Wondering What Comes Out of the Sea

Even though my love of seafood is yet another taste that I rarely manage to indulge, I have to admit that cost was not my greatest concern when it comes to the consumable effects of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico:

Broadway Oyster Bar is not the only area business affected by the disaster. Retailers, distributors and other restaurants have had to tweak offerings, look for other seafood sources and pay higher prices, which are being passed on to customers. Prices of nongulf shellfish are going up, some buyers say.
Hagen has had to go to a different source for his gulf oysters, switching from a Louisiana company to a Texas operation west of the Mississippi River where harvesting areas are still open. But the change has pushed prices for gulf oysters up by about a third, and gulf shrimp prices could double by the end of the summer, Hagen predicts, though he hasn’t had to raise menu prices on shrimp yet. Some have.

I’m eager for correction from those who know better — and it would be wholly irrational to see the spread of toxins through water to be immediate — but something just feels more communicable about events that occur under water. The fluidity of oceans gives local disasters a global feel to a greater extent than events on land. Even beginning with the introduction to maps in elementary school, segmenting Earth’s land mass into continents made more apparent sense to me than drawing arbitrary lines between oceans, seas, and gulfs.
Perhaps it’s a peculiar Sunday fancy, but I wonder how much more unified we’d tend to be, as a species, were we submarine rather than terrestrial. Wherever such imaginings may lead, for the sake of economic stability and personal well-being, I’ll resist universalist superstitions with regard to the dark cloud currently spreading over the abodes of the merpeople to our south.

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michael
michael
11 years ago

I still can’t eat shrimp from Indonesia in light of the tsunami that entered over 100,000 human bodies into the food chain there.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

Michael-it was closer to 200,00 all told everywhere it hit-too big a number for us to process-I learned to not really see some stuff in Vietnam,and I’ll say nothing else on that-but a lot of living beings are always dying in the sea and it contaminates nothing.
This oil spreading who knows where really could.
The Indonesians export the best crab and the Thais the best shrimp.
The oil spill intrudes on the normal rhythym of life ,death,and regeneration.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

“Broadway Oyster Bar is not the only area business affected by the disaster.”
It is hard for me to sympathize with anyone so insensitive as to name itself “Oyster Bar”. (Is there still an Oyster Bar in Grand Central?)
There was a time when Oyster Bars were more common than McDonalds, and they depleted all of the oyster beds on the East Coast. That is why we rely on the Gulf.

OldTimeLefty
11 years ago

How do you feel about off shore drilling permits? The oil goes where the ocean wills it and we are helpless to do anything about it.
OldTimeLefty

Ken
Ken
11 years ago

Back on March 2, 1989 the Exxon Houston broke free of moorings and ran aground in off Barbers Point, Island of Oahu Leeward (West) side about 15 miles from Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, spilling 117,000 gallons of oil into the waters. Some oil and tar balls reached the shore and beaches of Ko Olina which is being developed as a second Waikiki Beach with Marriott Hotel/Resorts and Spa and Walt Disney Co. Hotel/Resort and Spa being anchors. In this area are pristine white sand beaches, swim with the wild dolphins, turtles, Hawaiian Monk Seals, Humpback whales visit Nov. to Mar. and beautiful scuba and free dive spots plus Leeward side is known for its ocean sports fishing. Luckily the wind was blowing offshore (in Hawaii the trade winds blow East to West) and the current was moving south so what oil not skimmed or soaked up went out to sea. No oil fouled birds were found and no sea creatures soaked in oil were found. What oil that washed up on shore was quickly cleaned up and the Hawaii Department posted “no swimming signs” till water tests indicated everything was safe and the reefs showed no damage from the oil. Hawaii really dodged an oil pollution bullet but that could be by design because Barbers Point is where all the refineries are located and all crude oil is imported into the state. If the winds and sea currents were in different directions there would have been a greater impact story for Hawaii. What sea food Hawaii does not get locally (there are large shrimp farms on Oahu’s North Shore and commercial fish farms off the coast of Hawaii) comes from Asia, Southeast Asia, Japan, South America, Australia, WA, AK, CA, TX and ME. On the Big Island of Hawaii there… Read more »

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

OldTimeLefty writes:
“How do you feel about off shore drilling permits? The oil goes where the ocean wills it and we are helpless to do anything about it. ”
How do I feel about it? Well, I think the refusal to issue shallow water drilling permits is a big part of the problem. When this was done, I am sure they believed they had put an end to offshore drilling.
If the BP well was in shallow water, it could have been capped by now. Working a mile down is a real task. I think BP is doing the best they can with an unenviable task.

Ken
Ken
11 years ago

OldTimeLefty writes:
“How do you feel about off shore drilling permits? The oil goes where the ocean wills it and we are helpless to do anything about it. ”
Hawaiian waters have abundant sea life and living reefs not to mention designated national whale sanctuaries.
The residents of Hawaii respect nature and take only what they need to survive and protect the rest for future generations to be able to survive. Most of the Northern Hawaii islands and waters up to Midway Island were designated a protected National Marine Sanctuary Park by President George W. Bush (R).
Hawaii is currently in the process of weaning itself off of 70% of the imported oil it currently uses (about $4.9 billion yearly returned to state economy) by year 2030 and replacing it with renewable alternate energy including changing to all electric cars, trucks and hybrid busses.
You will never see an offshore oil drilling rig in Hawaiian waters or a land based oil drilling rig in Hawaii.

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

“Well, I think the refusal to issue shallow water drilling permits is a big part of the problem. When this was done, I am sure they believed they had put an end to offshore drilling.
If the BP well was in shallow water, it could have been capped by now. Working a mile down is a real task.”
Indeed.
Despite the hype of alternative/renewable, there is currently no viable alternative to fossil fuels. Overcharging for fossil fuels or depriving us of it altogether, as some very misguided people want to do, will not accelerate the discovery of the Magical Mystery Fuel. What it will do is drive businesses out of the United States and have an unnecessary, negative impact on the budget of the average person.

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

“Overcharging for fossil fuels or depriving us of it altogether, as some very misguided people want to do”
Who has suggested that? That’s exactly my thought on what we should do with all products made in China. Grossly overcharge so that a superball or rubber duck costs $10 here. Why not, they do it to everyone else?

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

Patrick writes:
“”Overcharging for fossil fuels or depriving us of it altogether, as some very misguided people want to do”
Who has suggested that?”
Who has suggested that? The suggestion has been a constant since the original “energy crisis” of the 70’s. At the time there was constant reference to the fact that European countries taxed gas up to a market price of $5.00 per gallon. There were many who thought we should do the same and thus force smaller, more efficient, vehicles. Since then, the idea has been a constant.
p.s. The same people believing that took to heart the “scientific conclusion” that the world would run out of oil in June of 1981. I wonder if those were the same scientists who “did the science” on Global Warming?

OldTimeLefty
11 years ago

Judging the responses to my question, I’d say that we have a few hard core oil junkies who want their fix despite the havoc it wrecks. Sr. Faust and Srta. Monique, the oil was offshore and a mile under the ocean’s surface. They dug there because that’s where the oil is. Are you saying that they could have tapped into it from on shore or in shallow waters? If you are then they were crazy to have begun the operation in deep water. If they had no choice but to dig where they dug, then you have no argument except we’ll pay any price and take any risk.
Lift your eyes and look upon the desolation. You ate your last Gulf shrimp for quite a while.
What price oil? Junkies will pay it.
OldTimeLefty

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

OTL-if you’re not a complete phony,you’ll refrain from ANY oil use.
Not even to heat your house.Now,natural gas is a different story-buy a NG vehicle and use it to heat your house.
I at least do the latter.And I forgoe A/C in my house-fans are all I use.very efficient.I’m sweating up a storm,but tis is mild compared to a tarmac flightline in Nam jacking up C130’s by hand when it was 120 degrees in the revetments.UNLIKE Iraq we had a beautiful view of the South China Sea(with breezes)and even more gorgeous women.
People who sneer at old dumpy guys like me don’t always know the story.
I really do LOVE the Autumn.

OldTimeLefty
11 years ago

joe,
You are always on the edge of everything. Cheers for your “green” efforts. Sorry that I don’t meet up with your Mother Theresa standards. Alas, I fall short. Like most of us I’m an oil junky trying to kick the habit. Look on my progress towards oil freedom as a multi-step AA program!
So I try to reduce my carbon footprint, join with you in shunning air-conditioning, and in my own way work for a ban on off shore oil drilling. Really, you sound like a revolutionary.
OldTimeLefty

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

OTL-LOL-yeah,why not be on the edge-the middle is suffocating.
I don’t own a hybrid-I’m not ready to dump the cars I own,but I keep them tuned up and try to make them fuel efficient.
I’m really kidding with you about no oil-it’s just that I don’t get all worked up about it-“if you can’t be with the one you love,love the one you’re with”.
This hasn’t been a bad day-an old bigoted Klansman bit the dust(this old turd filibustered the Civil Rights Act);NY West side cosmopolitan Kagan got talked to harshly,and SCOTUS bodyslammed the gun grabbers.
I’m not preachy about being “green”-but I do believe every journey is made of of many steps.
Telling an ordinary guy like me that I have to do a $90,000 Channel 44 makeover on my modest colonial to sell it is crap.
Me a revolutionary?Haha.Well,if pushed to the wall who knows?I’d as soon not contemplate it-those things never turn out well.The only fireworks I want to see nowadays are the ones I bought at Shaw’s to entertain my granddaughter.
OK,me too.

Ken
Ken
11 years ago

Monique, You said; “Despite the hype of alternative/renewable, there is currently no viable alternative to fossil fuels.” I can give you a long laundry list of alternate energy projects now operating in State of Hawaii including one that could replace the Deepwater Wind project having greater reliability, stability, far less physical visibility and environmental damage producing electricity at 11 cents per Kwh instead of the 24.4 cents per Kwh with annual 3.5% COLA. Hawaii has tested and proven alternate energy projects now scaled in the 100MW electricity commercial grade size that are 100% self sustainable with 24/7 operation. Here is a short list to refute your statement: Don’t forget the State of Hawaii is the only state in the nation that by law requires new single family residential construction after 1 Jan 2010 to have alternate energy solar hot water system installed. State of Hawaii is the only state in the nation that manufactures its own alternate energy synthetic natural gas. Hawaii can control gas cost and not rely on companies like National Grid that purchases across the pipelines and is dependent on drilling exploration and LNG tankers. Hawaii has the only fully operational commercial alternate energy solar electric to hydrogen conversion fuel pump station supplying hydrogen fuel cell cars, trucks and busses with hydrogen fuel. Hawaii is the only place where you will find whole building air conditioning and chiller systems powered by an alternate energy combination of solar and deep ocean cold water. This alternate energy technology is being expanded out to 14 city blocks of downtown high-rises in the middle of downtown Honolulu saving Mega-watts of electricity that will not be needed to operate refrigeration units. Honolulu has one of the cleanest burning and non-polluting EPA certified alternate energy waste to power MW power generator plants which… Read more »

Monique
Editor
11 years ago

“That’s exactly my thought on what we should do with all products made in China. Grossly overcharge so that a superball or rubber duck costs $10 here.”
Patrick, you protectionist, you.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

Joe writes:
“and SCOTUS bodyslammed the gun grabbers.”
I have previously exposed my redneck roots, but I can’t tell you how this delights me.
Life may not change for urban kids, but exurban kids can be boys again. Can you former urban kids imagine a group of 15 year olds walking along with shotguns and no one bats an eye because it is duck season? How about your English teacher coming out to your car to look at your Fox Sterlingworth with barrels made of “Krupp Fluid Compressed Steel”? How about going to Aberchrombie & Fitch for your first Browning? How about your grandfather giving you his Mannlicher Schoenauer (which he had bought at Aberchrombies, another whole story) for your 16th birthday?
The gun control people will never understand how these could be pleasant memories.
How about buying your .22 ammo at a hardware store when you were 13, with a note from your mother? How about times when money was short and you bought 6’s 5 or 6 at a time, because you couldn’t afford a box? Waiting every month for the Rifleman to arrive? Reading Robert Ruark? Shooting cans?
“Ready on the firing line”

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

Ken-LOL-I’d rather see a sylph in an ao-dai than a Helen Thomas clone in a burkha.
Nha Trang was great-the first time I was there we had their first daytime mortar barrage in a few years-just as we were landing in a Caribou.
Still,the old French buildings overlooking the bay with those islands that came stright up out of the ocean was easy on the eyes.

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