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Hoosier Shrimp Fans Could See Oil Spill Effects Soon

Bloomington could soon feel the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf Coast as seafood providers contemplate fewer trips to Indiana to peddle their wares.

Steve Fabian

Photo: Arianna Prothero/ WFIU

Steve Fabian usually makes the journey to Bloomington once a month over the course of the shrimping season, but fears the recent Gulf Coast oil spill could hurt the industry has him warning customers that the near future may be their only chance this year to buy fresh seafood from him.

Steve Fabian of Fabian Seafood has been trucking fresh seafood up from Galveston, Texas to in Bloomington for 17 years.

Fabian usually makes the journey once a month over the course of the shrimping season, but fears the recent Gulf Coast oil spill could hurt the industry had Fabian warning customers that Wednesday may be their only chance this year to buy fresh seafood from him.

Even though the oil spill is more than 300 miles away, Fabian says he and his fellow shrimpers are still concerned…

“But everyone in Texas, all the shrimpers are all worried about it because it could come our way and their not capping that off and next month is the beginning of hurricane season so that could blow it our way,” Fabian said.

Fabian says worried customers have been stocking up on his product.  It took just half an hour Tuesday for Fabian to sell out of shrimp and begin turning away customers. Fabian says if the oil doesn’t spread to the Texas coast he’ll be back in four weeks.

However, that’s only part of the equation. Even though he fishes primarily off the coast of Galveston, Fabian says for part of the season all Texas shrimpers have to rely on Louisiana waters.

“Also, May 15th every year in Texas they close down the season for the Gulf waters in Texas for seven weeks to let the shrimp can lay their eggs.  You can’t even go in the Gulf.  So the Texas shrimpers at that time, they go over to the Louisiana waters.  And if there’s oil over there, well, they’re shut down until the Texas waters open back up which is around the 7th to the 10th of July.  So, they’re shut down for at least two months there,” he said.

Although the impact on shrimpers will be large, Fabian says the impact on Hoosiers will be limited.

“Ah, you won’t get Gulf of Mexico shrimp which of course is the best shrimp in the world.  And the prices will probably start going up because there will be such a big demand for whatever shrimp they can catch down there,” Fabian said.

Arianna Prothero

Arianna Prothero started at WFIU as a reporter in May of 2008. She is now the Interim Assistant Radio News Director and, along with her reporting duties, produces WFIU’s Noon Edition and anchors All Things Considered on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Arianna holds her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in Political Science with a minor in Russian and Eastern European Studies.

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