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article image‘Extremely large fish kill’ in Louisiana’s Bayou Chaland

By Lynn Herrmann     Sep 15, 2010 in Environment
Plaquemine - An “extremely large fish kill” was discovered on Friday in Bayou Chaland, just west of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, causing alarm and questions from Plaquemines Parish officials.
Hundreds of thousands of dead fish were discovered on Friday in Louisiana’s Bayou Chaland, west of the Mississippi River. The kill affected many species of fish including flounder, redfish and trout. Its discovery came several days after a starfish kill was discovered in nearby Barataria Bay. All this has been followed by a dead baby whale discovered on Monday near Venice, according to a WWLTV report.
Billy Nungesser, Plaquemines Parish President, said: “This is an extremely large fish kill, and there are many species in there. It’s not just one group of fish--it’s redfish and trout and flounder. all species have been identified in this fish kill.”
Although biologists with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) were sent to the fish kill to determine its cause, they declined an on-camera interview, instead releasing a statement to the press.
In her statement, Olivia Watkins, spokesperson for LDWF, said: “It was the result of low levels of dissolved oxygen. This particular body of water becomes isolated during periods of low tide. Low tide kept the fish trapped in the body of water without access to the Gulf, limiting the available dissolved oxygen and killing the fish.”
Mainstream media reports suggest any relation to the BP debacle “remains a big question.”
The US government and BP have released statements just weeks after the blown-out well was capped stating almost all the oil has disappeared.
There are also reports of the dispersant Corexit still being used to treat the Gulf’s waters, despite White House mouthpiece Thad Allen saying its use ended in July.
As early as August 21 the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission reopened all inshore and offshore territorial waters to recreational angling. The commission also listed guidelines for re-opening commercial fishing areas.
Among the guidelines, it stated: “LDWF biologists will conduct thorough sampling of finfish, crabs and shrimp in the proposed reopening area.” However, as noted in the link, LDWF, in coordination with the FDA, announced on the same day an emergency reopening of commercial crabbing in some areas east of the Mississippi River previously closed because of the BP debacle.
That announcement came just a day after LDWF announced “the opening of commercial crab fishing in significant areas west of the Mississippi River.”
Another guideline for re-opening of commercial fishing areas states: “Once visible signs of oil are no longer apparent in areas that were previously closed by LDWF to commercial fishing, LDWF will then submit an ‘intent to reopen’ to NOAA and the FDA.”
“We're talking about long-term testing of the quality of the water, the fish, and the environment," Nungesser said. "And we don't see a collective group really wanting to know what's going on. And we need to demand that happens."
“Here we are, trying to get our fishing back, trying to get our seafood back and with these kind of fish kills, it will have a lasting effect if we don't do something about it," Nungesser added.
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