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Gulf Fisherman Concerns – How is the Oil Spill Going to Affect the Recreational Fisherman?

I have failed to read any articles posted recently about how the BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil spill will affect the 2011 recreational fishing season in the gulf coast.  My hope is that its impact will be minimal, but I fear that that is not the case.  Considering that it was calculated that 4.9 Million gallons of oil was released into open waters for three long months in the summer of 2010 I have high concerns on the short term and long term ecological impacts that this will cause.  I personally had plans of heading down to the gulf area this upcoming 2011 recreational fishing season, but now I am unsure as to if I should make the trip.  Is it safe to eat the fish I would catch from the gulf coast?  I really don’t know and I am sure that many other recreational and commercial fisherman must feel the same way. 

According to Samantha Joye of the department of marine sciences that is some places on the sea floor there is still oil as much as two inches thick on the sea floor.  This cannot be good for the micro-organisms and other small life forms on the sea floor.  I am sure that this will have an impact of the species higher up in the food chain.  I honestly care less about my little recreational fishing trip and fear more for the commercial fisherman that live and work in that area.  I have read that the local fisherman in that area are concerned that they will make their customers sick.  Even though that they have been told that it is safe for them to return to work. 

It was only on July 15’th when the oil spill was capped.  Which means that it has only been three months since it was capped.  There are still many questions from local and recreational fisherman in terms how this will affect thier industry.  Unfortunately a disaster of this magnituted has never happened before so unfortenately we will just have to wait and see the affects of this incident.

Another concern of mine, which I hope has been considered is that if the oil is collecting on the sea floor and the local shrimp fisherman are allowed to return to work, wont this just “stir up” the oil that has been collecting on the sea floor.  Not to mention if the oil is collecting on the sea floor.  Isn’t this the same place that shrimp live?  I have a hard time believing that shrimp of all things would be safe to eat in the near future.  I hate to say this because I would hate to put any shrimp fisherman out of work,  as they are some of the hardest workers I know.   At least it was good to hear that many of the shrimp fisherman were hired by BP to collect oil using the booms and skimmers.

On the flips side of the story however the Gulf coast seafood may be the most heavily tested food in the country at the moment.  I am sure that all of the catches are going through even more extensive testing due to the oil spill.  

The underwater plooms that have been seen just suspended in the water could also be a concern for fisherman.  The krill and/or other smaller organisms that are a key component to the food chain live in this area of the water.  Smaller bait fish also must be swimming through these plooms.  The European Space Agency has reported that as much as 20 percent of juvenile tuna may has been killed by the oil spill.  On a Macro level that is an amazing statistic.  If this spill is affecting tuna at this level how will it affect the smaller species of fish in this column of water.   It has been said that the tuna population has decreased as much as 80% over the last 30 years.  This oil spill is the last event needed for the fishing industry. 

I am hopefull that much of the oil has been collected before it enteres the loop current thant many eastern fisherman are concerned about.  If the oild does enter the loop current it may travel as far north as Maine. 

Unfortunately I and many others have more questions than answers on this subject as a disaster of this maginitude has never happened before.  I just hope that this does not have a negative impact on the recreational fishing industry, but I hope even more that this does not have long term enviremental effects. 

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