MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) – Local fisherman say damage along the coast of the Gulf from a massive oil spill could have a ripple effect on oyster prices, since most places import their oysters directly from Louisiana.
Local restaurants and seafood markets near the Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk say they are keeping a close watch situation.
"It could have a profound effect on the oyster beds in Louisiana and that's where all the single select oysters come from that people buy in pints," explained Rick Baumann, owner of Murrells Inlet Seafood Market. "I'm not so concerned about my own pockets right now as I am those poor folks that work so hard in the creeks and the ocean down there in the Gulf of Mexico."
Baumann says he imports oysters, crawfish, and occasionally snapper and grouper from the Gulf. He hopes this accident will serve as a lesson to others with off-shore drilling.
"I just hope that we learn around here from this experience and that perhaps we'll think twice about having oil wells off our coast," Baumann said.
Metodie Jorgancievski, the head chef at the Inlet Crab House, says his establishment is already prepared to make changes if need be.
"We're going to have to start looking into other oyster harvests towards Outer Banks, NC and start moving away from the oil spill," Jorgancievski said.
Jorgancievski estimates oyster and some fish prices may rise anywhere between 25-75 percent, depending on how close the oil reaches the coast.
"Every day could be different; every day could change," he said. "It could go from left to right, so it's just something that we're going to have to stay monitoring."