Scientists: Gulf Health Close to Pre-spill Level; Some Still About Sub-Lethal Effects

Scientists judge the overall health of the Gulf of Mexico as nearly back to normal one year after the BP oil spill, but with glaring blemishes that restrain their optimism about nature’s resiliency. Rich Matthews explains.

Softball-size globs of oil floating in the water last year. Today the area looks free of the disturbing signs that were visible as low as 40 feet.

This spill does not seem to be the ecological disaster that some people thought it was.

There was absolutely no evidence — visual evidence — that these platforms, these reefs, these artificial platforms had ever been in the proximity of a major spill.

We look at the maps and see that the area impacted by the Macondo blowout and spill and we think boy that’s a big area. Relative to the Gulf of Mexico, it’s not. It’s a small area. And that does not mean that its impact was not significant to the people living in that area, but its not really a threat to the overall ecology and health of the Gulf of Mexico.

— Dr. Quenton Dokken, Gulf of Mexico Foundation

Dr. Paul Sammarco of Lumcon noticed that there were not any larger species of fishing swimming in the area. There were smaller fish, but he suspects the larger fish were killed off.