Something is wrong with the crabs coming out of the Gulf of Mexico. Large numbers are dying off shortly after being caught, and the mysterious deaths illustrate just how little we actually know about the long-term impacts of the BP oil spill.
At issue with the crabs is that they are dying in just a few hours in holding tanks around docks or in tanks on their way to processors or retailers. That’s a big problem, say crabbers, because states like Maryland that import Gulf crabs don’t want the ones that are dying too quickly. Who can blame them? Meanwhile, charge-backs on crabs that arrive dead are rising.
The Houma Today newspaper quotes Wayde Bonvillain, a 56-year-old crab wholesaler: “They are dying after two hours in the outside waters like Whiskey Pass and Lake Barre.”
Even more concern is focused on whether the life cycle of Louisiana’s crabs was disrupted by the spill. Oil outside of areas that were boomed off kept female crabs from returning to the gentler inshore waters where they lay eggs. The effects, experts say, might not show up in a way that can be measured for two years or more.
So what’s happening is a mystery. And many in the “Mission Accomplished” crowd, including members of the media, will no doubt report that crabs have been repeatedly tested by “official” sources – but we all know that those tests really aren’t worth much, and that they don’t test for all the contaminants that might be present in the crabs. You can spin and limit tests any number of ways.
What you can’t spin are a bunch of crabs that are dying for unknown reasons.
Here’s a good report citing local Gulf crabbers: http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20110315/articles/110319699?p=1&tc=pg
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