The Exxon Valdez is to date the worst oil spill to have occurred in US waters. It has been well studied and provided twenty years worth of information on how ecosystems recover from oil spills.
Oil spills can have devastating impacts on fisheries. After the Exxon Valdez, fisheries for salmon, herring, crab, shrimp, rockfish and sablefish were closed in 1989 throughout Prince William Sound, Cook Inlet, the outer Kenai coast, Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula. Shrimp and salmon commercial fisheries remained closed in parts of Prince William Sound through 1990.
One of the largest impacts to fisheries after the Exxon Valdez spill was from the perception of contamination. The whole state had trouble marketing their catches, and the suspension of one fishing season for most of the Gulf of Alaska had a devastating long-term impact that Exxon never recognized in their settlement offers.
Unfortunately, many species don’t recover well from spills, and even 20 years after the Exxon Valdez, there are still two species that continue to be listed as “not recovered” -- the Pacific herring and pigeon guillemot.
There are ten species that are still “recovering”, including sea otters, killer whales, clams, mussels. There are also four human services listed as “recovering”, including commercial fishing and recreation and tourism.
- Oceana Provides Comments to President Obama’s Task Force to Tackle Illegal Fishing and Seafood Fraud Posted Wed, September 10, 2014
- Sharks and Rays Gain International Protection under CITES Listing Posted Sun, September 14, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Healthy Corals Mean More Sharks, Extinct Dolphin Found in Peruvian Desert, and More Posted Thu, September 11, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Shark-Eating Dinosaur Fossils Discovered, Germany Paving Way for Cheaper Wind Energy, and More Posted Mon, September 15, 2014
- Oceana Magazine: DiCaprio Funds Conservation Across the Entire Eastern Pacific Posted Thu, September 11, 2014