AMERICA’S DEEP SOUTH waterways – in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill disaster – are choked with dead fish. Is it a result of the British Petroleum (BP) environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico? You decide.
Reports claim hundreds of thousands of fish including redfish, drum, crabs, trout, flounder, shrimp, freshwater eels and a baby whale have been affected, floating at the surface near the mouth of the Mississippi River. The BBC claimed Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish, who have called for an investigation, believed oil was spotted in pictures of the dead fish.
The group is now attempting to find if the BP oil spill was connected to the incident, known as a “fish kill”.
The cause of the fish kill has not been determined, but such events typically happen due to depleted oxygen levels.
National Geographic claims the deaths were likely caused by annual low-oxygen conditions – with an expert calling the Gulf oil spill an additional “insult”.
The die-off occurred during a time of year when a giant low-oxygen “dead zone” regularly forms off the Gulf, Prosanta Chakrabarty, a fish biologist at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, told National Geographic.
Agricultural runoff in the area contains nutrients that supposedly support the growth of oxygen-hungry algae, which can choke out other sea life.
The Gulf oil spill expanded this dead zone when a surge in oil-eating bacteria, including Corexit 9500 and Corexit EC9527A, gobbled up even more oxygen, Chakrabarty told Nat Geo.
To view video reports on the incident type “dead fish blanket Louisiana” into YouTube’s search field. Further tests are being requested to determine the cause of the fish kill. We’ll keep you posted.
By Nicholas Janzen