The Oil Spill’s Devastating Impact

The Oil Spill’s Devastating Impact

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has touched land today, and it’s likely to hit Americans straight in the gut.

Seafood prices are expected to skyrocket and small businesses are likely to suffer serious losses because of the spill, which was a result of the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

The Rig, owned by British Petroleum (Stock Quote: BP), was being operated just off the Gulf Coast by offshore drilling contractor Transocean (Stock Quote: RIG). Since the spill began last week off the coast of Louisiana, the rig has been gushing about 42,000 gallons of oil per day into the water, from 5,000 feet - nearly a mile - below the surface, according to the Associated Press.

Seafood Prices Expected to Spike

As a result of the oil spill, the U.S. seafood industry could be decimated as crabs, shrimp and fish have just begun spawning. Seafood from the Gulf Coast region makes up 80% of America’s domestic and wild seafood supply, according to SeafoodSource.com, an industry Web site.

The state of Louisiana alone is the biggest seafood-producing state on the U.S. mainland, bringing in about $1.8 billion a year from the fruits of the sea, according to CNN.

Crabs from Louisiana, Alabama and Texas; red and black grouper from Madeira Beach, Fla., as well as shrimp, oysters and other fish caught along the Gulf Coast could suffer devastating damage as a result of the oil spill, and according to Business Week, the impact on wildlife is nearing that of the Exxon Valdez spill on the shores of Alaska in 1989.

oysters on the half shell