The business uses a simple warm and cold water temperature treatment process to reduce potentially harmful bacteria in the oysters that are sold wholesale across the country.
Even when it was able to reopen in November, source availability limited AmeriPure to a 30 percent recovery, according to company Managing Partner Patrick Fahey. He said business has inched back month to month and is still only at 70 percent of where it was early last year. Most all of its 50-plus employees are back on the AmeriPure payroll.
“We still have a long way to go,” he said. “It’s sort of a mixed bag but it’s better than nothing.”
Fahey blames the freshwater diversions ordered by the state for killing millions of Louisiana oysters while the kill from the oil spill was much less.
The diversions from the Mississippi River were intended to push crude oil away from coastal wetlands.
Upon reopening in November, AmeriPure turned to the Texas coast for its supply.
And while Louisiana oysters that should have been harvested last year and were not impacted by the spill or its aftermath are now being brought in, Fahey said AmeriPure is looking forward to the reopening of the Texas public reefs in November.
Also making up a part of the millions of dollars AmeriPure has lost since the BP spill is public perception.
“The whole thing is putting them off of oysters,” he said. “But we have the most inspected seafood in the world and they’re not finding anything of concern for consumers.”
Due to the spill, state health officials have adopted an aggressive monitoring and testing plan to ensure seafood safety.
“We’re in business, we hope to stay in business, but it’s going to be pretty tough sledding the next couple of years” he said.