Officials Close Gulf Waters to Shrimping: UPDATE Media attributes closure to lesions, then retracts

UPDATE from Stuart Smith: Editorial Correction: Closure of Gulf Waters to Shrimping Is Routine

CORRECTION:

On April 21, ABC affiliate WEAR-TV, which covers Pensacola, Moblie and Fort Walton, reported on its website that some areas of the Gulf were being closed on the morning of April 23 due to concerns over the presence of smaller-than-normal shrimp and shrimp with “lesions.” That report was in line with a multitude of other recent mainstream media reports – from the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and others (see links to articles at bottom) – of severely deformed seafood coming out of the Gulf of Mexico. The deformities – confirmed by local fishermen, seafood processors and scientists alike – include shrimp with no eyes, shrimp with tumors, red snapper and grouper with deep lesions and underdeveloped blue crabs without claws (see video below).

We picked up the WEAR-TV report and published an April 23 post entitled, “Looming Crisis: Officials Close Gulf Waters to Shrimping as Reports of Deformed Seafood Intensify.” Unfortunately, the WEAR-TV report turned out to be incorrect. The ABC affiliate has pulled the initial report and replaced it with this correction dated April 25:

Alabama – The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has temporarily closed some local waterways to shrimping. The waters were closed to shrimping on Monday.

The areas include all waters in the Mississippi Sound, Mobile Bay, areas of Bon Secour, Wolf Bay, and Little Lagoon.

The closure is in response to routine shrimp sampling that indicated the average size were smaller than 68 head-on shrimp per pound. Meaning biologists found smaller than average shrimp in the waters causing the temporary closure. They will continue to take samples in these areas and determine any modifications to the closures.

And we’d like to clarify that the closures were not due to lesions being found on shrimp as we reported earlier this weekend and Monday morning.

Although our “blog team” includes legal experts, civil engineers, toxicologists, Gulf fishermen and a variety of other sources, we must also rely on the mainstream media for information. Unfortunately, the media outlet we relied on in this instance made a reporting error and we unwittingly reproduced that error.

As we strive for the highest standard of journalistic integrity, we have removed our April 23 post.

However, let me be very clear, the confusion over the water closures in no way changes the fact that there are severely deformed shrimp, crabs and fish coming out of the Gulf of Mexico.

~~~

Something just doesn’t sit right. Why in the world don’t they close waters to fishing when incredibly sick, deformed fish are being found???

~~~

Here is the original report:

Alarmed by widespread reports of visibly sick, deformed seafood coming out of the Gulf of Mexico, state officials have closed area waters to shrimping this morning (April 23). The waters will be closed indefinitely as scientists run tests in an effort to get a handle on a situation that is fast becoming a full-blown crisis on the Gulf Coast.

The closures – including all waters in the Mississippi Sound, Mobile Bay, areas of Bon Secour, Wolf Bay and Little Lagoon – mark the first official step in responding to increasingly urgent reports from fishermen and scientists of grotesquely disfigured seafood from Louisiana to the Florida panhandle.

The move is yet another major setback for the once-legendary Gulf seafood industry as it continues to struggle under the devastating impact of the BP oil spill, which began in April 2010.

Two years later, reports of severely deformed shrimp with bulging tumors – and no eyes – have become common. Read the rest at Stuart Smith’s Blog

From Al Jazeera

From WSAV-TV in Georgia:

We’ve been told Gulf-caught seafood is completely safe to consume, following the BP Oil Spill in spring 2010.

Yet, fishermen and scientists have found horrifying creatures in the Gulf of Mexico…including blue crabs without claws, shrimp without eyes and fish with lesions.

BP and Federal Agencies say these findings don’t necessarily have to do with the oil spill.

An Al Jazeera investigation into the matter, however, didn’t find the same results.  In fact, reporter Dahr Jamall wrote that every scientist, fisherman and seafood processor he spoke with about the seafood deformities had never seen anything like it before.

And it’s not just deformities that has researchers worried.  It’s also the drastic decline in sea life populations, and that decline’s impact on the food chain.

In the continental United States, more than 40 percent of seafood is caught in the Gulf, making the levels of mutations in the region’s sea life a major cause for concern.

So does this mean that humans should stop consuming seafood caught in the Gulf?  Well, the answer remains unclear.

Federal agencies and BP declined to comment on the story.

But here is what one fisherman says…”We’re continuing to pull up oil in our nets.  People who live here know better than to swim in or eat what comes out of our waters.”

~~~

Here is the entire report by Al Jazeera, from the the video above was snipped. Riki Ott, Gulf hero and Exxon Valdez spill survivor, takes on an oil/government shill along with Dahr Jamail:

From Riki Ott’s recent Huffington Post blog, “Making It Right” After BP Oil Disaster Is Up to Us – Not BP

[After recently returning from yet another trip to the Gulf of Mexico, Riki spoke to a group of  Valdez survivors in Alaska] Fishermen were interested in stories because even then, twenty-one years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, there was still no sense of closure. Exxon never “made it right.” How could Exxon “make right” family lives shattered by divorce, suicide, or strange illnesses stemming from the “cleanup” work? Or the sense of betrayal by the Supreme Court to hold Exxon to its promise to “pay all reasonable claims”?

As fishermen listened to the Gulf stories, one asked, “Do they know how f—ed they are yet?” No, I explained, they’ve only lost one fishing season and they just now are filing claims for the first deadline.

When I returned to the Gulf in early January 2011, I heard the same story from Louisiana to Florida. “Everything you warned us about is coming true.” During the next four months, I witnessed “oil-sick” people from grandbabies to elders, people distraught from claims denied, shellfish fisheries collapsing, baby and adult dolphins dying in unusually high numbers, continued dispersant spraying, and the early stages of Gulf ecosystem collapse — all while nationwide ads claimed BP is “making it right.” Read the entire article here.

UPDATE Is this story being buried?

  • This solitary article appeared in Google search, but results in “error 404 – page not found
  • A search for the article title on WEAR ABC 3 website revealed a tiny paragraph perhaps indicating why the original article was removed (someone didn’t like what was ‘reported earlier’?):

  • Found one more tiny snippet about this:

So, eyeless shrimp are fine. Smaller than average shrimp result in closures? The spin and cover-up continues, at the expense of our HEALTH.

~~~

From the archives

Remember this?: President Obama promised that his administration “will fight the “epidemic” in the Gulf Coast with “everything we’ve got for as long it takes” and make BP “pay for the damage the company has caused””

Dr. Susan Shaw from April 20, 2011:


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4 thoughts on “Officials Close Gulf Waters to Shrimping: UPDATE Media attributes closure to lesions, then retracts

  1. Pingback: Gulf of Mexico coast closed to shrimping « Gulf Leak Watch

  2. great article, keep up the good work, glad someone is keeping tabs. also i would look into radiation poisoning of animals in alaska since the japanese nuclear spill

    Like

  3. Pingback: No Shrimp | My Life Along the Gulf Coast

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