Interviewee: Greg Ladnier

Role: Owner of Sea Pearl Seafood Processing Plant, Bayou La Batre, Alabama

Date of Interview: 1/25/12

Collection: Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Oral History Project

Click on the link below to play the audio clip from the interviewee.

Abstract: Greg Ladnier is the owner of the Sea Pearl Seafood Processing Plant, in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. He is from a multigenerational fishing family. He speaks of an 80 percent reduction in his plant's production after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, which resulted in a loss of many of his clients. He notes that though production was increasing in 2012, his customer base was still in decline.


Well, I mean this past year and this year, of course with the [BP Deepwater Horizon] oil spill, I mean, our production's been heavily off. If you go outside the oil spill areas, I mean, they had great production the past two years in Texas, which was not affected at all, so for sure that portion of it is really hurt. And when I say that the catch remains the same, you have good years and bad years. It's according to what Mother Nature brings in on you. Right now, we're not getting in a lot of shrimp. We were getting shrimp from here, also in Louisiana until about a week or so ago. We did run a few off of Port Canaveral in Florida, and there's still a few boats working over that way from this area that are over there. But typically in the wintertime, there's very little production. Well, actually for 2010 our production was off somewhere around 80 percent, and so it was pretty devastating. We lost quite a few customers because we couldn't supply them, and it's not the easiest thing in the world to get a customer back after you've lost them because they feel that, "These other people helped me when you couldn't." And it's hard to get them back. Alabama season and Mississippi season, which I'm sure you heard, the oil rolled in probably about a week before they were actually going to open our seasons for our spring shrimp, so none of us even got a pound. And like I say, we had changed the business to be heavily in favor of local production, and when we didn't have any, it was a terrible thing. And like I say, your customers, "Well, I don't really know." and the media kept putting it on; they just kept egging it on and egging it on. And it made it fairly difficult to sell stuff, but we didn't have anything to sell. Now, this season here, production was closer to being normal. We were still off production-wise. But I don't see that we've actually picked our customer base back up yet.

To listen to Greg's interview, click here.