Quality of Water Major Concern Amid Massive Fish Kill in LA; Water Testing Needed Say Experts



By Carol McCracken (Post # 583)

In mid-July a group of small, marine-related small business owners from the Gulf of Mexico area spoke at a press conference held at the Gulf of Maine Research Inst. in Portland. They talked about the devastating impact the BP oil spill had on their businesses and their friends and neighbors. One of the speakers was Ann Costello, who with her husband, owns a marine-related business in Pensacola, FL.

Ann reported earlier today that “a newly discovered fish kill is raising concerns the BP oil spill continues to devastate the Gulf’s marine life. On Friday, hundreds of thousands of dead fish were discovered floating in Louisiana’s Plaquermines Parish. The parish’s president, Billy Nungesser, said government testing should be done to determine if the spill was a cause. This is an extremely large fish kill and there’s many species in there. It’s not just one group of fish; it’s redfish and trout and flounder. All species have been identified in this fish kill. We’re talking about the long-term testing of the quality of the water, the fish and the environment. And we don’t see a collective group really wanting to know what’s going on. And we need to demand that happens.”

On September 14, MHN.com received an email from Chasidy Fisher Hobbs, Coastkeeper for the Emerald Coastkeeper, Inc. stating: “A new wave of black oil suddenly came ashore west of the Mississippi River on Friday and Saturday, coating beaches and fouling interior marshes. Roughly 6 miles of coastal beaches in Plaquemines Parish from Sandy Pont to Chalon Pass were lined with black oil and tar balls. Meanwhile anglers returning to Lafitte told Sidney Bourgeois, of Joe’s Landing, that new oil was surfacing on the eastern side of Barataria Bay in the Bay Minnie, Bay Wilkerson and in Bay Baptiste areas. This was followed by yet another massive fish kill: (Possibly the one mentioned above.)

Very little seafood testing has been done, Hobbs continues in her email. More and more fisheries are being opened after very limited testing. Sampling is very expensive, but more of it needs to be done. She says that as long as “we leave the ‘responsible party’ in charge of oil response we will continue to get the cheapest and quickest response possible.”

Emerald Coastkeeper has been working hard to educate people but also to raise funds for independent water/tissue analysis. The cost to analyze 1 (one) water sample for oil and dispersants is $1,000! Coastkeeper was just awarded a $5,000 grant from Gulf Coast Fund to help in that endeavor and it has another $2,500 raised through Save Our Gulf. That will analyze a total of 7 samples.

Coastkeeper continues its work on holding BP and government officials accountable, on petitioning the EPA to remove corexit from a list of approved means of dealing with an oil spill, on making the term “recoverable oil” obsolete. Coastkeeper must insist on long term monitoring and wide scale restoration efforts.

Please see Post # 549, dated August 16 herein for more information as well as Post # 522, dated July 14th herein.

Please see www.emeraldcoastkeeper.org for more information.