Quantcast

Seafood Deformities Suggest Impact of BP Oil Spill Worse than Imagined

EcoWatch

A new investigation by Al-Jazeera is confirming the worst about the residual impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill. According to the network, scientists and fisherman are stunned by their recurring findings: "horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp" along with "shrimp with abnormal growths, female shrimp with their babies still attached to them, and shrimp with oiled gills." Unfortunately, this list is anything but comprehensive.

The findings portend an ominous future for a region that has already suffered monumental economic and environmental catastrophe. Despite BP's ongoing public relations blitz that paints a picture of white sand, sparkling water and abundant (untainted) seafood, the oil giant may find itself in hotter water, even as it tries to quickly settle damages and wash its hands of the whole affair.

For now, what is known is that BP released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf following the explosion, then covered the visible slicks with at least 1.9 million gallons of Corexit oil dispersant—a toxin known to be mutagenic—to sink the oil. While "perception is reality" may be the mantra in the worlds of advertising and public relations—and the perception certainly seemed to show clean water from the surface after a hurried clean-up effort—the reality is a seafloor covered in oil.

"This is Macondo oil on the bottom. These are dead organisms because of oil being deposited on their heads," said Samantha Joye, a marine scientist with the University of Georgia at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington.

Meanwhile, BP and federal agencies have very few answers, and the answers they do have are as grounded in reality as Alice was after eating her mushroom in Wonderland.

According to Al-Jazeera, the agencies in charge of this matter—the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—"insisted Al-Jazeera talk with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)." Unfortunately, NOAA wouldn't comment because of its involvement with the BP lawsuit and BP, in lieu of a televised interview, sent a statement reading: "Seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is among the most tested in the world, and, according to the FDA and NOAA, it is as safe now as it was before the accident."

Recent scientific research led by East Carolina University confirmed that oil from the Deepwater Horizon explosion successfully found its way into zooplankton—small organisms that serve as the foundation of the Gulf food chain. Zooplankton work their way up through shrimp, small fish, and ultimately, larger species such as dolphins and sharks.

Al Jazeera spoke with Ed Cake, a biological oceanographer, about his concern for the Gulf. "It has been more than 33 years since the 1979 Ixtoc-1 oil disaster in Mexico's Bay of Campeche, and the oysters, clams and mangrove forests have still not recovered in their oiled habitats in seaside estuaries of the Yucatan Peninsula," he said. "It has been 23 years since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska, and the herring fishery that failed in the wake of that disaster has still not returned."

"I will not be alive to see the Gulf of Mexico recover," added Cake, who is 72 years old. "Without funding and serious commitment, these things will not come back to pre-April 2010 levels for decades."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pick one of these nine activism styles, and you can start making change. YES! Illustrations by Delphine Lee

By Cathy Brown

Most of us have heard about UN researchers warning that we need to make dramatic changes in the next 12 years to limit our risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty caused by climate change. Report after report about a bleak climate future can leave people in despair.

Read More Show Less
Jamie Grill Photography / Getty Images

Losing weight, improving heart health and decreasing your chances for metabolic diseases like diabetes may be as simple as cutting back on a handful of Oreos or saying no to a side of fries, according to a new study published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
A boy gives an impromptu speech about him not wanting to die in the next 10 years during the protest on July 15. The Scottish wing of the Extinction Rebellion environmental group of Scotland locked down Glasgow's Trongate for 12 hours in protest of climate change. Stewart Kirby / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

It's important to remember that one person can make a difference. From teenagers to world-renowned scientists, individuals are inspiring positive shifts around the world. Maybe you won't become a hard-core activist, but this list of people below can inspire simple ways to kickstart better habits. Here are seven people advocating for a better planet.

Read More Show Less
A group of wind turbines in a field in Banffshire, Northeast Scotland. Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Scotland produced enough power from wind turbines in the first half of 2019, that it could power Scotland twice over. Put another way, it's enough energy to power all of Scotland and most of Northern England, according to the BBC — an impressive step for the United Kingdom, which pledged to be carbon neutral in 30 years.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Beekeeper Jeff Anderson works with members of his family in this photo from 2014. He once employed all of his adult children but can no longer afford to do so. CHRIS JORDAN-BLOCH / EARTHJUSTICE

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

It's been a particularly terrible summer for bees. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is allowing the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor back on the market. And just a few weeks prior, the USDA announced it is suspending data collection for its annual honeybee survey, which tracks honeybee populations across the U.S., providing critical information to farmers and scientists.

Read More Show Less

tommaso79 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Rachel Licker

As a new mom, I've had to think about heat safety in many new ways since pregnant women and young children are among the most vulnerable to extreme heat.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to get confused about which foods are healthy and which aren't.

Read More Show Less