Environmental problems are still appearing in the Gulf of Mexico
The National Resources Defense Council asked the Food and Drug Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make sure they check seafood contamination and that they release all the information to the wide public. The organization were also asked to make sure that the seafood coming from that area is suitable for the most vulnerable categories of the public, like children, pregnant women and subsistence fishing communities. Dr. Gina Solomon, a senior scientist with the National Resources Defense Council, says that this is their major issue at this moment, since the shrimping season has already been re-opened and the fishing areas will be opening soon too. The government needs to make sure that the seafood coming from the Gulf area will be safe to eat in the months and years to come. A few weeks ago, the government officials declared that the waters closed after the worst oil spill in the United States history will be reopened for fishing only when the officials will be able to guarantee that the seafood coming from the Gulf waters will pass tests for safety and edibility.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster has shattered the seafood business across the Gulf shores because the federal and the state authorities put much of its waters off-limits for fishing due to safety concerns. Since the well spilling crude oil into the waters has been sealed over a month ago the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has begun lifting the fishing restrictions, but the fishermen say that more needs to be done. Anthony Bourgeoif, a Louisiana shrimper, says that the fishing has been opened only for the small shrimps and that he intends to go out on the waters and catch bigger pray, but he fears that the inspectors might find signs of oil in his catch and will make him throw it away. Deborah Long, a spokeswoman for the Southern Shrimp Alliance, says that it takes days to analyze if the spill has affected the catch from that area. Most of the shrimpers are eager to go out, but some of them are still working for BP, which has hired them to help clean the water surface.
A team from Georgia Sea Grant and the University of Georgia released a report saying that 70 to 79 percent of the oil that was spilled in the water has not yet been recovered and is still out there remaining a threat for the ecosystem. The researchers from the University of South Florida say that the oil coming from the Deepwater Horizon spill has settled to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico on a more eastern point that they have presumed, and that the concentration of oil is toxic to marine life. It seems that the dispersants used to clean up the mess sent the crude oil right to the ocean floor, and oil has been spotted at the bottom of an undersea canyon 40 miles away from the Florida Panhandle. Plankton and other organisms at the base of the food chain proved to be affected by the oil and that means that the oil could resurface later. The University of Georgia report contradicts a government study which says that only 26 percent of the oil spilled into the water is still out there. They say that 4.9 million barrels were spilled into the water and that 74 percent of that oil had been collected, dispersed or had already evaporated on its own, and that the remaining 26 percent will be soon cleaned.
The Georgia study strongly disagrees because they have a very different opinion of when the oil is gone from the water. They say that the oil that has dissolved into the water is not gone, and it will take many years until it will finally vanish. That oil is also hard to spot and Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia, says that naturally dispersed oil is forming plumes in the water. She also says that NOAA failed to measure all the hydrocarbons because it did not measure gas emission, and there are a lot gases that are undocumented, like methane for example. The scientists began new pressure tests last week to measure the effects of the mud and cement poured in the well to seal the cap and they believe that some oil was trapped during the procedure between the cement and the top of the well.11