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Gulf Seafood Since The BP Oil Spill: A Running History

First Posted: 07/02/10 11:57 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 05:55 PM ET

Since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and the subsequent oil spill, the degree of catastrophe facing the Gulf's seafood and its industry has been coming in to devastating focus. To chart the chronology of the oil spill's effects on Gulf seafood and the people who make their living fishing, distributing, preparing, and selling it, we've collected some key events in photographs along the way. Captions in some cases are from Getty and the AP, and slides are ordered reverse-chronologically.

July 20: Fresh Water Kills Oysters
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Louisiana officials opened levees along the Mississippi River in April in an effort to push oily waters back. Although their actions successfully minimized the infiltration of oil in coastal marshes, the consequential drop in salinity has wreaked havoc on the delicate ecosystems of the marshes and bays. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Full-strength seawater typically contains roughly 35 parts salt per thousand parts water, scientists say. Some of the southern Louisiana waters most productive for oysters contain 15 or more parts salt per thousand parts water, said Earl Melancon, a biologist at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La.

But in recent weeks, Mr. Melancon said, some waters in the vicinity of southern Louisiana's Barataria Bay have been found to have salinity levels below five parts salt per thousand parts water. Even the hardiest oysters, he said, have trouble surviving in that.

(Photo from the Wall Street Journal)
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Filed by Colin Sterling  |