and for the foreseeable future. The oil spill has been absolutely devastating and not just to the creatures of the sea whose very existences are threatened. Millions of migratory birds and other animals that rely on feeding in the Gulf's many waterways are suffering as evidenced by photos of their oil-saturated bodies. It may be some time before the full environmental effects of the spill are apparent in other parts of the country and the world. If the flap of a single butterfly's wings has the potential to change the world, what about something as egregious as this? 


It is also devastating to the many people who rely on the Gulf seafood culture for their livelihoods – the fishermen, the shrimpers, the crabbers, the oystermen and so many more. Important skills and traditions are in great danger of being lost, a tragic possibility.


The problem with wild caught seafood is that the stocks of many of the most delicious sea creatures such as the bluefin tuna are already under extreme pressure. Now with the Gulf environment under unprecedented pressure, there are probably relatively few areas where the wild stocks can still survive, let alone thrive. I believe that for the foreseeable future, these stocks should be allowed to maintain themselves and recover as best they can. If people continue to look to eat Gulf seafood, then they will have to be fished from whatever "safe" areas are left, putting even more stress on an already stressed out system. No, I think in order to save Gulf seafood we must let that which can survive, survive. Unfortunately, the fishing traditions may very well be lost. However, if, through our efforts to "save" them there aren't any fish left in the sea to catch, then said traditions would be lost regardless. Hopefully, if and when the Gulf gets cleaned up, enough fish and skilled people who know how to catch them in a sustainable fashion will still be around. I dream for that day again.


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