An oil spill spanning over 3,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, left behind after an oil rig exploded and sank last week, is not threatening to compromise the safety of seafood from the water, according to experts.

“No one should be worrying about whether the shrimp they’re having for dinner is going to have oil on it,” Mike Voisin, the past president of the National Fisheries Institute, a nonprofit organization that tracks the fishing industry, told CNN earlier this week.

gulf-oil-slick-featured.jpgForty percent of all fish harvested in the U.S. (excluding Hawaii and Alaska) comes from the Gulf of Mexico, which now contains an oil slick visible from space.

“First, no company wants to put that kind of product on the market,” Voisin said. “And those areas that have oil in them will be blocked by state health officials and not harvested.”

Those decisions will be left up to the Louisiana Department of Health, as well as officials in Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama who are monitoring the oil slick, which is now within 23 miles of the coast of Louisiana.

Voisin also explained that tuna and shrimp will instinctively migrate away from more polluted waters. Oysters, on the other hand, are more at risk because they can’t move on their own.

BP, the company that operated the rig, is sending remotely operating vehicles (ROVs) about 5,000 feet–or five Eiffel Towers–underwater to try and close the rig’s valves, which are currently spewing 42,000 gallons of oil per day.

The real threat to food safety, and to local ecosystems, will occur if the oil slick moves inland. If the oil flows into estuaries and oyster beds, it will deal a major blow to wildlife and the seafood industry.

“We’re very concerned,” John Tesvich, president of the Louisiana oyster dealers and growers association told a local news station. “This could be a major catastrophe. We’ve never had anything like this.”

“It’s virtually impossible to clean up in a short time period,” said Tesvich. “It goes in marsh land and in the grass, that cannot just be cleaned and changed. You would have impacts probably for a year or two, or more.”

Photo:  The spreading Gulf of Mexico oil slick: April 25 , courtesy NASA (cropped).

  • Everyone is making a big deal about the “bigot” gaff British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made. But because I’m a ruthless SOB who knows how to get thing DONE… I’m going to point out that our beloved President Obama made even a bigger blunder a while back when he opened the East Coast for offshore drilling.
    WHO KNEW that harmless British Petroleum oil rig in the Gulf was going to blow up and cause the worst environmental disaster since the Exxon Valdez. I’m sure all you “Drill Baby Drill” right-wing, fanatic rednecks in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Florida are looking forward to all that valuable oil washing up on your coastline and wetlands… you’ll be RICH, right?
    (lol… You pathetic, morons chant “Drill Baby Drill” but think Oil Companies should NOT be responsible for SPILLS and let the government and YOUR tax dollars take care of the environmental disasters. You right-wingers are going to go down in history as the worst sucker fools ever)
    That’s the problem here… President Obama has been TRYING so hard to cater to the multinational Corporations and their Republican/Conservative flunkies… he’s forgetting about the Progressives who got him in the Whitehouse. EVERY TIME Obama makes Center Right policy decisions to make Republicans happy his poll numbers go DOWN in the community that VOTED for him in 2008.
    The LAST thing the USA needs right now is for the Republican Party low grade thought processes to TAKE BACK Congress…
    I can’t tell you how frustrating it is see Obama, Reid and Pelosi kissing up to the Conservative wackos. I WANT THAT CHANGE that was promised m#*~/r’s….
    I’m overjoyed to see the Democrats are FINALLY starting to take on the Republican Party of NO! Harry Reid must of got a shot of testosterone or something because he muscled the Republicans to allow debate on Wall Street Reform. OK, filibuster @$$holes, explain o the American PEOPLE exactly WHY you think regulation and reform are bad ideas.
    Otherwise I might get the idea Obama/Biden/Democratic Party was setting up the American PEOPLE for a big fall we’re going to take because of all the waste, fraud, abuse, scandal, sexual deviancy, corruption, lies, incompetence, job outsourcing, off-shore tax evasion, reckless economics, welfare for the rich, war profiteering, Constitutional violations AND a Corporate Crime Wave of epic proportions…. The WORST looting of a nation’s wealth and resources in the history of MANKIND! All the result of 8 years of Bush/Cheney and the Republican Controlled Congress of 1994-2006…
    Where was the Tea Party anger THEN? ya #*~/ ignorant hypocrites.

  • whitX

    We all know the negative effects of this oils is spattering from the terrain of the Louisiana coast. The oil spill in Gulf of Mexico would add up challenges for the state wildlife and the people who makes use of the seafood and minerals from the shoreline. The oil business must take extra precautions to prevent accidents like this.