DMR Testing Oysters…But For What?


The annual oyster reef tour off the Mississippi coast is today (Sept. 1), and we’ll be interested to see what they find. As in years past, this is when the state’s Department of Marine Resources takes oyster tongers, dredgers and dealers out for a “first look” at the reefs. And this time, the tour will include collecting oyster meat samples to be tested in the government’s seafood testing program. They set sail this morning out of Pass Christian, Miss., aboard DMR vessel The Conservationist.

One question leaps to my mind: Tested for what? This is yet another reminder that in an era where we can drill a mile under the sea (and yes, put a man on the moon), we still can’t test for dispersants in our seafood. We’ve been told a test is “being developed,” and it’s a testament to lack of preparation that we still seem to be operating without a government-sanctioned test for dispersants. (Despite the fact that my team of experts has already developed a test and conducted experiments that have detected the presence of dispersant. See above “Featured Video” and blog post “Dispersant in MIssissippi Sound” at

My guess is the DMR will be relying on the “sniff test” and visual examination. Frighteningly unscientific. Stay tuned to see how this “testing” is actually conducted, and what the DMR finds.

See the WLOX video here:

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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