Thursday, April 19, 2012

Beginning of the End

Well, this certainly isn't good. I think I would have to rank this on the What The Hell side on the Bad scale. According to an article by Aljazeera: Gulf seafood deformities alarm scientists.

Just a few quotes:

Eyeless shrimp and fish with lesions are becoming common, with BP oil pollution believed to be the likely cause.

"The fishermen have never seen anything like this," Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. "And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I've never seen anything like this either."

Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp - and interviewees' fingers point towards BP's oil pollution disaster as being the cause.

Tracy Kuhns and her husband Mike Roberts, commercial fishers from Barataria, Louisiana, are finding eyeless shrimp.

"At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these," Kuhns told Al Jazeera while showing a sample of the eyeless shrimp.

"Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets."

"They are also catching them in Alabama and Mississippi. We are also finding eyeless crabs, crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don't have their usual spikes … they look like they've been burned off by chemicals."

"The shrimp are immune compromised. We are finding shrimp with tumors on their heads, and are seeing this everyday."

And about the Chemicals

The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities.

"What we think is that it's attributable to chronic exposure to PAHs released in the process of weathering of oil on the seafloor," Cowan said. "There's no other thing we can use to explain this phenomenon. We've never seen anything like this before."

This is not only bad news for the industry, but for the Gulf Coast region and the country as well. 40% of the seafood in the United States comes from the Gulf Coast region. Not only does this impact the livelihood of the fishermen (it's hard to sell deformed and tumor ridden seafood), it will also have an impact on the restaurants (you can't serve deformed fish to your customers) that prepare this seafood. Restaurants will have to raise their prices or cut their menus.

Could this be the beginning of the end of the Gulf Coast seafood industry? At least crawfish are harvested inland.

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