Saturday, August 1, 2009

Shellfish Sacrifices

It seems that the creatures of the sea are getting our attention in various ways, including sacrifice.

You can get lobster cheap these days in some places.Looking for a Bargain Dinner? Try Lobster
Looking for an inexpensive change-up for your next backyard barbeque? Try lobster. "Per pound, it's less expensive than hot dogs right now," grumbles lobster-boat captain Mike Dassatt, who fishes the coast near Belfast, Maine, with his wife Sheila.

While this may seem good news for those that eat shellfish, it isn't for fisherman:
Local experts think lobster prices are headed even lower because the peak season for lobster fishing -- mid-August through late October -- hasn't even begun. Once those late summer and fall lobsters start hitting the docks, the fear is the new supply will crash prices even further in what's already a glutted market. "I have a strong feeling you'll see prices drop another 50 cents a pound," says Edward Hennessey Jr., president of northern Maine's Machias Savings Bank.

They're having an oyster crisis in France; over 90% of the oyster population are beset with some sort of plague; as yet unknown as the whats and whys. No more oysters for the French for some time to come:
Producers in Normandy are so worried that last month they handed out free boxes of the shellfish near Caen chanting: "Take these oysters, they may be the last you'll ever eat."

The oyster industry in France has been hit like this before, including last year, but not as badly. As with the above story about lobsters, the illness affecting the oysters impacts economics and people's livelihood.

As to the cause of the oyster destruction, it seems we're back to the climate changes again:
Warmer sea temperatures, perhaps related to global warming, may also be partially responsible, as they weaken the young oysters and increase the amount of microscopic plankton the baby shellfish eat so they gorge themselves to death. Toxic algae and chemical residues could also be factors.

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