Gulf Extinction Event
"Al Jazeera just published an astonishing report on the after-effects of the BP oil disaster, and it's not pretty. There are an alarming number of deformities in sea creatures: mutated shrimp, fish with sores and lesions, eyeless crabs and more. It's unlike anything local fisherman have ever seen.
How bad is it?
The effect that the oil spill and its reckless cleanup has on sea life is frightening, damning and sad. Here's a list of deformities that Al Jazeera found in its report:
- Shrimp with tumors on their heads
- Shrimp with defects on their gills and "shells missing around their gills and head"
- Shrimp without eyes
- Shrimp with babies still attached to them
- Eyeless fish
- Fish without eye-sockets
- Fish without covers on their gills
- Fish with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills
- Crates of blue crabs, all of which were lacking at least one claw
- Crabs with holes in their shells
- Crabs with shells that have no spikes or claws or misshapen claws
- Crabs that are dying from within
The fishermen, scientists, and seafood processors who talked to Al Jazeera are all in unison: They've never seen this before. Some have worked in and around the Gulf for over 20 years, and most have seen thousands and thousands of fish. This is the first time they're seeing the mass mutation and destruction of seafood.
And it's not just the obvious deformities. Tests of the oysters that wind up on our plates have shown elevated levels of nickel and vanadium according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. And the jury's still out on arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury levels."
The BP oil spill started on April 20, 2010. We’ve previously warned that the BP oil spill could severely damage the Gulf ecosystem.
Since then, there are numerous signs that the worst-case scenario may be playing out:
- New York Times: “Gulf Dolphins Exposed to Oil Are Seriously Ill, Agency Says
- Mother Jones: Eyeless shrimp are being found all over the Gulf
- Pensacola News Journal: “Sick fish” archive
- Agence France Presse: Mystery illnesses plague Louisiana oil spill crews
- MSNBC:Exclusive: Submarine Dive Finds Oil, Dead Sea Life at Bottom of Gulf of Mexico
- AP: BP oil spill the culprit for slow death of deep-sea coral, scientists say (and see the Guardian and AFP‘s write ups)
- A recent report also notes that there are flesh-eating bacteria in tar balls of BP oil washing up on Gulf beaches
- And all of that lovely Corexit dispersant sprayed on water, land and air? It inhibits the ability of microbes to break down oil, and allows oil and other chemicals to speed past the normal barriers of human skin. Background here. NYT: Impact of Gulf Spill’s Underwater Dispersants Is Examined Speaking on the chemical ingredients of the dispersants used, “The report finds that “Of the 57 ingredients: 5 chemicals are associated with cancer; 33 are associated with skin irritation from rashes to burns; 33 are linked to eye irritation; 11 are or are suspected of being potential respiratory toxins or irritants; 10 are suspected kidney toxins; 8 are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic organisms; and 5 are suspected to have a moderate acute toxicity to fish.”