Gulf Seafood’s “Silent Spring”?

When I was six or seven, my gramma dared me to eat my first oyster for a dollar. I accepted the challenge, but it felt like wet snot going down the back of my throat. I gagged and she laughed, telling me that it would put hair on my chest. I remember thinkin’ that she was crazy, because I was a girl and heaven help me if I grew hair on my chest.  She replied with her quintessential “tough titties” comment. 

Years later, she passed away. One of her best friends, Arnette, owned a local oyster house in Ft. Walton and it was my gramma’s wish to have her memorial service there.  So, we all packed into that dark, lively oyster house to say our farewells to one of my favorite people.

Will these recent events change our coastal history? I do believe they will…unfortunately.  What will happen to gulf seafood now? I have so many memories of fish frys, trips to the seafood market, going down to the docks at Destin, and everyone eating oysters by the bushel…topped with hot sauce on a saltine.

It’s not only gulf seafood that may not be safe, but also our culture and our way of life.  It’s strange, because if gulf seafood truly isn’t safe to eat, those fish frys, restraunts, seafood markets and daily catches will only be a memory. In my heart, I want those events to carry on, but I’m not sure how they will.

The fear surrounding gulf seafood is so high, that people are asking if the oysters or fish were caught in the gulf when they order from the menu.  The federal government came out today with “Dockside Chats” which will promote the safety of gulf seafood and answer questions from the public. I’m curious how they’re going to pull this off, because the last time I checked, many fishermen were opposed to selling and eating gulf seafood.

This reminds me of when DDT was really popular and everyone used it. The government touted DDT as “being safe”, when in fact, it caused cancer and eventually was banned in the US, thanks in large part to Rachel Carson’s book, Silent SpringThis is an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association about long and short term affects on the food chain. What gets me, is that JAMA, one of the most respected medical associations, is publishing this type of information and we’re having “Dockside Chats” on how safe gulf seafood is?

I know that the fishing industry will crumble if gulf seafood is truly not safe to eat. The Obama administration must know this too, but at the expense of the American people?  I’m so sad about what has happened in my hometown and throughout the oil spill area, and losing my right to eat gulf seafood just chaps my hide. But…and this is a big “but”…what a disservice the Obama administration is doing to all of us if it isn’t truly safe.  Mother Jones magazine is also questioning the safety of gulf seafood in this article.  

Now, granted, I’m sure that you have to eat a lot of shrimp or a lot of crab to end up with an oil spill related illness. But, have ya’ll ever seen a buffet that has shrimp, oyster or crab? Man, it’s like somethin’ I’ve never seen before…there is so much food consumed in one sitting. I mean, my dad and brother alone can go through like 2 pitchers of beer and 3 dozen oysters at one time. So, we know that you don’t eat just “one” oyster or “one” shrimp. It’s sold by the pound and the bushel…and that’s where the oil spill starts to creep in…you’re eating pounds and bushels of oysters, crabs and shrimp over a period of years…if gulf seafood isn’t safe, it’s bound to catch up with us.

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The Dream is Over…

Anyone who thought that Obama truly stood for change is probably having a hard time grasping why he has recently abolished the transparency role he established over at the White House. I wasn’t ever truly sold on Obama, but I thought that he could do better than the last administration. Especially when it came to disasters. I mean, I watched Bush and Brownie dance their way through the Gulf Coast almost five years ago on their FUBAR tour and it wasn’t pretty. I figured that Obama would do a much better job of handling a similar situation, but he hasn’t.

In fact, he’s done such a terrible job that lifetimes of gulf coast residents will be dealing with this oil spill.  It makes me sick just to think about how my friends’ and family’s kids will grow up with this terrible situation. Some of these kids are only 1 or 2 years old.  Where will they go swimming and spend their summers? In a toxic waste dump full of unevaporated oil and Corexit? NPR just put out this article on how the first spill studies are showing that gulf coast kids are at risk.

I also saw that Obama didn’t go swimming in the Gulf and didn’t eat any Gulf seafood. Figures. Oh, and I love it that he criticizes BP on the air, but turns around and lets Thad Allen cozy up with BP around the coffee pot to determine “solutions” to this mess.  Unbelievable.

It’s been a busy week and I haven’t been bloggin’ as much but let me tell you, that doesn’t mean that I’m not thinkin’ about this situation every day. Catch me on twitter @bayougirlblog for daily twitter updates. There are some great folks on twitter who are spreadin’ the truth about this oil spill like wildfire…check it out and see ya soon.

Apalach

Apalach is short for Apalachicola, Florida.  I’ve been goin’  to Apalach and Port St. Joe since I was a kid.  My most recent memory of that area is hangin’ out at the Indian Pass Raw Bar, also known as Gator’s…eatin’ oysters, shrimp and hot dogs (and not necessarily in that order!) with my family. If you’re in the area, definitely head over to Indian Pass Raw Bar…they’re great folks…

From at least A.D. 1000, these areas of Florida were settled by Apalachee Indians (hence the name Apalachicola) who viewed the waterways as a crucial lifelife which provided food and transport.

As you can see from this wonderful video put out by WFSU TV in Tallahassee, Florida, not much has changed in Apalach. The water is still a crucial lifeline that provides food, transport, jobs and a way of life for many. Since the spill, the ripple effects may continue for years to come in this area. This video was shot in 2003, and really captures the spirit of the oystermen and women who depend on the water for their livelihoods.

Satan in a Sunday Hat…

If you live (or have lived) in the south, you know what this means. For ya’ll that don’t, well…basically BP and the rest of them are tryin’ to walk out of this oil spill situation and wipe their hands of it all. Put simply, you can’t trust a single thing that is being put out by mainstream media. The oil is still there, animals are still dying…it’s still happening.

 This is an amazing article by Jerry Cope and Charles Hambleton that describes the egregious crimes they are committing against us and our environment.  Check it out here.

Massive Fish Kill in Fourchon, Louisiana due to Oil Spill

Drew Wheelan, who is a Conservation Coordinator with the American Birding Association posted this article along with pictures of a massive fish kill in Fourchon, Lousiana yesterday.  This is proof that the oil spill isn’t over as BP and the federal government would like us to believe. This is an article that I really want to get out there. Please retweet, repost and share with friends and family. Here’s the link: http://birding.typepad.com/gulf/2010/08/yesterday-in-port-fourchon-louisiana-i-came-upon-an-amazing-scene-thousands-of-birds-mostly-gulls-were-engaged-in-a-feedi.html?sms_ss=email

Amazing effort to save gulf marine life…

This guy is incredible. Jack Rudloe, a respected marine biologist who is fighting to keep our marine ecosystems alive in the gulf, has started Operation Noah’s Ark. Operation Noah’s Ark is attempting to preserve marine species  if they’re wiped out by the oil spill. He’s based in Panacea, Florida on the gulf coast. Here’s a video of him and his team:

I’m blown away by this herculean effort to save marine life that is so vital to our estuaries, bays, bayous, and oceans.  Click here to link to an article that Ben Montgomery from the St. Petersburg Times wrote about Jack and Operation Noah’s Ark.  Also, here’s a link to Jack’s nonprofit organization, it’s called The Gulf Specimen Marine Lab and you’ll find links to Operation Noah’s Ark on his website.  What a great, positive story in all of this sadness and uncertainty…thank you, Jack!

Getting to the truth…Corexit fears destroying ecosystem being realized

What is the real truth in this entire oil spill situation? I’m constantly frustrated by tourism boards who continue to tell everyone that the water’s great, but then we hear about local Coast Guard offices who have rubber stamped high quantities of Corexit on a “case by case” basis.

Now, BP is pulling out of the whole situation. Where are the people of the Gulf Coast going to be left? Are we going to be left with our version of a FEMA trailer? And if so, what exactly does that trailer look like? Does it mean that we’ll start to see two headed sharks and slow swimming dolphins? What about the families from Iowa who just want to swim in the ocean on their summer vacation? What about their health?

What is the butterfly effect from all of this? I mean, think about it. If a pregnant woman from Des Moines goes swimming in the Gulf and ends up with complications or even birth defects…how many lives will this catastrophe eventually touch? No one really knows…and all they care about is the “oil on the surface”.  No one is even thinking about the amount of oil in the water column or the Corexit that is invisibly poisoning the ocean…I’m frustrated. Really, really frustrated.

My friend Tony posted this today. Apparently, Corexit fears are finally being realized…

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