Louisiana officals have sent a letter to BP outlining their seafood safety plan to ensure that the seafood out of the Gulf of Mexico is safe to eat. The state of Louisiana is asking BP for $457 million to put the plan into action.
According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries,
The state will use three criteria to determine the success of the initial five years of work.
- Tissue sample results show no indicators that oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill is present.
- Landings of Louisiana’s major species of seafood (shrimp, crabs, oysters and fish) are at or above pre-spill levels.
- Louisiana’s markets are restored and the overall value of our seafood is at or above pre-spill amounts.
In an effort to resume as much fishing activity as possible, it is imperative that the three tiered, multi-agency proposed plan be implemented in an expedient manner.
Three tiers to the proposed Seafood Safety Plan
- Seafood Safety Testing, Monitoring and Evaluation
- Samples collected for analyses under the purview of this plan are intended to represent commercially and recreationally harvested species that are landed in Louisiana for the purposes of human health risk assessment and fisheries closure/openings.
- Louisiana Seafood Safety Public Education (Education and Marketing Component)
- Louisiana is known for its high-quality seafood. The state produces one-third of the seafood consumed in the U.S. and the $3 billion seafood industry is a major economic engine as well as a significant draw for tourists both domestic and international.
- Even as we prove, through extensive testing, that our seafood is safe when the MC 252 event subsides, it is clear there has been extensive damage to the public perception of seafood grown and harvested in Louisiana.
- This plan outlines an extensive effort to understand consumer behavior behind the perceptions, produce a campaign to educate the public on the safety and quality of Louisiana seafood, and monitor the effectiveness of the campaign for its duration.
- Louisiana Wild Seafood Certification Program
- In an effort to improve consumer trust in Louisiana seafood, seafood products, restaurants and related businesses, the Louisiana Wild Seafood Certification Program will be created, which allows for both Louisiana seafood harvesters and processors to certify their products based on quality control and food safety standards.
Additionally, the Department of Health and Hospitals has been doing seafood surveillance. The last report put out on December 13, 2010, had this to report
Of 855 seafood samples (Figure 1) collected between April 30, 2010 and December 10, 2010 (Table 1), trace levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were detected in 346 samples (Table 2). No (0) sample results showed levels of concern, (Table 3), meaning that any chemicals detected were below levels that could potentially threaten the public’s health. Results for 32 samples are pending. Additionally, DHH personnel collect water samples from oyster harvesting areas at the time oysters are collected. Between April 30, 2010 and July 23, 2010, 57 water samples were collected and analyzed for total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH). TPHs were not detected in any of the samples.
Even though cleanup is still going on in some areas, such as Bay Jimmy; hopefully, BP will do their part to make sure that the seafood in the Gulf is not contaminated, which will help put the fishermen and shrimpers back to work and get the Gulf industry back to normal as possible after a tragedy like this.