Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released new science finding developmental abnormalities in large fish as a result of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster nearly four years ago.
Oceana’s Vice President for U.S. Oceans Jacqueline Savitz released the following reaction:
“On this twenty-fifth commemoration, the legacy of the Exxon Valdez lives on in Prince William Sound, with continued signs of oil’s impacts more than two decades after the disaster.
Oil’s damage doesn’t disappear overnight, nor does it cease after the oil sheen goes away. This study, and others like it, helps us to see what can’t be seen with the naked eye. Not only is oil toxic to fish, its effects are not limited to small fish. In fact, they extend to the largest and most commercially valuable fish we know – tuna. Oil from BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster can prevent normal development in the hearts of larval fish, and that can be deadly. For a species like Bluefin tuna, whose populations have crashed due to overfishing and are fighting to rebuild their former abundance, BP’s oil was a shot to the heart. Many larval tuna exposed to this oil likely perished. Besides being bad news for the fish, it also hurts fishermen, coastal economies, consumers and ocean ecosystems.
Rather than rushing to let BP and its competitors go back to drilling into our oceans, the Obama administration should be devising a smarter energy strategy, charting a course to break our oil addiction by building a clean energy driven future.
Until they do, we will watch history repeat itself. Just days ago, a barge carrying intermediate fuel oil spilled 168,000 gallons of oil into Galveston Bay. This refined oil, which can be even more toxic than crude, now threatens bird sanctuaries and other coastal wildlife. The Obama administration should reverse its plans to allow exploration for oil and gas in the mid and south Atlantic. Oil is toxic from start to finish, and we need to end the cycle of ‘drill, spill and repeat’.”