Nearly two years after the BP Gulf Oil Spill—and BP funded tourism commercials to the contrary—life is not back to normal for the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Coast residents.
Food Safety News reports on the lack of recovery in the oyster industry. The article reports:
Two years later, fourth generation oysterman Nick Collins said there is nothing but dead shells in the Louisiana oyster beds that produced 60 to 80 sacks of oysters a day before the BP spill.
"Has anyone found a successful spring spat set on their leases yet?" asks Mississippi-based oyster expert Ed Cake. "Is there any evidence that the long-awaited oyster industry recovery has begun east of the (Mississippi) River or in the Barataria Bay area?"
If prior oil spills are any indication, it could take 20–30 years for the Gulf fisheries to recover:
The herring fishery in Prince William Sound is only now beginning to recover, 22 year after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, and the oyster fishery in Mexico’s Terminos Lagoon has not fully recovered 32 year after the 1979 Ixtoc-1 oil spill, says Cake.
Meanwhile, the EnergyCollective has an article about Gulfport resident Laurel Lockamy’s photography and documentation of dead marine wildlife washing up on the beach in Gulfport. The article contains graphic photographs of dead sea turtles and dolphins.
Tar balls continue to wash up on Coast beaches. The tar balls are full of deadly bacteria:
They found that the tar balls — which oil executives and government officials have said are little more than a nuisance — are teeming with bacteria, including Vibrio vulnificus, the leading cause of death from eating bad oysters. In fact, they discovered that the balls had up to 100 times more of that particular bacteria than the water they floated in and 10 times more than the sand they rested on.
Under this backdrop, the Clarion-Ledger reports that Attorney General Jim Hood is requesting $2 million from the Legislature to pursue damages from BP. The article reports that Lt. Governor Tate Reeves supports Hood’s request. Republican Representative Hank Zuber of Ocean Springs summarized the need to hold BP accountable:
"The spill affected everything from tourism to canceled conferences to a decrease in land value to the national perception," Zuber said. "You still have a problem with people in the other parts of the country believing that the seafood that comes out of the Gulf of Mexico is unsafe. That’s going to take a lot of marketing to overcome, and for that, we need money."
Zuber said, too, the state should be compensated for permanent damage to the environment and efforts to heal the region’s wildlife.
"It’s extremely important to the state to get an equitable settlement," he said.
General Hood and Republican leadership need to continue to work together to make sure BP is held fully accountable for the damage done to Mississippi’s economy and eco-system.