Entries in seafood (6)


Video Exclusive: Gulf Coast Braces for Oil

Earlier this week, we visited the Gulf Coast and filmed this video in Biloxi, Mississippi about the fast-approaching oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. We met with Mike Murphy from The Nature Conservancy in Biloxi Bay to talk about local wildlife, and how environmental groups are working to protect valuable wetlands in the region.

When we shot the video, on May 12, the oil hadn't yet reached land, but the wind was ripping from the southeast, sending it towards the Louisiana barrier islands. Those southeasterly winds have continued, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now projects that the oil is heading straight for the Mississippi coast.

We've also learned that oil is gushing at roughly 10 times the rate of initial estimates -- at about 70,000 barrels per day, according to an NPR report. In addition, there is news that the latest measure to stop the leak involves shooting "pieces of tires, golf balls, knotted rope" into the broken blowout preventer. (What, bubble gum and duct tape didn't work?)

We also spoke with local fisherman Steve Cason, who works on a shrimp boat tour for tourists, for a perspective on how the spill might affect fishermen in the region. Cason stressed that even though the oil hasn't touched land on the Mississippi coast yet, tourist numbers are already down (they've had to cancel one out of two tours everyday since the spill) and many boats that are normally out fishing during this season are docked.

For information about how you can help, go to The Nature Conservancy's donation / volunteer page or the Audubon Society's Action Center.

-Mark and Dorothée


Local Seafood Still Available in New Orleans

This is the line we waited in at 6pm yesterday to get into the Acme Oyster House in downtown New Orleans. For now, local seafood is still available in the area (thankfully). I've heard that crab is becoming scarce in places, and wholesale seafood prices are rising because of an offshore fishing ban around the oil spill, but local oysters, crawfish, and other seafood specialties are still on the menu.

For dinner last night, we feasted on fried oysters, seafood gumbo, jambalaya, and hush puppies. Certainly not the healthiest food, but impossible to pass up when you're in New Orleans.



Flip Clip: Update from New Orleans, LA

First thing this morning, we headed out to the marshlands of Biloxi to interview The Nature Conservancy field rep Mike Murphy about the oil spill in the Gulf Coast. We haven't gotten acclimated to the heat (85-90 degrees) and humidity of the Gulf Coast yet, but our equipment has been having an even harder time adapting: As soon as we stepped out of the car, the video camera shut down, citing condensation overload.

We were able to film the interview eventually, using backup cameras, and we learned (first-hand) that southeasterly winds were kicking up, bringing oil towards the Barrier Islands off Louisiana. That hasn't affected the Mississippi coast much for the time being, but Murphy and other enviros are particularly concerned about coastal wetlands, which are the spawning grounds for much of the wildlife in the area.

We asked Murphy about the booms that TNC is using to contain the oil. He said that while they're useful, wind and waves can easily push oil over the barriers. Later, my dad (also a TNC member) told me about special "sea-grade" oil booms that have curtains extending down into the water to more effectively intercept oil. Those sound like a good tool for protecting coastal wetlands, but unfortunately there currently aren't many available.

Here are a couple of photos I took this afternoon. Stay tuned for the video.



Flip Clip: Oil Spill Impacts on Biloxi, MS

Greetings from Biloxi, Mississippi!

After the long drive from Memphis, we were greeted with sunny, 90-degree weather on the Gulf Coast. Neither of us had ever been to Biloxi, a small coastal town known for its beaches and casinos, and with the balmy weather and palm trees, it feels like paradise. Most of the property on the coast is still barren from Hurricane Katrina's destruction, and the only buildings that are standing appear to have been built within the past 5 years.

The first thing we noticed when we stepped out of the car was the ominous Sun Herald headline: LANDFALL COULD BE SOON. We then headed out to the beach and the harbor to see for ourselves. Oil booms could be seen in the distance, but the water seemed to be clean. We caught up with one fisherman at the docks, but he thought the media posed a bigger threat to his livlihood than the oil slick. We'll be chasing the story all day tomorrow.

-Mark and Dorothée


GOOD: Fish You Can Eat with Clear Conscience

At the recommendation of Mark Bittman, I ate sardines for dinner last night ("one of the few fish not (yet) on anyone’s “watch” list, so unlike most seafood they can be eaten without guilt," he writes), but selecting what fish to eat for dinner isn't always so straightforward. Many fish that you wouldn't expect, like cod and grouper, are on seafood advisory lists, either because of unsafe mercury levels or overfishing.

Instead of serving up another list of fish to avoid, GOOD magazine takes the opposite approach with their latest infographic, telling eaters which fish to enjoy in each region of the country. The table is based on the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch List, so for a deeper look at what fish to eat and avoid, check out Monteray Bay's updated chart of seafood alternatives.



Interview with a Maine Lobsterman

At the Common Ground Country Fair, Mark and I got a chance to talk with Ty Babb, a charming lobster fisherman from Tenants Harbor on the coast of Maine. In this video, Ty talks about sustainable fishing practices that help maintain a healthy lobster population. He also tells the story of the biggest lobster he's ever caught and reveals his favorite way to cook lobster!

Want to know more about sustainable lobster fishing? Check out Mark Andrew Boyer's recent article for GOOD magazine online: Reconsider the Lobster.

Photo by Zack Bowen.