Gulf of Mexico
An oysterman walks past oyster boats docked at Prestige Oysters in San Leon on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Sales of Fresh Oysters have plunged during the coronavirus pandemic. Stuart Villanueva / The Daily News

TX - Demand for Oysters on the Decline Thanks to Pandemic

Oyster sales have plummeted in Galveston County because of the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent shutdown of area restaurant dining rooms.

San Leon’s Prestige Oysters, one of the largest oyster purveyors in the state, reported selling only 50 gallons to distributor Sysco last week for the entire Houston market. That figure represents a plunge in sales of at least 70 percent, said Raz Halili, president of Prestige.

Winter is the prime time for oyster sales to restaurants, when waters are cool and harvesting is at its peak. But even in warmer months in previous years, there has been enough of a market for oysters to keep Prestige’s crew of fishermen busy.

“The market in general is extremely low,” Halili said. “A number of restaurants don’t have oysters on the menu at all. They can’t store them and the cost is up. Everybody’s looking to cut costs.”

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