More seafood testing needed, scientist says


Gina Solomon, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, is calling on federal officials to conduct a more rigorous testing regimen for Gulf of Mexico shrimp and seafood.

In reopening about 5,130 square miles of Gulf waters to shrimping and fishing Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proclaimed the shrimp and seafood safe. But Solomon said the data indicate that the agency only used data from 12 samples of shrimp, consisting of 73 individual shrimp, for its evaluation.

That’s just too small, she said, for an area that is roughly the size of the state of Connecticut. But Jane Lubchenco, NOAA’s administrator, said the monitoring of shrimp is ongoing and will assure that shrimp from the Gulf is safe in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. “The Gulf seafood taken from these waters is safe to eat, and today’s reopening announcement is another signal to tourists the northern Gulf is open for business,” Lubchenco said.

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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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