It has been two years since the BP oil rig Deep Horizon busted and oil spilt everywhere, but the effects are still being felt.
The Gulf of Mexico is home to more than 40% of the nation’s seafood yield, and finding show that many species have been significantly harmed by the oil spill. Fishers are reporting finding shrimp with no eyes or even no eye sockets. White shrimp are being pulled up with tumors and pregnant females with abnormally developed offspring. Blue crabs are in big trouble as well, fishers are pulling up crab with no claws and soft rotting shells. While crustaceans have it the worst, lots of fish aren’t doing so hot either. Fish with abnormally developed gills as well as oozing lesions. What most fishermen and processors are saying is the same, theyve never seen anything like this before.
It’s not certain at this point how the sealife is being harmed, but it could have something to do with the chemicals BP used to sink the large amounts of floating oil. The solvent called Corexit was the most commonly used dispersant. It is known to be toxic to humans, but its effect on ecosystems is thusfar undocumented. It is suspected that the way the chemical’s residuals linger in the water could be the cause of the abnormalities we are seeing in sealife. Also the way it works with oil is not altogether a clean process. It sinks large deposits of oil and usually renders the stuff harmless, but often it allows large tarballs to form, and these are being pulled up in crab traps more often than ever. Tarballs are known to kill crabs, practically rotting them from the inside out.
The issue is that BP may have used a chemical that they werent entirely familiar with. It is possible that Corexit will be just as deadly to marine life as the oil it was supposed to clean up. While the FDA inisists that Gulf Seafood is healthy and safe to eat, it is uncertain whether the marine life there is safe and living healthily. As events unfold we will see how the Gulf can recover. In the meantime anyone can help the Gulf by buying local seafood available in grocery stores to help the struggling fisherman, and those whose livelihoods depend on one of America’s greatest assets.