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BP Oil Sickened South Florida Fish: Study
Dissolved oil from the 2010 oil disaster may have moved as far south as Florida’s Sanibel Island, sickening fish along the way, new research from the University of South Florida suggests.
The modeling results showing the dissolved oil could have gone further southeast than is generally understood matches up with location of reef fish caught with unusual sores.
Fish with lesions had been reported off the Florida coast long before the publication of this study. Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times reports:
Diseased red snapper and other fish turned up there a few months after BP shut off the flow of oil. The discovery of fish with lesions faded out the following year, suggesting their ailments were tied to an event that had ended.
“This highlights just how much we don’t yet know about the impacts of the oil on wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Ryan Fikes, NWF’s Gulf Restoration Scientist. “Two weeks ago we learned that oil from the spill can affect bluefin tuna, one of the most valuable fish species in the world.
“Now we have learned that the oil likely spread much further south than we had thought. One thing is clear: We need to make sure that BP is held fully accountable and that the penalties from the disaster are dedicated to improving the health of Gulf. And we need to continue to invest in future research in order to better understand comprehensive spill impacts.”
The paper, published this month in the journal Deep Sea Research, points out that while the disaster was ongoing, little attention was given to sampling the continental shelf in a systematic way.