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Oil Spill Wreaks Havoc on Fish and Shellfish

Posted December. 19, 2007 03:13,   


The government expects that it will take at least 20 years to recover from the recent Taean oil spill. It also found out that most of the ecosystem around the contaminated area was destroyed.

The Environment Ministry announced this on Tuesday at the Government Complex in Gwacheon.

An official said, “The Environment Ministry will start an investigation into the scope of the damage caused to the ecosystem tomorrow with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and get the grasp of this within a month.”

Oil Spill Devastated the Maritime Ecosystem-

The ministry also said that the scope of the damage ranges from planktons to birds.

As fish and shellfish die en masse due to the blockage of sunlight and oxygen, the ministry expects fish farmers to be the hardest hit victims. It said that the prey of fish, such as microbe organisms, seaweed, and microbenthos, are directly affected.

Birds living along the shores or coastal swamps, such as dabchicks, ducks, cormorants, and sea gulls, will be affected by the spill. Indirect damage is also expected to threaten species which feed on the polluted fish and shellfish such as the whooper swans and the Korean buzzards inhabiting near the sandy coasts.

A government official said, “When the oil is not completely cleaned up, sand or dust is likely to land on top of the contaminated foreshore. The polluted area then may plunge and reach the rock bed.”

At Least 20 Years for Recovery-

Experts expect that the planktons will begin to revive a few months after emergency repair and capitellida will start to appear in about a year.

Three years afterwards, seaweeds and capitellida will recover and organisms living on rocks will show up. In five years, shellfish will recover and some perennial plants will be in sight. The organisms living on rocks will mostly be restored.

After another 10 years, most species in estuaries where salty water and fresh water meet as well as sand coasts, rocky coasts, and tidelands will be normal. However, the Environment Ministry expects for most species to completely recover in 20 years.