If Someone Asks If Gulf Oil Disaster Is Over, What Should You Tell Them?

The year of the Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska in 1989, the stocks of herring, a critical fish to Alaska’s ecosystem & economy, stayed fairly steady.

The next year? Still relatively stable. So a lot of people thought the threat had passed.

But four years later, herring stocks collapsed. Fishing licenses, which had been sold from one generation of fishermen to the next and served as a dependable retirement fund, were suddenly worthless. The effects rippled up the food chain as predators like orcas were deprived of a critical food source.

Today, two decades later, herring stocks still haven’t recovered

So if anyone tries to tell you that today, just three months into the Gulf oil disaster, we can declare it “over,” tell them about Alaska’s herring — and the people & wildlife who once depended on them.

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Animation via Wikimedia Commons