MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Summer is winding down after months of abundant fishing and tourists visiting Gulf Coast beaches.
However, it was a much different story during the summer of 2010, right after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Fishing areas were closed, and there were big concerns about the effects the oil spill could have on marine life years down the road.
Its been three years now.
What have we seen, and not seen?
REASSURING SIGNS EARLY
Dr. George Crozier was the executive director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened.
Crozier said, "In the immediate aftermath of the spill, we were just frantic because we had so little information."
But, he said after about six months after the spill, there were already reassuring signs.
According to Crozier, "They began to document the fact that so much of the oil had, in fact, never risen above 3,000 feet. They began to look at well why did that occur, and what was happening at that depth, because, we don't have many shrimp, oysters, crabs (seafood that) we care about don't exist down there."
IS THE SEAFOOD SAFE?
Crozier said shrimp, oysters, fish, and other seafood have been found safe after testing.
When asked if we have nothing to worry about today, Crozier said, "There probably never was much of a concern, except for oysters. They don't have the same bio-chemical adaptations that the higher animals do."
OIL LIKE "BEIGNETS"
As for the oil below 3,000 feet, Crozier said, "They began to look at the impact of the natural community, which was largely bacterial in that deep ocean, that nobody, very few people, knew anything about. It was, in fact, digesting that plume of oil."
Crozier said they were microbes, tiny bacteria, that eat oil.
He said, "They've got this species that are living down there that we don't encounter very often, and, you give them a taste of oil and gas and they, (go) whoa: beignets."
TAR BALLS STILL AROUND
But what about tar balls that are still on our beaches?
Crozier said, "Tar balls are a natural consequence of being on the Gulf of Mexico, because, it leaks tar constantly and has always leaked tar."
Summing up the oil spill, more than three years later, Crozier said, "Mother Nature did a lot more than we did."
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