Gator Biz Caught in Jaws of Recession

Egg collection shrinks
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2009 2:18 PM CDT
Two alligators lie on the floor waiting to be processed at All American Gator Products in Hallandale, Fla. Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
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(Newser) – No industry is safe from the recession, no matter how many teeth it has. The demand for alligator-skin accessories like handbags, watches, and belts has plummeted this year, leaving even top US gator farmers in danger of going out of business, USA Today reports. “This is, by far, the worst market conditions the industry has ever seen,” said one Louisiana coastal resources researcher.

Demand has dried up so badly that Louisiana gator farmers went from collecting 530,000 eggs last year to a mere 30,000 this year. "We can't invest in eggs if the demand is not there," said one farmer. "They're just not selling." The number of wild alligator skins sold plummeted, too, from 35,000 last year to roughly 7,500 this year.