Oil spill effects yet to take shape

Published 8:26 pm Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The oil spill from a British Petroleum offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 30 could cause an increase in seafood prices, but it has not scared off tourism, thus far.

Local residents with additional property in the Gulf Coast have not shown any interest in changing summer coastline vacations.

“It’s not going to stop us from going there,” said Catesby Jones, property owner in Perdido Key. “We just won’t be able to enjoy the things we’re used to enjoying.”

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If the oil spill does reach the shoreline, the only activity that Jones and other families will avoid is entering the water.

“It is certainly a big deal, but I don’t think it’s as big as the national media has made it to be,” said Mike Reynolds, property owner in Orange Beach. He is concerned, but knows that the company managing his property is taking proper procedures to prepare.

Other travelers have not shown much concern.

“We have not had one single person call with concerns or call to cancel their plans or change their plans to the Gulf,” said Clay Ingram, spokesperson for AAA Alabama.

People have actually had increased interest in the Gulf Coast, according to Ingram.

The only aspect that may see major changes is within the seafood industry. There is a two-week lag from the time fish are caught from the time they make it to freezers nationwide, so prices may not change for at least another week, according to Jimmie Coleman III, Calhoun Foods store director.

But customers should not worry about the quality of the fish.

“Consumer safety is going to be of the utmost concern. None of the contaminated product will get to the consumer,” Coleman said.