Chicago Shouldn't See Seafood Prices Spike, Experts Say

Gulf region provides more than half of the nation's oyster and shrimp.

By Courtney Copenhagen
|  Thursday, Nov 11, 2010  |  Updated 11:13 AM CDT
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Workers lay down an oil boom as the effort continues to try and keep the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from washing ashore on May 3, 2010 in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

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There's a chance seafood-lovers in Chicago might be spared from the ramifications of the oil leaking in the Gulf Coast, at least as it pertains to prices.

The Gulf region provides more than half of the nation's oyster and shrimp, and seafood distributors along the Louisiana coast already have seen the average price for a pound of shrimp jump from $2 to $5.

But fish experts in Chicago say the current fishing ban only affects a small section of the Gulf of Mexico.

"We may see it affect shrimp prices down the road," said Dirk Fucik, owner of Dirk's Fish on Clybourn Ave., but he said he doesn't expect to raise his prices because he also purchases from other areas, like along the Texas and Florida coasts.

Fucik compares the waiting game to the stock market.  Prices will inflate because of fears over a potential fallout.

"We don't know the full extent of the fallout yet, but the economic effects should remain local to the Gulf region. Consumers up here won't feel the ripple effect," said Bill Dugan, owner of The Fish Guy market on Elston Ave.

Dugan supplies fresh seafood to 15 of the city's most exclusive restaurants and says that both restaurant and retail customers have been asking him about the safety and price of shrimp coming from the Gulf.

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