Texas Braces For Higher Seafood Prices

It's just before noon at Perla's Seafood and Oyster Bar in Austin, Texas, and the lunch clientele are just beginning to file in.

The bartender is cleaning a few glasses while busboys scurry about, setting tables and cleaning up. One of Perla's owners, Larry McGuire, is sitting at the bar, glancing over the menu and taking a moment to relax before the lunch rush.

Perla's opened in early 2009 and quickly rose to one of the most critically acclaimed restaurants in Austin. McGuire and co-owner Thomas Moorman have fresh fish and shellfish driven in from the Texas coast daily, as well as from the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

But for Perla's, and seafood restaurants across the state, anxiety levels are rising . Ever since the Transocean offshore rig explosion, which killed 11 people and dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, federal officials have been forced to shut down large portions of the fisheries in the Gulf, leaving fishermen and restaurants in the coastal states to wonder about the future of their livelihood.

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