Gulf Oil and Bluefin Tuna; The Double Whammy

May 25th, 2010 | 3 Comments
Bluefin Tuna, Gulf of Mexico Oil Blow-Out

Audubon magazine quotes a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employee saying that ‘There have been no reports of oil in the known spawning areas yet.’ First of all, that’s basically wrong. Second, as if, what, they think the nearby spawning area won’t be imminently drenched with dissolved toxic dispersant and oil?

They’re still wait-and-seeing? Or just hoping, because wishful thinking is all that’s left at this point?

And misleadingly, Audubon quotes Molly Lutcavage of UMass Amherst saying, “Many fish aren’t entering the Gulf of Mexico, which supports the possibility very strongly that there are other spawning areas.”

Lutcavage has spent much of her career pie-in-the-skying about unknown holy grail spawning areas. The fishing industry, with which she enjoys a cozy relationship, would love it if there were. That’s because they think it would help their denial that the bluefin is really as depleted as every other independent academic and government scientist and even the Atlantic tuna commission say it is. (The Atlantic tuna commission was created by fishermen all the way back in 1966 because they, the commercial fishermen, were already so alarmed at the plummeting rate of bluefin decline. Unfortunately, the commission is dysfunctional.) But with catches a fraction of what they were ten years ago, it doesn’t help to click your heels and speculate that there may be spawning areas somewhere over the rainbow; the fish are obviously very depleted.

The facts are:

1) The Gulf of Mexico is the only known bluefin tuna breeding area outside the Mediterranean, and the only known breeding area for the distinct West Atlantic population (and very likely their only breeding area, period);

2) The fact that some adults don’t enter the Gulf of Mexico in a given year supports the possibility very strongly that they don’t breed every year, not the wishful speculation that they are breeding in a place that no one’s found, despite the fact that the ocean is latticed with hooks and lines and the bluefin is hounded from continent to continent and in every corner in between;

3) If you overlay the actual tracks of adult bluefin tuna tagged by Stanford scientists working out of Nova Scotia and the actual oil eruption, you can see for yourself there is actually plenty of surface oil around the areas where spawning fish go. That doesn’t include all the dissolved oil and toxic dispersant no one can “report” because the dispersant has done its public-relations job of making it invisible (albeit more toxic to things like fish, fish eggs and fish larvae, and plankton). Invisible and more toxic, while polluting a vastly larger area.

Let’s stop fantasizing that the oil eruption isn’t so bad. It hasn’t even stopped getting started, because the oil’s still gushing.

TagAGiant Oil SPill Map

Tag-A-Giant Foundation

TagAGiant Oil Spill Map 2

Tag-A-Giant Foundation

3 Responses to “Gulf Oil and Bluefin Tuna; The Double Whammy”

  1. Jesse Ofner says:

    One of the biggest problems with this spill is that it is not only an environmental disaster of the worst kind, but it is also a political disaster. The latter is going to make the former even worse, as the public will hear politicians doing their best to answer questions with vague statments and deflecting blame. They’ll blame the system like Ken Salazaar did and come up with plans like re-drawing the org chart that may score a political point or two, but will do little to make a future difference.

    American’s are outraged and rightly so, however, they all point at the government saying, “You didn’t do your job” and they point the finger at BP and say, “how dare you put profit ahead of safety”. But what no one seems to be angry about is how much oil we use, and our demand for cheep gas. The American public is outraged by what is happening, but let’s see what happens if the administratin grew some stones, and announced that they are impossing a new tax on gas to bring the price closer to the real cost. You would see the tea partiers really up, the people like Sara Palin and Rush would start telling people about how they don’t have to sacrifice for things like the environment. You’ll continue to hear sound bite statements, such as we heard from Carly Fiorina, “Families are more important than fish”.
    It seems easy for us to push the blame onto the government or to the corporation that helps get us our demand for cheep oil, but in the end the blame is ours. We haven’t demanded the government invest in new technology. We haven’t wrote our representatives and told them we will support them drafting tougher legislation. We haven’t take the personal responsibility of eating less, consuming less stuff, recycling the stuff we have, driving smaller hybrid cars, walking more, taking public transportation, growing a graden, capturing rain water. etc. etc. Instead we allow for corporations to spend as much as they want to influence elections. We let a handfull of companies decide what is news and what isn’t, and that is for the small percentage of people who actually watch it.

  2. Robert says:

    Well said, Jesse. It really is time to C H A N G E. I just don’t know if we, as a society, are willing and/or able to do what it’s going to take.

  3. Puzzlefighter says:

    All of what you say is true. What the American people, and the world as a whole, need to get on board with eco-friendly ideas such as those mentioned is a combination of things. 1.) They need harsher penalties for misuse of available resources. This will at the very least, force people to consider making changes to their lifestyle, which may lead to increased awareness of the world’s energy crisis. 2.) Investment must be made on behalf of the American people into the expansion of alternative energy and transmission technologies to reduce loss (wasted energy). Money for this can be done with the mentioned “tax” on gasoline and diesel. It would be earmarked exclusively for investment into these intitiatives. 3.) They need a leader, someone who has exposure, influence, financial backing, and most importantly, a zeal for the environment that cannot be derailed by the offerings of bribes or overwhelmed by opposition from industry or the American people themeselves.

    That leader must be zealous, but he cannot be a zealot. He must understand how changes such as added fuel surcharges and new energy use laws could impact people’s livelihood or business. If a new law is to go into place, guidance about what to do to mitigate the effects of that new law must be given to those affected. Some persons will invariably be upset by a change and negatively impacted. This will be the hardest part, and the chosen leader must be able to balance responsibilty to nature and responsibilty to humanity. The overarching goal should be to harmonize these responsibilities such that being responsible with nature is perceived (as in truth it is) as being responsible for humanity.

    When people see someone important actually change things in a large scale fashion, then thhe population as a whole can get excited about these ideas and making changes. Right now, most people think nothing they individually do will truly impact the environment in an appreciable manner. If they see that leaders in power are using resources sustainably in their lives, at work, and in areas of business that they have power over, the people will get on board.

    Right now, unfortunately, we don’t have any of those three things. The lack of awareness in this country and the world about our civilization’s impact on the environment is staggering. The readers of this and other eco-focused websites are already aware. You already know most of this. However, you make up only a small fraction of the people on this planet. Not all of us can or want to be a leader in the green movement. That being said, every one of us can help to make sure people who aren’t knowledgeable of these facts become aware. In this fight for our planet, every little bit truly does help.

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