GOMAEEN News Archive

These stories reflect Gulf news from June 2009 forward.

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IFAW and the USM Gulf Coast Research Lab Conduct Urgent Study of Endangered Whale Sharks

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) scientists are concerned that the protected whale shark, the world's largest fish, may be a quiet victim of the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. IFAW is responding to an urgent appeal for assistance from the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (USM-GCRL) to conduct research on whale shark biology, behavior and movement patterns in the Gulf before it's too late.
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US agency rules out health threat from oil dispersants

In a letter released Friday addressing concerns raised by a US lawmaker, the regulatory body said it was highly unlikely that the chemicals used to break up spilled crude into small particles would enter the food chain. The "FDA has determined that the chemical dispersant currently used to combat the Deepwater Horizon... have a low potential for bioconcentration in seafood species," the agency said.

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Two nest openings scheduled

Two turtle nests have hatched on Longboat Key and have been scheduled for excavation.

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Nicholls State University initiates hurricane emergency plan

With the approach of a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico, the Nicholls State University Emergency Preparedness Committee initiated the first phase of its 2010 Hurricane Emergency Plan, school official said today.
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Southern governors conference will be held in Alabama

Riley said Southern gover­nors, four of which have states directly affected by the spill, must play a leading role in deal­ing with issues surrounding why the oil spill occurred and what must be done to restore and enhance the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast.

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Researchers firm on oil data

On Monday, Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of NOAA, met with Hogarth and some USF scientists to try to get on the same page. Hogarth described the meeting as productive .
Hogarth is confident the two sides can work together to share information and help determine the long-term impact of the oil in the Gulf. He and others say that things have improved in their work with NOAA.
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Southern Miss: Consumers concerned with safety of Gulf Shrimp

The trio of researchers plan a more detailed analysis of the data in the near future and are looking to conduct further surveys pertaining to Gulf seafood relating to the lingering effects of the BP oil spill.

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Dead Zone Changes in the Gulf

Scientists have found this year's Gulf of Mexico dead zone to be the fifth largest on record at 7,722 square miles — an area the size of New Jersey and near the upper limit of their projections. The dead, or hypoxic, zone is fueled by nutrient runoff from agricultural and other human activities in the Mississippi River watershed, which stimulates an overgrowth of algae that sinks, decomposes and consumes most of the life-giving oxygen supply in bottom waters.
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Tropical depression forms over Gulf of Mexico

The season is nearing its traditionally most active phase, which runs from mid-August through October. Hurricanes feed on warm water and the tropical Atlantic is warmest during that time.
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In La., signs of regrowth seen in oiled marshes

Whether it is a triumph of cleanup work, the marshes' resiliency or both, scientists have reported regrowth of grasses, black mangrove trees and roseau cane, a lush, tall cane found in the brackish waters around the mouth of the Mississippi River.
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NOAA opens fishing lanes in Gulf of Mexico

NOAA said testing of fish in the reopened area uncovered no detectable oil or dispersants. Closed fishing areas in the Gulf of Mexico cover 52,395 miles, or around 22 percent of the U.S. federal waters.
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Mississippi River pours as much dispersant into the Gulf of Mexico as BP

But what few in the public understood was that an equivalent amount of similar surfactant chemicals -- the active ingredient in Corexit and in household soaps and industrial solvents -- enters the Gulf each day from the Mississippi River, with more flowing in from other rivers and streams along the coast.
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Final plug nears after crews cement oil well's top

Engineers this week poured in cement to complete a plug at the top of the wellbore as part of a process dubbed a "static kill," but they needed to wait at least a day for it to harden. Once it does, crews can finish the last stretch of a relief well and inject more mud and cement into the bottom of well from deep underground to form a final plug.
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Concerned Fisherman Given Voice at Gulf of Mexico Alliance Meeting

Miller was one of a group of fishermen from across the Gulf who brought their concerns to the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Conference, and after speaking at the closing session on day one, were allowed time to address the crowd with their concerns.
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Despite oil disappearance, scientists say dangers could linger in the Gulf

That leaves more than 50 million gallons unaccounted for. And the oil that has been dispersed, dissolved and evaporated -- another 100 million gallons -- could still harm coastal residents and marine life, according to some local scientists.

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Gov. Assures Consumers Gulf Seafood Safe To Eat

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said he wants consumers to get their seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, but business owners said some people are still skeptical.
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Gulf diversity threatened even before oil spill

The report disclosed that the Gulf of Mexico, where a battle is under way to clean up a massive oil spill, ranks fifth among 25 regions around the world for diversity of sea life.
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Gulf Oil Spill Meets Dead Zone: What Lies Beneath

About fifty feet below the healthy surface of the Gulf lay a murky layer... a turbid cloud of stirred-up sediment and dead sea creatures. Flaccid jellyfish floated on the flat currents of tiny corpses. On the sea bottom the waters were gray and terrifyingly empty. No coral, no fish, no algae, nothing but the noxious oily streaks of red tides and lethal plankton blooms. Everything in this 7,000-square-mile zone had died from lack of oxygen. It would be as if every person in a city were suddenly sucked dry of air and suffocated together.
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Cruising this fall? NOAA still predicting a rough period for hurricanes

While the first two months of the 2010 hurricane season only saw three named storms in the Atlantic basin, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week reiterated its early June forecast that it could end up being one of more active hurricane season on record in the region.
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Weatherbird returning to Gulf to look for signs of oil

That means, he said, scientists will be checking sources all along the food chain – the bacteria that eat the oil, the plankton that feed on the bacteria, the fish that feed on the plankton – to see what kind of impact the oil and the dispersants used to fight the spill might have
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Hunting for leftover oil on Louisiana's Gulf Coast


"When I first came here 60 days ago, you couldn't see water," said Jeremy Ingram with the U.S. Coast Guard. "It was all oil. I say it's a lot less than what was here, but if you see on the canes, it's still heavily saturated and wet with oil. So, the job is not done yet. As long as oil is coming in out off the Gulf, this job is going to be here because it's going to keep washing in. But our job is to try to keep what's in here contained. Clean it up and keep what's out there out of this area… and slowly get the job done."

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Gulf fishermen say they're not convinced seafood is safe

Gulf Coast fishermen say they chose Biloxi as their meeting place because the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Conference is underway here. Several of the fishermen told us they planned to attend the event to make their voices heard and express doubts as to whether the seafood is safe to eat.
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Briefing on oil spill research today, research vessel to leave St. Pete tonight

During the research mission, scientists will investigate the impact of the BP oil spill on the northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, particularly the plankton and microscopic organisms that make up the lowest levels of the food web.
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Chemical dispersants used in gulf oil spill don't hurt seafood safety, FDA says

Sensory experts working for the FDA and NOAA smelled samples of gulf fish to make sure there was no odor from oil or chemicals. If the samples passed that test, they were subjected to laboratory analysis to detect polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which come from oil and some of which can cause cancer and other health effects in humans.


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The Oil Spill’s Effects on Wildlife

As of Aug. 4, more than 6,000 birds, sea turtles and dolphins have been found dead or debilitated in the gulf since the oil spill began. A majority of the dead were not visibly oiled, and officials have yet to determine why they died. But they have confirmed that many more animals are dying than during the same time period in previous years.
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Feds, farmers create habitats for migrating birds

Across eight states, farmers such as Gautreaux are inundating fallow fields to provide an alternative for some of the tens of millions of ducks, geese and shorebirds that are beginning to make their way south on a flyway that stretches as far north as Alaska and Iceland.
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For 'oiled' marshlands, time may be the only balm

"It is important to remember that even though this spill is not a natural event, oil is a natural part of the ecosystem, especially in the Gulf, and there are bacteria that have evolved to break down petroleum hydrocarbons," said MDEQ spokesman Robbie Wilbur. "So if we can limit the penetration of oil into these areas, Mother Nature will help us clean it up."

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NOAA Announces Gulf Surface Oil NOT a threat to S FL, KEYS OR EAST COAST

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today that a new analysis shows Southern Florida, the Florida Keys, and the East Coast are unlikely to experience any effects from the remaining oil on the surface of the Gulf as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. No new oil has leaked from the Deepwater Horizon well in 15 days and the surface oil that remains is hundreds of miles away from the loop current and in the process of degrading.
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Gulf Wildlife Still at Risk

As the oil slick continues to dissolve, it reduces the risk of more animals being harmed or killed, but serious concern for these creatures remains. Rebecca Dmytryk, search-and-capture specialist for International Bird Rescue, said: "We have to see what the food chain does. Is there enough fish out there still alive for the pelicans and other birds to eat? It's not just the birds being affected. It's the chain of life out there in the Gulf."
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Student gets first-hand look at oil spill

Ryan Baldwin, a freshman at The Kinkaid School, didn’t realize when he agreed to participate in the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama that he would be studying an important piece of the Gulf history.
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Of Special Note


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