Some waterways along the Louisiana coast that have been closed to commercial oyster fishermen since the 2010 oil spill have been reopened and a New Orleans wholesaler is anxious to learn what they find.
"I'm glad to see the waters finally opening. Tomorrow is our Louisiana Oyster Task Force meeting and we'll learn a lot more at that meeting," Al Sunseri of P & J Oysters told FOX 8.
Sunseri says the volume of his business remains about half of what it was before the spill.
"We used to handle at least double the oysters that we handle today. There are quality oysters out there, just a much smaller amount," he said.
Sunseri suspects food sources for oysters have been impacted by the spill.
"Plankton and algae is the food that they filter...and they are ravenous eaters so if you don't have enough food to keep them alive they won't make the market size," he said.
As for when he expects the harvest to return to pre-spill levels, Sunseri told FOX 8, he's uncertain.
"I thought if you looked at interviews three or four years ago things would be back to normal by now. It's up to Mother Nature."
Some Louisiana suppliers, including Motivatit Seafooods of Houma, are importing oysters from Chesapeake Bay to meet the demand. The oyster population on that waterway in Virginia may be the largest since 1987.