Storms Affect Local Seafood Market

SEPTEMBER 21, 2005 -- Donald Diehl works at Cape Fear Fish Merchants in Wilmington. Diehl says, "Prior to the storm, a gallon of oysters we could sell right at 36 dollars, 38 dollars a gallon. And right now they're up at about 46 dollars."

Workers at Motts Seafood in Wrightsville Beach sympathize with the plight of Gulf Coast oystermen. "They've got all the rain and pollution from the storm and everything, it closed down the oysters. So that means we won't be having any oysters right now," says Ryan Byrd.

While the prices of some seafood may have risen after the recent hurricane, there's somewhat of a calm after the storm. The calm is due to two factors: Hurricane Ophelia made it easier to catch local fish and demand from restaurants is up.  "For some reason after a big storm they bite a lot , what we call chewing," Diehl says. "We do have a lot of local fish, good quality, real fresh so that is an upside."

But Rita could bring a downside. "We buy a lot of fish out of Florida and only thing that'll affect us is just those people losing their stuff there and their places and their warehouses and all that," says Byrd.  Diehl says, "There's always a short-term affect prior and during a storm then hopefully once the storm passes, it's business as usual."  Business and seafood, as usual.

Reported by Nicole Ferguson