Gulf industry preps for Isaac
By Christine Blank, SeafoodSource contributing editor
28 August, 2012
fishermen should be back to fishing later this week, provided that Tropical
Storm Isaac causes minimal damage to infrastructure in the region. The storm is
predicted to increase intensity to hurricane status and make landfall late
Tuesday or early Wednesday in the central Gulf Coast area.
or Friday, we should get back to fishing. It all depends on the infrastructure
damage and access to ice and fuel,” said Harlon Pearce, chairman of the
Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board and owner of Harlon’s LA Fish
& Seafood in Kenner, La.
On a Monday
conference call with the Board, seafood industry representatives agreed that
getting ice to damaged fisheries will be one of the industry’s priorities.
“After Katrina, one thing that jump-started the fishery was ice,” Pearce said.
Isaac is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane early Wednesday, the
seventh anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina that killed 1,800. The
Louisiana seafood industry is bracing for a predicted 10 to 18 inches of rain.
Isaac may interrupt seafood deliveries for the short term, but Pearce and
others do not expect major damage. “If the storm comes east of us, it will
actually clean the water out a bit,” Pearce said.
that it will be a week to 10 days to get back to business [processing shrimp],”
said C. David Veal, executive director of the American Shrimp Processors
Association in Biloxi, Miss. Gulf shrimpers have been unloading boats over the
last few days and the processing plants have been operating “at full capacity,”
“Most of the
plants will get through processing today, and then they can batten down the
hatches and get to safe cover,” Veal said. Hurricane Isaac comes at a bad time
for shrimp processors, Veal added. “There is pressure on shrimp prices because
of a weak economy. The restaurant trade hasn’t rebounded, and that is where
most of our [product] goes,” Veal said.
storm brings up “bad memories” of Katrina, it will certainly not have the same
impact on the seafood industry. “Hurricane Isaac won’t have impact for weeks or
months. I think we will weather this fine,” Veal said.
it is just sort of prepare and wait. As a state, we are more prepared than we
ever were before: Katrina taught us that,” Pearce said.
28 August, 2012