May 3 (Bloomberg) -- Shrimp prices are likely to jump, a government fishing-industry specialist said, after federal authorities shut down fisheries along the Gulf Coast as the BP Plc oil spill crept closer to the crustaceans’ grounds.
Fishing is closed for at least 10 days from the mouth of the Mississippi River to areas off of Florida’s Pensacola Bay, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said yesterday. Oil has been gushing at a rate of 5,000 barrels a day, and the agency estimated the slick may rival Alaska’s 1989 Exxon Valdez incident as the worst-ever in the U.S.
If the spill is “as bad as they say it’s going to be, I don’t know how much fishing there’s going to be in that area,” said Robert Santangelo, a market news reporter with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. “For sure, the shrimp prices will go up as the shortage increases.”
The waters restricted to fishing account for 23 percent of Louisiana’s total seafood production, according to the state’s Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. The oil spill is disrupting the $2.4 billion commercial fishing industry just as the state recovers from the worst recession since the 1930s.