Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gulf Oysters: NOAA Sentinel Species

CSPAN showed testimony before President Obama's Oil Spew Commission. In this morning's testimony, a NOAA scientist said "we aren't testing oysters."  That's odd, given NOAA identified oysters are a sentinel species, the water equivalent of the canary in the coal mine.

Not long ago ABCNews reported:

Gary Ott with NOAA said crews are using oysters to make sure there is no oil sinking to the bottom of the gulf. No oysters have tested positive for oil.

States are responsible for testing oysters.  Mississippi tested 35 oysters between May 26 and September 2, with 10 of those lab results pending.

Meanwhile, Mississippi oyster fisherman don't want the season reopened to give the few remaining oysters a chance to recover.

The mortality rate for oysters was 5% before the spill in the Louisiana Delta.  New Scientist reported it's now 20 to 75%. There's hope that Mother Nature will help the oysters recover.

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