Gulf fishermen report eyeless shrimp, malformed fish hearts after oil spill

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 8:58 EDT
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A deformed fish pulled out of the Gulf of Mexico. Screenshot via Al Jazeera.
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Dr. Jim Cowan, with Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography, spoke to Al Jazeera recently and described the regular complaints he gets from fishermen, who often warn of deformed sea life like eyeless shrimp, crabs without claws, fish whose hearts don’t fully form, and numerous creatures with unexplained lesions on them.

“The fishermen have never seen anything like this,” he’s quoted as saying. “And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I’ve never seen anything like this either.”

Reporter Dahr Jamail also spoke to a number of people who make their living fishing the gulf, and they too warned of eyeless shrimp being caught in the hundreds.

“Some shrimpers are catching these out in the open Gulf [of Mexico],” Tracy Kuhns, a commercial fisher, added. “They are also catching them in Alabama and Mississippi. We are also finding eyeless crabs, crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don’t have their usual spikes … they look like they’ve been burned off by chemicals.”

Most of Jamail’s sources said they believe that the deformities are linked to the BP oil spill, but U.S. government agencies insist that seafood from the Gulf is safe.

This video was broadcast by Al Jazeera on Wednesday, April 18, 2012.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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