The Impact of the Oil Spill Accident: A Sustainability and Supply Chain Issue

It is not exaggerated to name the recent oil spill accident in the Gulf of Mexico a man-made disaster of the year. I live in Syracuse, New York, a place far, far away from the South. Yet, there is no way I am immune to the negative impact of this disaster.

I feel deeply sorry for the fishermen in Louisiana, who need to worry about their jobs and lives. If losing jobs and giving up a person’s normal life sounds terrible, I cannot find an appropriate adjective to describe the long-term impact of this disaster. For quite a while, many species will die or be poisoned. The whole ecosystem in the gulf will be destroyed. If we look at this accident as a supply chain issue, what can we expect?

· Many species in Mexican Gulf will struggle to survive, from seaweed, shrimps, oysters, fishes, birds, and many more.
· Other species in the Atlantic Ocean may also get affected if they rely on the “food” from Mexican Gulf.
· Seafood price will go up in restaurants and supermarkets. Some expect the price will double or triple in the future.
· The finishing industry, as well as those in the supply chain that support or benefit from this industry (e.g. transportation, ship manufacturers, seafood processor, etc.), may have to cease some operations, if not all.
· Restaurants, especially seafood restaurants, and the tourism industry in Mexican Gulf, including hotels, resorts, cruise ships, and airlines will suffer.

I cannot think of any winner of this disaster. The only preparation I can think of for foodservice managers and restaurant owners is to plan a new menu with less seafood, replacing them with steaks, pork chops, chicken, or some other “river-food” items, such as tilapia or Asian carp (http://linchikwok.blogspot.com/2010/02/are-you-ready-to-try-something-new-on.html). Hotels and resorts in Mexican Gulf may need to plan more indoor activities and keep their guests away from the beach.

By now, I hope we all learn a lesson. What suggestions will you provide to the industry?

References:
Picture was downloaded from http://tinyurl.com/linchikwok05032010P

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