• English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish

Archive | August, 2010

Despite “All Clear,” Mississippi Sound Tests Positive for Oil

Laboratory confirmed oil-soaked sorbent pad. (Photo © Erika Blumenfeld 2010)

Laboratory confirmed oil-soaked sorbent pad. (Photo © Erika Blumenfeld 2010)

Story by Dahr Jamail; Photos by Erika Blumenfeld

The State of Mississippi’s Department of Marine Resources (DMR) opened all of its territorial waters to fishing on August 6. This was done in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the US Food and Drug Administration, despite concerns from commercial fishermen in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida about the presence of oil and toxic dispersants from the BP oil disaster.

On August 19, Truthout accompanied two commercial fishermen from Mississippi on a trip into the Mississippi Sound in order to test for the presence of submerged oil. Laboratory test results from samples taken on that trip show extremely high concentrations of oil in the Mississippi Sound.

James “Catfish” Miller and Mark Stewart, both lifelong fishermen, have refused to trawl for shrimp because they believe the Mississippi Sound contains submerged oil. Continue Reading →

Continue Reading

Fish Kills Worry Gulf Scientists, Fishers, Environmentalists

Dead fish wash up at Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Credit:Erika Blumenfeld/IPS

Dead fish wash up at Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Credit:Erika Blumenfeld/IPS

OCEAN SPRINGS, Mississippi – Another massive fish kill, this time in Louisiana, has alarmed scientists, fishers and environmentalists who believe they are caused by oil and dispersants.

On Aug. 22, St. Bernard Parish authorities reported a huge fish kill at the mouth of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.

“By our estimates there were thousands – and I’m talking about 5,000 to 15,000 – dead fish,” St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro told reporters. “Different species were found dead, including crabs, sting rays, eel, drum, speckled trout, red fish, you name it, included in that kill.”

The next day, a thick, orange substance with tar balls and a “strong diesel smell” was discovered around Grassy Island, near the fish kill, according to a news release.

Taffaro admitted that there was oil in the area, but cautioned against assuming it was the cause of the fish kill.

Continue Reading →

Continue Reading

Dahr Discusses Gulf Coast Fishing Industry on Democracy Now!

The Obama administration announced last week that it is safe to eat fish and shrimp caught in the 78 percent of federal waters in the Gulf that are now reopened to fishing. But many are still concerned about the levels of toxins in the water and the impact on marine life. Independent journalist Dahr Jamail has been reporting from the Gulf Coast for over a month now. Last week he spoke to some commercial fishermen in Mississippi who are refusing to trawl because of the oil and dispersants that are still in the water.

Continue Reading

How Has it Come to This?

Photo by Erika Blumenfeld © 2010

Photo by Erika Blumenfeld © 2010

The scene is post-apocalyptic. Under a grey sky, two families play in the surf just off the beach in Grand Isle, Louisiana. To get to the beach, we walk past a red, plastic barrier fence that until very recently was there to keep people away from the oil-soaked area. Now, there are a few openings that beach goers can use. The fence is left largely intact, I presume, for when they will need to close the beach again when the next invasion of BP’s oil occurs.

A father jokingly throws sand at his little boy who laughs while dodging it. This, against a background of oil rigs and platforms looming in the Gulf. In the foreground, littering the beach, are tar balls. We stroll through the area, eyeing even more tar balls that bob lazily underwater, amidst sand ripples in the shallows … they are in the same location where the father sits, grabbing handfuls of sand to toss near his son. Continue Reading →

Continue Reading