Gulf Seafood: Better Safe than Sorry?


Ready or not, it seems Gulf states are hell-bent on promoting the region’s seafood, even as many scientists and fishermen remain wary.

It’s especially troubling when some of the very people you’d expect to be in the biggest hurry to push seafood – fishing families – are among those who remain cautious. We’ve often noted here on this blog that the jury is still very much out on seafood safety, and the science of bioaccumulation means that seafood is likely to get less safe over the coming weeks, not more.

Granted, the seafood industry is reeling right now. But, if you let people get sick from contaminated Gulf seafood – just a case or two – and we’re done for a generation. I’m a lawyer for the United Commercial Fisherman’s Association, so it’s pretty simple for me: When my client is more confident about the safety of seafood, then I’ll get more comfortable with it as well.

So now, Louisiana Lt. Gov. Scott Angelle wants the states to engage in a joint effort – most likely funded by a couple hundred million from BP – to promote the “regional brand.” Once again, I strongly recommend more testing and more caution, especially when so many of these decisions are being fueled by “government” science from the “vast majority of the oil is gone” crowd.

One day, we will learn that the government that employed lax pre-spill regulation, low-ball spill estimates and deceptive all-clear statements maybe deserves some skepticism. Or is that just me?

Anyway, I find it somewhat amusing that, according to the Times-Picayune in NOLA, the Lt. Gov “… said he was disappointed at the first meeting because BP officials were not prepared to discuss details despite being given studies that showed 29 percent of the tourists who had scheduled trips to Louisiana canceled or postponed them because of the oil spill.”

Well, no kidding. The BP guys likely made a note to themselves: Need contradictory tourism study.

Also, by the way, that study also showed that almost half of the 1,000 tourists surveyed said they fear the seafood caught in Louisiana waters is not safe to eat, which Angelle called a “misconception that has to be addressed.”

Well, you can address that “misconception” with trusted widespread independent testing programs that evaluate a variety of findings, or you can spend a couple hundred million on PR.

Here’s the Times-Picayune report at NOLA:

© Smith Stag, LLC 2010 – All Rights Reserved


  • Thank you for this, Mr. Smith! Through my group’s work with the oil disaster, we’ve become friends with many, many fishermen and shrimpers; every single one of them is concerned about the product they’re putting out.

    Keep up the good work!

  • What about fish caught in the Big Bend Area of Florida, from Apalachicola to the east and south? No oil sited but I worry about Corexit. Thanks for any information.

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
Cooper Law Firm

Follow Us

© Stuart H Smith, LLC
Share This