Oyster Population Plunging Along Gulf Coast
The oyster population along the Gulf Coast is dropping dramatically.
Thousands of beds are producing less than a third of the crop recorded before the BP oil spill four years ago.
Experts are now studying whether the spill is connected to the spill.
Oysters had been in trouble before the spill. They had been hit by hurricanes, overfishing and two straight years of damaging fresh water.
Louisiana used to produce one-third of the nation's oyster harvest. That amounted to 7 million pounds of meat a year. The total haul in 2012 was barely half a million pounds. But last year the haul increased a bit — back up to almost 1 million.
Whether the BP spill contributed to the decline is part of an ongoing study.