Seafood industry suffering a slow down due to Gulf crisis

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA)_- The Coastal Crisis is prompting at least one major restaurant chain to pull oysters from its menu. So, what does this mean for seafood lovers?

As the crude continues to cause chaos on the coast, the shortening supply of seafood spells trouble.

Restaurant chain Red Lobster announced that it will pull oysters from their menu.  At the same time, some oyster processing plants in Louisiana are shutting down because of a dwindling supply of oysters.

"We really appreciate the workforce. We have a hard working, dedicated group here, and we want to see you back," said John Tesvich, President of AmeriPure Oysters, to his employees.

In Montgomery, eateries are still going strong though the price of these edible icons are growing.

"The oyster house will take what they call 'selects' and shuck them, and that's what we buy for our frying oysters, and they have almost doubled," stated Lewis Mashburn, owner of Capitol Oyster Bar.

Mr. Mashburn just received a fresh shipment of oysters from the Gulf but he says keeping the supply going is a day to day endeavor.

"My name's The Capitol Oyster Bar. I might have to change to the 'chicken shack' if I quit selling oysters," added Mashburn.

Luckily for customers the food keeps coming.

"I don't make a lot of money as a living, but when I sit down to eat seafood, I don't care if the dinner costs 100 dollars a pop. When I get ready to sit down and eat seafood, I'm going to eat it," stated seafood lover Johnny Henderson.

Meanwhile, owners try to shuck the severity of the moment and hope the oil stops before business does.

"When you walk out there and you see that pretty blue-green Gulf, and it's black, then there won't be any seafood, said Mashburn.

Restaurant owners are quick to point out that they do have options. If supplies on the Gulf dry up, they can turn to cold water oysters but they say the taste just isn't the same.

In the meantime, restaurateurs are hoping someone stops the leak so that the seafood industry will be able to rebound.

Montgomery's Red Lobster tells us the location is not affected because they already don't serve oysters.

Red Lobster provided the following comments concerning the diminishing supply of oysters. "The situation in the Gulf is tragic, and our hearts go out to the families of the workers who lost their lives in the initial explosion as well as everyone whose livelihoods depend on the Gulf. Red Lobster's oyster supplier, Ameripure, is a valued partner and we are saddened by the impact the oil spill has had on the company and its employees. We look forward to offering Ameripure oysters again as soon as they are able to return to operation."

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