[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 17-Feb-2012
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Contact: U. Rashid Sumaila
r.sumaila@fisheries.ub.ca
Canadian Science Publishing (NRC Research Press)

Deepwater Horizon disaster could have billion dollar impact

Ottawa, Ontario –The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 will have a large economic impact on the U.S. Gulf fisheries. A new study published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (CJFAS) says that over 7 years this oil spill could have a $US8.7 billion impact on the economy of the Gulf of Mexico. This includes losses in revenue, profit, and wages, and close to 22 000 jobs could be lost. "Unlike the visually obvious and immediate effects on birds and mammals, the effects of oil on fisheries can be more difficult to detect, though they are no less devastating," says lead author U. Rashid Sumaila. "Oil and hydrocarbons are taken up by plankton and other surface-dwelling species that link to aquatic food chains." This in turn affects the fishing industry.

The Deepwater Horizon, a British Petroleum oil rig, exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on 20 April 2010. By August 2010 it was estimated that it had leaked an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil (780 million L), making it the largest accidental marine oil spill in US waters. In comparison, the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 amounted to less than 0.5 million barrels. This study estimates the economic impact this spill will have on commercial and recreational fisheries and mariculture in the Gulf of Mexico.

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The study "Impact of the Deepwater Horizon well blowout on the economics of US Gulf fisheries" is available in the March issue of CJFAS. www.nrcresearchpress.com/cjfas

For more information contact:

Corresponding author: U. Rashid Sumaila (e-mail: r.sumaila@fisheries.ub.ca).

Full Reference: Sumaila, U.R., Cisneros-Montemayor, A.M., Dyck, A., Huang, L., Cheung, W., Jacquet, J., Kleisner, K., Lam, V., McCrea-Strub, A., Swartz, W., Watson, R., Zeller, D., and Pauly, D. 2012. Impact of the Deepwater Horizon well blowout on the economics of US Gulf fisheries. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 69. doi: 10.1139/F2011-171 [Available Open Access at http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/full/10.1139/F2011-171.]

About the Publisher

NRC Research Press, which began as the publishing arm of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) in 1929, transitioned in September 2010 from NRC and the Federal Government of Canada into an independent not-for-profit organization operating under the new name Canadian Science Publishing. Canadian Science Publishing (which continues to operate its journals under the brand NRC Research Press) is the foremost scientific publisher in Canada, publishing 15 of its own journals and providing advanced electronic publishing services to its clients. With over 50 highly skilled experts and an editorial team comprising some of the world's leading researchers, NRC Research Press (Canadian Science Publishing) communicates scientific discoveries to over 175 countries.

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