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A MUCH LARGER DISASTER is unfolding here that people don’t realize. The fishermen

of the Gulf rely on those waters to support their families. More and more species of fish are in danger of extinction due to BP’s oil spill, and a large portion of the Gulf is now closed to fishermen. It’s a hard time economically. For the fishermen, and for the Gulf. The problem that exists beneath the surface is almost frightening. We may be living in an economic crisis, but the fish themselves are experiencing the more physical toll brought on by the toxic oil and chemicals. Those fish that are close to endangerment are the biggest payoffs for fishermen as well.

88,000 mile fishing ban The fishing industry in the Gulf Coast is suffering terribly since the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill. Huge areas of the Gulf of Mexico are now off limits. Thus far about 88,000 square miles of the Gulf Coast are no longer open for fishing. Therefore, those people who rely on the fishing industry for living expenses are in dire crisis. Louisiana’s $2.4 billion seafood industry supplies up to 40 percent of the nation’s seafood supply and employs over 27,000 people. The ban affects hundreds of thousands of fishermen, hitting the livelihoods of shrimpers, oyster catchers and even charter boat operators.

even god can’t fix this..

fish and marine life

affected by the


the physical toll Fish can be impacted directly through the uptake by the gills, ingestion of oil, effects on eggs and larval survival, or changes in the ecosystem that support the fish. Common side effects include reduced growth, enlarged livers, changes in heart and in respiration rates, fin erosion, and reproductive impairment when exposed to oil. Mutations are a common factor in some cases as well. This could change the entire ecosystem of the gulf. It cannot be determined how long it will take to recover.

the sawfish The largetooth sawfish, a big payoff item known for its sawlike snout, was proposed as a federally endangered species on May 7, less than three weeks after massive amounts of oil started gushing into Gulf waters. What’s left of its population is now confined to the lower peninsula of Florida. These areas may be exposed

the bluefin tuna

to the oil by the effects of the Loop Current, a strong flow of warm water in the Gulf that could funnel some of the oil into the Florida Straits.

T H E “ K E YS TO N E S P E C I E S ” is now in danger of becoming extinct. They are commercially important, and now they are riding the same currents that are pushing around toxic slicks and crude. They are a species that can size up to nearly 1,000 pounds, and sell for about a hundred grand in Japan’s sushi market. While fishing for them has been banned There should not be any fear

in the gulf for some time, they at least had been on the road

about eating oil contaminat-

towards conservation. The spill could not have happened at a

ed fish at this point. Now the

worse possible time for the bluefin. It is right on top of one





the Gulf Coast fisheries that are near

the preferred breeding grounds for the Gulf’s population. They

the oil spill so that you cannot get sea-

spawn once a year, and are most abundant in the spring and

food from there, and all seafood from

summer. April is when they usually show up. It is unknown

the Gulf is being closely inspected. The

whether or not the larvae will be able to survive, but that

real issue is what can be done to ensure

point of the fish’s life is actually the most sensitive life stage to the toxic effects of oil. In the past 40 years the species has declined by about 80 percent due to industrialized fishing. Recent efforts to categorize the fish as endangered has failed, but the oil spill may be just what makes these warnings become reality.

the dead zones...

that these fish will not be submerged to the point of extinction.

OX YG E N - D E P L E T E D areas where fish and other marine life can’t survive have recently caught scientists attention. They detected what were described as astonishingly high levels of methane, or natural gas, bubbling from the well site. This is setting off a chain of reactions that suck the oxygen out of the water. In some cases, methane concentrations are 100,000 times normal levels. This high of concentrations, it is feared, would trigger the growth of microbes. Microbes would then break up the methane, but also consume the oxygen needed by the marine life in order to survive and breathe. They believe that because of this fish and animals are now voting with their

the endangered

fins to get away from where the oil spill is, and where potentially there is oxygen depletion. Basically the fish are now making their way towards the shore

Billfish basically overtake the list of endangered, or on the verge

in desperate search for better water.

of endangered fish. Those being the sawfish, sailfish, swordfish, and blue marlin. The only one outside of that category is the bluefin tuna. All of these are being watched, some more than others, to ensure that the BP oil spill does not threaten their species anymore than they already are. The diagram below displays each fish, and their level of endangerment as of now.

$ to size ratio the murder weapon In an attempt to disperse the oil that was quickly spreading, BP began using the chemical compounds to dissolve the crude oil, both on the surface and deep below. The chemical toxicity of the dispersants is in many was worse than the oil itself. They can concentrate leftover oil toxins in the water. Corexit 9527, is the one they’ve been using most. It ruptures red blood cells and causes fish to bleed. With 800,000 gallons of this, we can only imagine the death toll that will be caused.

800 kg

threatened = 1 vulnerable = 2 endangered = 3





bluefin tuna



The maximum size of Bluefin Tuna can reach up to 800 kg, but the largest successful catch was 679 kilograms.

500 kg

At about 30 years of age, the typical size of a “good catch” is


about 500 kg, which pays respectively.

25 kg

The most popular catch, yet much less respected, is around


25 kg. Which is just above the legal limit.

6.5 kg

6.5 kilograms is the minimum size of a bluefin tuna catch. It still pays well in cash, but less in renown.,1357135.html


blue marlin


Fishing: An Economic Heartbeat  

A front and back informational poster about the BP oil spill's affects on the fishing industry and the fish that it relies on.

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