Between November 7th and 8th, the Bay Area saw an initial and completely erroneous report of 140 gallons of fuel oil dumped into the bay by the container ship Cosco Busan gush wildly up to a disgusting 58,000 gallons. While lawsuits and finger-pointing are pending, wildlife and beaches suffer and, following a decision made on Saturday afternoon, so does the crab fishing.
On November 10, commercial crabbers from Bodega Bay to Half Moon Bay voted to postpone the opening of the crab season, set to open Thursday, November 15th. Larry Collins, the president of the Crab Boat Owners Association, is quoted as asking for "the immediate closure" of commercial and sport crab fishing.
While I, for one, will sorely miss our traditional Dungeness crab Christmas Eve dinner, the crabbers will miss that essential income more, especially since the article mentions that we crabovores might be able to get our hands on Dungeness from the Pacific Northwest. Additionally, other fish, like salmon, might also be adversely affected by the oil spill.
Some salmon fisherman reported having no problems bringing in their boat's limit of salmon from an area 13 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. While the commercial salmon fisherman are seeing plenty of evidence of the spilled fuel on their way to their fishing grounds, at least a few of them think it will be safe for their customers to eat the fish they bring back from non-affected waters.
From the article: "Robertson had calls from worried customers Wednesday night. 'They wanted to know if I was still fishing and if it was OK to fish,' Robertson said. 'I told them it should be fine, if we fished out of the fuel.'"
However, officials from the Department of Fish and Game are not necessarily saying the same thing:
"'We're assessing the situation now,' said Pete Kalvas, a senior biologist with the department's marine region in Fort Bragg (Mendocino County). 'We just don't have a blanket opinion on eating fish from the bay right now. The problems seem to be localized, and different harbor commissions and park districts will be posting their own warnings, as they see fit.'"
The salmon season is set to close today, and the commercial fishermen also voted to immediately close the sport fishing season.
The deadly effect on the wildlife is heartbreaking and the destruction is noxious, and I'd like to apologize to all the suffering birds and beasts, flora and fauna that humans are so goddamned stupid. Meanwhile, it's gratifying to learn that the number of volunteers exceeds the current demand.