Oyster prices on the rise

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Jeff Lawson – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Oyster season remains closed in Mississippi waters with no sign of when it may open. That means supply is low and prices are high.

At Biloxi's Quality Poultry and Seafood, they still have oysters for sale, but not as many as they did last year.

"The price is a lot higher," business manager Jim Gunkel said.

Gunkel said they are paying their providers 30 to 40 percent more for oysters, and in his opinion the oysters they are getting from other states are not as good as those from Mississippi waters.

"The problem is these oysters we have are a lot smaller than Mississippi oysters, our Mississippi oysters are nice and big," Gunkel said.

Gunkel also told us that some restaurants have taken oysters off the menu because of the cost and the difficulty in getting the oysters. That is not the case at the Half Shell Oyster House in downtown Gulfport.

"We have had them the entire time," manager John Graham said. "We have oysters on the half shell, fried oysters, you name it we have it, in fact we have had them the entire time."

Graham said they are getting their oysters from Florida, Louisiana and Texas. He insisted they are still good, but said his restaurant is paying some 60% more for the oysters from their providers. Graham also said most of that cost is not being passed on to the customers.

Of course, all those who supply, sell or eat oysters are hoping that soon our Mississippi oysters will be declared safe to eat, and the season will open. Right now, no one knows when that is going to be.

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