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Eyeless Shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico
April 18, 2012 7:03 AM   Subscribe

In the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Al Jazeera reports on large-scale deformities and mutations in the Gulf of Mexico seafood catch.
posted by parudox (64 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
ok but are they TASTY mutations and deformities?
posted by spicynuts at 7:09 AM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jokes aside, it's telling that we don't hear anything about this from the NYTimes and other American media outlets.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:12 AM on April 18, 2012 [36 favorites]


Previously
posted by Trurl at 7:13 AM on April 18, 2012


This doesn't surprise me in the least. Anyone who thinks the spill was successfully remedied is simply sticking their head in the tar-sands.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:14 AM on April 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


It seems like, from both an ecological perspective and a contaminated food perspective, the first step would be to stop fishing down there.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:14 AM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh wait, here's an op-ed from the NYTimes where nature is resilient and everything is a-okay.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:15 AM on April 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


ok but are they TASTY mutations and deformities?

Depends. Do you prefer eating eyes, or oozing sores?
posted by entropone at 7:16 AM on April 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


The writing seems a bit shoddy to me.
BP's chemicals?

"The dispersants used in BP's draconian experiment contain solvents, such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber," Dr Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist and Exxon Valdez survivor told Al Jazeera. "It should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known".

The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP's disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome.
1. Did anyone not survive the Exxon Valdez? Were there casualties other than wildlife?
2. Can chemicals enter a genome?

The mutations could also be caused by sun spots. Give me a line that says, "In an experiment that used the same chemicals in a ratio of the same parts per million shrimp were shown to lose their eyes."

I'm not going to defend BP. I think we should have nationalized it and seized all of their assets and sold it all off to compensate the US taxpayer and the people directly affected. You also won't catch me eating seafood from that area knowingly, but at least I admit my distaste isn't based on science.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:18 AM on April 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Horrifying subject matter aside, it's especially interesting to compare the NYT's "gulf scientists believe" with the brief biographies of quoted persons at the end of the AJ piece. I realize one is an editorial, but still.
posted by Kikujiro's Summer at 7:21 AM on April 18, 2012




The mutations could also be caused by sun spots. Give me a line that says, "In an experiment that used the same chemicals in a ratio of the same parts per million shrimp were shown to lose their eyes."

It's fair to be skeptical but it's also fair to start connecting some dots that more rigorous science can test - and I think that's what this reporting is doing.
posted by entropone at 7:31 AM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


According to Kuhns, at least 50 per cent of the shrimp caught in that period in Barataria Bay, a popular shrimping area that was heavily impacted by BP's oil and dispersants, were eyeless. Kuhns added: "Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets."

And here I was taught to anticipate the opposite problem.
posted by 7segment at 7:32 AM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


2. Can chemicals enter a genome?

Poor wording, but accurate. Organic compounds can certainly enter the cell nucleus, insert themselves into DNA and disrupt replication, which can lead to mutations of various types, including deformities in tissues and germ cells (which affects offspring). There are also epigenetic effects, where those same compounds can interfere with normal gene expression, causing changes in differently active and inactive parts of the genome. In a developing organism, for example, normal gene expression is critical for having the right numbers of limbs and having organs where they should be — like eyes in eye sockets, or eye sockets in heads, etc.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:33 AM on April 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


> Jokes aside, it's telling that we don't hear anything about this from the NYTimes and other American media outlets.

I think it's a reflection of a greater divide between American and foreign media outlets regarding news within the United States. The Guardian, The Telegraph, Al Jazeera, and other international media have become increasingly important for learning about the activities and consequences of issues of national scope: corporate malfeasance, corporate influence over governance, and other widespread issues. But American media is still vital for investigative reporting on the details of political processes, social injustice, localized events that may have national consequences.
posted by ardgedee at 7:35 AM on April 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


The mutations could also be caused by sun spots. Give me a line that says, "In an experiment that used the same chemicals in a ratio of the same parts per million shrimp were shown to lose their eyes."

There are some obvious mistakes, but it's pretty easy to infer that they mean mutations caused by the chemicals entering the genome. Anyhow, they don't claim all this stuff has been proven, they just say that many people believe there is a link. It would seem that by extending your logic, since we don't have a control Gulf of Mexico to use in our experiments, we can never really prove the impact of the spill. That certainly wouldn't help us.
posted by snofoam at 7:37 AM on April 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


1. Did anyone not survive the Exxon Valdez? Were there casualties other than wildlife?
Cleanup workers ended up getting cancer and other illnesses later on.
2. Can chemicals enter a genome?
Chemicals can alter DNA, obviously.
posted by delmoi at 7:38 AM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


localized events that may have national consequences.

Ahm.....
posted by spicynuts at 7:38 AM on April 18, 2012


Well, sure. Hard to draw hard lines around these.
posted by ardgedee at 7:42 AM on April 18, 2012


Good thing we're opening up more drilling! Mmmmm, pus.
posted by fungible at 8:01 AM on April 18, 2012


Did anyone not survive the Exxon Valdez? Were there casualties other than wildlife?

There has never been a formal study - from a 2010 McClatchy article:

You'd think that more than 20 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, scientists would know what, if any, long-term health dangers face the thousands of workers needed to clean up the Gulf of Mexico spill.

You'd be wrong.

"We don't know a damn thing," said Anchorage lawyer Michael Schneider, whose firm talked with dozens of Alaska cleanup workers following the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in preparation for a class-action lawsuit that never came.

Sandee Elvsaas, who was director of the spill response operations for oil services firm Veco Corp. in the village of Seldovia, disputes that. She said she still has names of workers she sent out to spray beaches and boats fouled by the spill and who got sick. "The people from the village are still here. . . . We're here. They just haven't come to ask," Elvsaas said.

"Terrible rashes and headaches and vomiting. They were nauseated . . . These were not the same people I sent out," she said.

posted by ryanshepard at 8:03 AM on April 18, 2012


Well this certainly makes me rethink my decision to keep up the practice of seafood on Fridays for Lent even though I am a recovering Catholic...
posted by m0nm0n at 8:08 AM on April 18, 2012


DRILL BABY DRILL!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:19 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


...and because Al-Jazeera is reporting it, it will go ignored by American media.
posted by Renoroc at 8:23 AM on April 18, 2012


(eyeless) KRILL BABY (eyeless) KRILL
posted by spicynuts at 8:23 AM on April 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


simply sticking their head in the tar-sands.

OIL sands. OIL, not tar. The puppy-loving Warm and Fuzzy Harper Government has spent a lot of money to re-brand "tar" sands in the hope of protecting children, puppies and nature--because it loves children, puppies, and nature--and we would not want that money to go to waste.
posted by Hoopo at 8:44 AM on April 18, 2012


God bless Al-Jazeera.
posted by flippant at 8:54 AM on April 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Those eyeless shrimp look like they grew to about full-size, so they can't be doing too bad, right?
posted by univac at 8:57 AM on April 18, 2012


A followup question is, will these eyeless shrimp be making an appearance in a cocktail near me? (does the FDA regulate deformities?)
posted by eddydamascene at 8:59 AM on April 18, 2012


Thanks for posting this.

I'm sad I got relegated to the TV clip, and not the article. Of course, they filmed me explaining what ecotoxicologists think is happening to the shrimp--intergenerational developmental issues from exposure to mutagenic oil compounds. The scientists I'm paraphrasing are currently silenced by the legal process. What Dr. Cowan thinks is wrong with the red snapper is, luckily, confirmed by post-Exxon studies.

I like this fisheries review paper, it has a good litany of oil damages in the introduction. Dr. Pauly is a co-author on that.

We in the Gulf will have to wait for the science to confirm or deny these working hypotheses. But we can't wait. In the meantime, drilling proceeds and the federal government is trying to settle with BP without trial. We need a trial, and we need restoration immediately. And we need the (insufficient) science that is being conducted to be open to the public. None are in the interest of BP or the industry.

I wrote about the general concerns of what we know and don't know here:

The Gulf is fuel-injected

And I recommend people read this Bioscience [pdf] paper from Drs. Samantha Joye, Michael Blum, and others. The laws the US wrote after Valdez are not sufficient to deal with BP's souring the Gulf. The regulatory reforms have left the industry in control, as Don Boesch has stated. I wish he would state this more strongly:

The oil industry, in addition to developing the needed containment capacity, has improved its safety processes. The American Petroleum Institute, the industry body, has created a Center for Offshore Safety and named Charlie Williams, a seasoned and respected scientist from Royal Dutch Shell, to head it. We shall see whether this new centre can develop the planned third-party audit process and if the industry, working with the DOI, will advance cutting-edge research and development (R&D) of safety technology.

"We shall see?" doubtful. The fox is in charge of the henhouse. We in the Gulf advocate for a Gulf RCAC, like in Alaska post-Exxon. It's the cheapest insurance the industry can buy.
posted by eustatic at 9:01 AM on April 18, 2012 [63 favorites]


troubled by what he had been seeing, Keath Ladner met with officials from the US Food and Drug Administration and asked them to promise that the government would protect him from litigation if someone was made sick from eating his seafood.

I wish I could say I was surprised that that he thought that was the job of the FDA: to protect the food producer from the consumer. I also wish I could say I was entirely unsurprised that in this case he turns out to have been wrong.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:01 AM on April 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh wait, here's an op-ed from the NYTimes where nature is resilient and everything is a-okay.

From your link:
Scientists believe that the oil has mostly evaporated, been consumed by bacteria or dispersed in deep water. Yet oil has poisoned Louisiana’s salt marshes and wetlands, which are vital fish nurseries, and visibly damaged deep-sea coral. The toll on the gulf and its marine life may not be known for years. The herring population of Alaska’s Prince William Sound did not crash until three years after the Exxon Valdez spill.
The level of bizarre self-delusion in this thread is truly mystifying. Anyone who thinks the NYT would be deliberately refusing to report on the environmental consequences of the Deepwater Horizon Spill because it's a shill for BP clearly has never read enough of the NYT to be capable of forming a meaningful opinion.

There is nothing particular new or startling in the Al Jazeera piece. Or, rather, there are "shocking" claims that are made by non-scientists (or loony-tunes 'scientists' like Riki Ott--the one who famously declared that people who hadn't evacuated in the wake of the spill were dropping dead with their oesophaguses eaten away) and then there are the claims by actual scientists that are exactly in line with the summary offered in the NYT editorial linked to above: there are some disturbing findings, we don't yet know what caused them, we don't yet know their magnitude, we don't yet know what their consequences, if any, will be, and they're worth continued study and concern.
posted by yoink at 9:10 AM on April 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


Ugh. So creepy and frightening. What I want to know is what happens to the eyeless shrimp (and the deformed crabs, and all the rest)—do they just toss them back overboard? Do they send them on to market to see if people will buy them? Do they freeze samples just in case? If that's a huge part of your catch, what do you do? Do the skills required for Gulf fishing translate to other ocean areas?
posted by limeonaire at 9:18 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


It sort of sounds like there might be something here. We have data from before the spill, data from after the spill, and the data show a marked increase in deformaties since the spill. I'd like to see the actual data and I'd like to see this stuff higher up in the article rather than buried 2/3 of the way through the article, but it could be worse. Some thouughts:

It's certainly gross that deformed and diseased animals are making it into our food stream, and that should be stopped.

It's also very distressing that we are seeing these sicknesses to begin with, and it looks like the oil spill could well be the cause, and formal studies should be done along with recommendations made for how this could be mitigated and prevented in the future. Those recommendations should be evaluated and implemented.

If there are known human toxins appearing in the waters where these animals are being taken from (sounds like there are) then catches should be tested for the presence of these chemicals and only animals that are uncontaminated should be sold. Fishermen whose catches are unsaleable due to contamination should be compensated by BP at or above market rates.

Good luck with all of that. In the meantime, I will avoid gulf seafood -- a painful decision, living in New Orleans.
posted by Scientist at 9:20 AM on April 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Look at what happened to Becky...."
posted by Fizz at 9:27 AM on April 18, 2012


The level of bizarre self-delusion in this thread is truly mystifying. Anyone who thinks the NYT would be deliberately refusing to report on the environmental consequences of the Deepwater Horizon Spill because it's a shill for BP clearly has never read enough of the NYT to be capable of forming a meaningful opinion.

Totally agree, yoink.

I was completely thrown by Blazecock Pileon's earlier comment (and link): "Oh wait, here's an op-ed from the NYTimes where nature is resilient and everything is a-okay."

True, there was a (strangely) gung ho opening note to the editorial:

Thanks partly to nature’s resilience, some progress has been made. The gulf is open to fishing, beaches are mostly clean and President Obama has resurrected an ambitious oil exploration plan that he shelved immediately after the spill.


But the editorial then turned solemn fast.
As you (yoink) say: "there are the claims by actual scientists that are exactly in line with the summary offered in the NYT editorial linked to above: there are some disturbing findings..."

The NY Times was surely pointing out - clearly - everything is very not effing a-okay.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:43 AM on April 18, 2012


ShrimpieNobs!

Or is it still too soon?
posted by Slackermagee at 9:44 AM on April 18, 2012


Remember the fish with 3 eyes on the Simpsons? Art imitates life.
posted by prepmonkey at 10:26 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone who thinks the NYT would be deliberately refusing to report on the environmental consequences of the Deepwater Horizon Spill because it's a shill for BP clearly has never read enough of the NYT to be capable of forming a meaningful opinion.

In 2001 I was temping in the city. It was miserable. But I had a ritual. Every morning at the train station I'd buy a hot chocolate, a lightly buttered roll, and a copy of the New York Times. For thirty-five minutes on Metro North, I'd read scathing articles about the terrible things our new president, George W. Bush, was up to. The Times was digging in mercilessly, and I was proud of them for it.

Then, after September 11, everything changed. There was no more opposition, or if there was opposition, it was so gentle as to be meaningless. I thought, "Give it a few months. A few months because the nation is focused right now on healing, and so maybe writing about Bush's bad policies is a bit of a faux pas right now."

I waited months. A year. Two. Eventually, I moved from deeply admiring the Gray Lady to actively searching for other publications that could fill the Times-shaped hole in my heart.

What I've concluded is this: the Gray Lady has no spine. Maybe she did once, but not now. Not for a decade, at least. The Times is to September 11 as the white shrimp is to Deepwater Horizon: mutated, and no longer an organism we can trust not to make us sick upon ingestion.

I wouldn't say the Times is a shill for BP. But I would say that they have become a jellyfish minus the sting. When the Associated Press has better, deeper, more meaningful coverage of the NYPD than the newspaper of record, there is a problem with the newspaper of record.

If the NYT is "deliberately refusing to report on the environmental consequences of the Deepwater Horizon Spill," it is because the NYT is itself a mutant jellyfish, unable to recognize, let alone report on, the consequences of the spill.

Yes, Al-Jazeera obviously has different standards when it comes to bias in their articles. But at least they're doing the damn articles.
posted by brina at 10:48 AM on April 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


Articles of incorporation and sufficient capital under current law can make you invincible and immune to the consequences of even the worst kinds of negligent or deliberate failure. If there were a death pool for corporations we'd all be waiting forever for it to pay out.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:48 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the NYT is "deliberately refusing to report on the environmental consequences of the Deepwater Horizon Spill," it is because the NYT is itself a mutant jellyfish, unable to recognize, let alone report on, the consequences of the spill.

Except that it isn't "refusing to report on the environmental consequences of the Deepwater Horizon Spill." It reports on them in the very editorial linked to as proof that they supposedly pretend everything is "A-Okay."

This Al Jazeera report adds essentially nothing to what we all already knew from reporting in the MSM, other than a shrill, alarmist framing that happens to flatter the prejudices of certain Mefites. If you look for actual scientific findings in this report you'll come away nearly empty handed. The sole meaningful takeaway is that more study needs to be done and that there may be potentially grave consequences moving up the food chain in ways we don't yet fully understand. You know--the stuff we've all known since the spill happened, and which the NYT clearly states in the linked editorial. The recent this 'scoop' is being ignored by the rest of the world's media is because it's not a scoop--there's no there there at all.
posted by yoink at 11:09 AM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Those mutations will breed themselves out. Except the good ones.
posted by Bonzai at 11:10 AM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Except that it isn't "refusing to report on the environmental consequences of the Deepwater Horizon Spill." It reports on them in the very editorial linked to as proof that they supposedly pretend everything is "A-Okay."

One paragraph that barely questions if there is any environmental damage, advocating a wait-and-see approach — in an op-ed is not reporting, no matter what shrill, defensive objections certain Mefites might raise.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:19 AM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


barely questions if there is any environmental damage,
Yet oil has poisoned Louisiana’s salt marshes and wetlands, which are vital fish nurseries, and visibly damaged deep-sea coral.
advocating a wait-and-see approach
The toll on the gulf and its marine life may not be known for years. The herring population of Alaska’s Prince William Sound did not crash until three years after the Exxon Valdez spill.
"May not be known for years" =/= "Isn't worth studying for years."

Christ BP, just admit you either completely failed to read the editorial you so utterly mischaracterized, or that you flat out lied about it.
posted by yoink at 11:27 AM on April 18, 2012


Dolphins have been affected as well. Dolphins were thought at the beginning of the spill to be likely less affected than other aquatic species, because they are smart enough to avoid spills. That doesn't seem to have worked out.

The comments on toxicity I find confusing. There's been some cutting and pasting there and I'm not sure it's all accurate. The oil toxicants, including PAHs, are most certainly mutagenic, but the dispersants aren't normally considered such. One of the dispersants used might be (evidence is mixed), but the one that saw the majority of use (the 9500) is not. Dispersants are considered magnifiers of oil toxicity, and by several orders of magnitude, but not usually very toxic in themselves.

In my view, these injuries and deformations are consistent with oil and dispersant-enhanced oil damage, certainly with those I've seen in my own work and that I'm familiar with in the literature.

The extent of damage is amazing and interesting for the part of the ocean the worst-affected species are being found. There were comments in early 2011 that the shrimp fishery had more-or-less recovered, but then the 2011 catch levels were very low meaning that the pelagic species are still at high risk. As well as telling us about the damage to the ecosystem, these sorts of data are golden for understanding the extent and eventual fate of the oil. Damage in species other than those used as laboratory test subjects is similarly extremely valuable for predicting what can happen in future spills.

Articles of incorporation and sufficient capital under current law can make you invincible and immune to the consequences of even the worst kinds of negligent or deliberate failure.

I saw a talk by a corporate governance guy a couple of weeks ago that had the boards of major oil corps very concerned about the other shoes that have yet to drop. BP has talked a lot about paying out in compensation, $20 billion dollars. There's no word yet, however on the fines that the companies will face.

If the fines levied by the US federal government are civil, the regulatory fine under OPA90 is $1000/bbl spilled, estimated by the speaker at around $5billion. If it's criminal, fines quadruple, $4300/bbl, $20b to $25billion. This is in addition to the $20billion BP has already committed fro compensation. State fines will add to those numbers as well.

The speaker also made the point that BP has lost about a third of its capitalization, limiting the amount they can borrow and get by investment. The company has had to sell about 20% of their assets to cover costs so far. Big fines could cause a second collapse of the share price and thus deepen their problems. A criminal conviction at the upper management level could well mean that BP is gone as a company.
posted by Anonymous 5$ Sockpuppet at 11:42 AM on April 18, 2012 [12 favorites]


The mutations could also be caused by sun spots.

(raises eyebrow) Really? Tell me more....

Jody Tresidder, the problem is with the overall tone of the piece. The article choose to emphasise the positive ("Despite the horrible things that have happened Nature is recovering!") rather than the negative ("The horrible things? THEY REALLY ARE VERY BAD AND IT'LL TAKE DECADES BEFORE ANYTHING GETS CLOSE TO NORMAL AGAIN.")

The media in general has lacked reports of how horrible the Gulf was hurt lately, causing it to recede in the public's mind. This is a result off the sensation-seeking news culture, always searching for new things to tell people to be afraid of. As it recedes, BP is slowly let off the hook in the court of public opinion. Nothing has magically happened to remedy the Gulf, and there are stories of hardship going on down there right now that no one is pointing any microphones at.
posted by JHarris at 12:17 PM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


...the problem is with the overall tone of the piece. The article choose to emphasise the positive ("Despite the horrible things that have happened Nature is recovering!") rather than the negative ("The horrible things? THEY REALLY ARE VERY BAD AND IT'LL TAKE DECADES BEFORE ANYTHING GETS CLOSE TO NORMAL AGAIN.")


A debate about the "overall tone" of a NY Times editorial would probably get pretty subjective pretty quickly, JHarris!

I was mainly challenging comments such as "we don't hear anything about this from the NYTimes" - or that the NY Times printed only oil company propaganda.
Which are fairly daft statements - objectively - from the evidence is this very thread.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:59 PM on April 18, 2012


the problem is with the overall tone of the piece. The article choose to emphasise the positive ("Despite the horrible things that have happened Nature is recovering!") rather than the negative ("The horrible things? THEY REALLY ARE VERY BAD AND IT'LL TAKE DECADES BEFORE ANYTHING GETS CLOSE TO NORMAL AGAIN.")

I find it hard to believe you've actually read that editorial when you summarize it like that. You're simply wrong. It devotes precisely two sentences to anything that could be called the "positive" side of the story, and the takeaway from one of those sentences is "some progress has been made." In what world does that mean that everything is hunky dory and we can just forget about the spill? The rest of the piece is talking solely about unresolved challenges that lie ahead. It is a list of "central issues that remain unresolved," beginning with the "poisoned" Gulf and moving through an inadequate regulatory framework, untested safety provisions for new drilling sites and uncertainty about the adequacy of reparations payments. It is simply false to suggest that this piece in any way underplays the seriousness of what occurred in the Gulf of that it's overall message is that nature miraculously healed itself and everything is all better.
posted by yoink at 1:37 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can chemicals enter a genome?

If a mutagenic agent changes ova or sperms, the mutation enters the genome. Evolution is not necessarily improvement of the genome, as clearly is not in this case. Long term duration and dispersion of a mutation depends on the survival characteristics it imparts.
posted by francesca too at 1:52 PM on April 18, 2012


Speaking of shrimp's eyes... why do shrimp have eyes? What are they looking for, and what do they do when they see it?

Don't shrimp hang out in "swarms", randomly paddling about capturing food purely by chance? I didn't think they looked for food so much as stumbled across it. Likewise, I didn't think they spot predators so much as trust that in a swarm of millions, chances are that as an individual they're relatively safe.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:48 PM on April 18, 2012


Also, between mutated Gulf fisheries and radioactive Pacific fisheries, is it time to stop eating seafood?
posted by five fresh fish at 4:49 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Big fines could cause a second collapse of the share price and thus deepen their problems. A criminal conviction at the upper management level could well mean that BP is gone as a company.

Here's discussion from a former Federal environmental crimes prosecutor talking to Tulane University Law from how likely a personal conviction of management may or may not be. according to him, Hayward is not going to be convicted.

The seafood isn't so much a concern for Americans in general. The testing levels are not appropriate for young children or pregnant women, but there is a lot of testing. But in coastal Louisiana communities, where shrimp is a currency, and consumed en masse at communal boils, the contamination is a very real concern. Often these are the same communities where people were hired for VOO work. They also live on the water. So they got exposed coming and going.
posted by eustatic at 7:37 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I expect the South's undertakers are in for boom times over this next decade.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:00 PM on April 18, 2012


It is possible that I let the conversation here influence my reading of the piece, instead of trying to zero out my expectations before reading it. I could well be wrong in my reading.
posted by JHarris at 2:59 AM on April 19, 2012


Between reading this story and this one about the chemicals soaking into skin (with bonus backlight glowing), I think I'll stop thinking about going to the Gulf Coast. I'd wanted to see it one more time before it was utterly destroyed, but apparently, it's already too late.
posted by Orb at 5:38 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm also bothered by the lack of mainstream media reporting on this, but Fox News actually has a decent article on it. Which basically regurgitate's Al Jazeera's reporting, but hey, it's something. Same with The Atlantic.

I googled "New York Times eyeless shrimp" and didn't find any hits from nytimes.com. I don't see any AP or Reuters reporting on it either.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:12 AM on April 19, 2012


Are there any other reliable resources substantiating this report? How common were seafood deformities in the Gulf BEFORE the oil spill?
posted by kmccorm at 11:15 AM on April 19, 2012


Well, here's some additional coverage from the folks who run the Alabama Shrimp Festival, and they don't exactly have a compelling financial interest in scaring folks away from Gulf shrimp.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:02 PM on April 19, 2012


Actually, on closer inspection, I'm not sure about the provenance of that last link I posted above. The url says AlabamaShrimpFestival.com, but the content seems to tell a different story.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:09 PM on April 19, 2012


Yeah--take that one with a big old grain of salt, actually. That's actually just an amateurish advocacy blog meant to get publicity with a deceptive sounding, high traffic domain.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:11 PM on April 19, 2012


Here's a decent-looking round up of related articles and other previous reports on these deformities and other disturbing news out of the Gulf, including this one from 2011 from Mother Jones.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:19 PM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]




How Science Failed During the Gulf Oil Disaster. Chris Ready, the author, works at Woods Hole and is one of the foremost researchers working on oil spills today.
posted by Anonymous 5$ Sockpuppet at 12:43 PM on April 20, 2012


Perhaps fish will evolve to use our poisons to prevent us from eating them.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:55 PM on April 20, 2012




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