According to the U.S. government, the BP oil spill is old news and the Gulf of Mexico is fine. The FDA announced back in August 2010 that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico was safe to eat, and it was seemingly business as usual. Now, a pnj.com article reports that scientists and fishermen are finding an alarming number of fish from this area “with skin lesions, fin rot, spots, liver blood clots and other health problems.”
Scientists are still looking into the cause of this, but history seems to be pointing to the answer. In the years following the 1989 Exxon oil spill in Alaska, the herring fishery collapsed and has yet to recover. Like the fish in the Gulf, the herring suffered skin lesions as well as other similar symptoms.
This news is not surprising for many. Food Integrity Now featured two separate shows on the health of the Gulf last fall. Jean-Michel Cousteau, oceanographer and documentary filmmaker, stated that we had yet to see the full ramifications of the disaster. Project Gulf Impact conducted research which clearly indicated the seafood is not safe.
UWF Biologist William Patterson III, a scientist working on the case, states:
I’ve had tens of thousands of fish in my hands and not seen these symptoms in so many fish before. All those symptoms have been seen naturally before, but it’s a matter of them all coming at once that we’re concerned about.
Compounding on the concern, Patterson acknowledges the fact that many commercial fishermen are reluctant to report their findings to state and local authorities out of fear that fishing grounds will be shut down.
The focus of most Americans have moved on from the BP oil spill, including the major news agencies. 210 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf and 2 million gallons of toxic dispersants poured on top of it was a major wound to the region’s ecology. Just because our short attention spans have moved on doesn’t mean the Gulf has healed.
I’m not eating any fish from the Gulf, but that choice is up to you. Food Integrity Now will continue to monitor this issue, and keep you updated as new developments arise.