The already depleted Atlantic Bluefin population may face another uphill battle in the fall when they migrate to the Gulf of Mexico to spawn over the winter: the presence of Corexit and oil at the bottom of the ocean.
The highly priced Bluefin tuna that is on the verge of extinction due to overfishing and an increased demand and consumption will now face the challenge of sustaining and surviving a toxic environment unknown to them.
• Bluefin tuna on verge of extinction
Their natural migratory spawning ground, the Gulf of Mexico and immediate surroundings, is laced with toxic waste in the form of Corexit/oil at the bottom of the ocean.
While it is unpredictable what the immediate or long term impact will be on the overall population of the Bluefin tuna, it may have a very negative impact on them as a species but a much larger impact on our fishing and export economy here in the US.
Roughly 80% of the total North Atlantic catch is currently being exported to Japan and sold locally at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo fetching $100/Lb and upwards based on demand.
A further depletion of the natural population would deliver a severe economic blow to the US fishing industry and the exports of fresh and processed tuna products.
The exports of Bluefin tuna alone amount to $48 billion annually in international trade activity. Any unnatural disruption of the tuna population would have a serious and long term effect on our exports but more importantly on the entire fishing industry that employs thousands of people across the Eastern seaboard in packaging plants, fisheries and processing plants.
The second effect the toxic waters of the Gulf of Mexico may have on the tuna population is that when they migrate back to their natural feeding habitat along the north shore of the US and all the way to Prince Edward Island (PEI) in Canada, is that the Bluefin tuna will further spread the toxicity in our human food supply and possibly as far away as Japan.
It is too early to determine the exact economic impact with absolute certainty, but it is not too late to focus on the findings of studies conducted by the University of Georgia who located large amounts of Corexit/oil substances at the bottom of the ocean a few days ago.
Such patches of toxic oil are the natural feeding ground for bottom feeders but also easily move eastwards due the prevailing underwater currents. That would naturally displace and spread the toxicity over a much larger area than previously envisioned.
The oil may have disappeared miraculously from the surface and may be out of sight, but the toxicity and the impact on our natural food chain has dramatically increased.
Out of sight does not equate to out of mind and it will certainly threaten the livelihood of many US and Canadian export businesses for years to come.
Written by Nick Doms © 2010, all rights reserved