At first glance, you might not even notice the dead fish in the picture above -- there are too many of them. But no, that's not a gravely parking lot. It's a section of the Mississippi River that has been clogged with thousands of dead fish in the wake of the BP Gulf spill. And while investigation as to the cause of the mass fish kill is still underway, there are fears that new toxins in the water from spilled oil or chemical dispersants have played a role.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the fish were found and photographed in a bayou on the west side of the Mississippi late last week, in the Plaquemines Parish of Louisiana. Plaquemines was one of the earliest areas to be impacted by the BP Gulf spill, and it was also one of the heaviest hit. Now, this happening with alarming frequency.
From the Times-Picayune:
Plaquemines Parish officials have asked state wildlife officials to investigate what they said is a massive fish kill at Bayou Chaland on the west side of the Mississippi River late Friday.Other recent mass fish kills have been attributed to low levels of oxygen in the water, but parish officials are eager to know what exactly is causing those abnormally low levels.
The fish kill was reported to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries and the cause has not yet been determined, the parish said. The fish were found in an area that has been impacted by the oil from the BP oil spill, the parish said ... The dead fish include pogies, redfish, drum, crabs, shrimp and freshwater eel, the parish said.
UPDATE: A local news agency did a segment on the story today (and may or may not have used this post as inspiration...), and the video is very much worth watching. I've moved it above.
UPDATE 2: Louisiana state biologists have determined that the fish kill was not caused by the BP spill. The culprits were determined by the Fish & Wildlife service to be low tide and higher-than-usual temperatures in the water.
More on the BP Gulf Spill
4500 Animals Killed in BP Spill ... And Counting
Jon Stewart's Outlook on BP Gulf Spill : "We're So F*$ked" (Video)
Surprise! The BP Gulf Spill is as Big as these Nations and States