Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS -- When it comes to the current oyster crop, workers at Deanie's Seafood Restaurant like what they're seeing.
"We've been getting some nice, fat oysters and they look good for right now," said general manager Darren Chifici.
But, like others in the seafood industry, Chifici has questions about future supplies.
"The long-term effects of what the oil spill did and also the hurricanes over the years -- destroying the beds,” he said. “So, it's really a long-term outlook of, how long this thing's gonna take to recover, and if they're gonna recover."
The most pressing concern for industry leaders now is just how much damage freshwater moving through the Morganza and Bonnet Carre spillways caused to some of the state's most productive beds.
Monday, the governor's Oyster Advisory Committee met amid positive circumstances, as crews closed the remaining Bonnet Carre floodgates.
"That's good news, but we've already lost a substantial amount of resource in the central part of the state and the far eastern part of the state," said committee member Mike Voisin.
Voisin said the BP oil spill cut the state's oyster production in half, while the recent freshwater infiltration, he estimated, knocked it back at least another 30 percent.
Voisin worries some oystermen may be put out of business.
"My opinion is that this latest flood has created the straw that's broken a few of the camels’ backs,” he said. “I think we're gonna lose some small farmers. It's the first time I've felt that. You know, we've been through Katrina, Rita, Gustav, Ike, Deepwater Horizon, but this is just one more thing on top of all of that."
But work is underway to help.
Biologists are using new technologies to re-seed oyster beds, deploying more than 100 million larvae and half a million immature oysters.
For Randy Pausina with the state Wildlife and Fisheries Department, it's a silver lining in a tough situation.
"There's no playbooks on the shelves for a lot of these things that have been happening to us, so we've learned a lot, and that's a good thing for us to be able to respond in the future," Pausina said.
As for what you can expect when ordering oysters in the coming months, Voisin believes restaurants will continue having access to plenty of Louisiana oysters, although he expects prices to go up by this fall.