Sneer all you want at Red Lobster (Lord knows I’ve done it), but the fact that the massive seafood chain is booting oysters from its menu is nothing short of a disastrous sign vis-à-vis the health of the national seafood industry after the BP spill. The menu change comes from the shutdown of Red Lobster’s supplier, AmeriPure. DailyFinance reports:

“The big loser in this mess is AmeriPure. The $20 million company, which had to rebuild after being devastated  by Hurricane Katrina, now finds itself crippled by BP’s oil spill. In addition to damaging many oyster beds, the oil company has undermined the seafood industry by monopolizing the available fishermen.”

By paying inflated wages for fishing boat crews to man oil booms, BP has hired on the very people who would otherwise be struggling to re-establish the Gulf fishing industry. You can’t really blame BP for paying well or  the fishermen for pursuing a higher (and guaranteed) wage, but the overall impact is still not fantastic for a badly wounded industry.

AmeriPure’s shutdown is also a particular blow to the Gulf specifically. The company put a great deal of effort into developing a proprietary method of ensuring the safety of its Gulf oysters, helping pave their way for adoption by seafood restaurants otherwise leery of the warm-water oysters’ safety track record, which is poor when compared to that of their cold-water cousins.

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