Gulf oysters still far below levels before BP spill

Oyster harvests in some parts of the Gulf of Mexico are at about a third of the level they were before the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, The Associated Press reported.

Harvests rebounded slightly last year, but are again much lower in the oyster beds that got the worst of the oil during the 87-day spill.

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Scientists are still studying whether there is a conclusive link between the spill and the oyster decline, or if it’s related to other changes in the water, weather, overfishing or other factors.

A BP spokesman told AP that multiple government studies have shown that any drop-offs were not due to the explosion that killed 11 people or the spill that followed.

Louisiana, with more than a dozen naturally occurring oyster beds, accounts for about half of the Gulf’s oyster production and a third of the United States’s.

The state typically produced 3 million to 7 million pounds of oyster meat before the spill, but that dropped below 600,000 in 2012 before rebounding to nearly a million last year, AP reported.

Oyster prices have skyrocketed as well, AP said. 

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