Two years ago, on April 20, the largest oil spill in United States history first appeared in the news.
BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico may be related to the eyeless shrimp, clawless crabs and other deformed animals now found in the Gulf, reported Al-Jazeera. Fishers and marine biologists believe tremendous amounts of highly toxic chemicals may be having a negative effect on creatures that are constantly bathed in them, contrary to what BP asserts.
Al-Jazeera quoted numerous fishermen who had pulled warped crustaceans from the waters where nearly 5 million barrels of oil spewed forth after the 2010 explosion that cost 11 mens' lives on the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
"I've seen the brown shrimp catch drop by two-thirds, and so far the white shrimp have been wiped out," Keath Ladner, a seafood processor in Hancock County, Miss., told Al-Jazeera. "The shrimp are immune compromised. We are finding shrimp with tumors on their heads and are seeing this every day."
Tracy Kuhns and her husband, Mike Roberts, commercial fishers from Barataria, La., found eyeless shrimp and crustaceans with other deformities: "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."
"We're also seeing eyeless fish, and fish lacking even eye sockets; fish with lesions, fish without covers over their gills, and others with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills," Darla Rooks, a lifelong fisherperson from Port Sulfur, La. said.
Biologists too found a link between BP's oil and ecological damage.
"What we found is a very clear, genome-wide signal of exposure to the toxic components of oil that coincided with the timing and the locations of the oil," Andrew Whitehead, associate professor of biology at Louisiana State University, told Al-Jazeera in regards to his study of the kilifish, a small fish that serves as prey for many larger animals. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Watch the video report from Al-Jazeera here:
"Seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is among the most tested in the world, and, according to the FDA and NOAA, it is as safe now as it was before the accident," the company told Al-Jazeera in a statement.
NOAA would not comment to Al-Jazeera, reportedly due to evidence gathering related to pending legal action against BP.
On Wednesday, BP settled over 100,000 private plaintiffs' complaints with an estimated $7.8 billion from a $20 billion trust fund that the massive corporation had set aside for paying off the people it harmed with its precedent-setting devastation in the Gulf of Mexico.
Photo: A blue crab clings to the side of a crab trap in Little Lake in Plaquemines Parish, La. Credit: Melanie Burford, Corbis.