Deepwater spill impacted bluefin tuna spawning

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was one of the largest environmental disasters in history, releasing roughly 4 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. For Atlantic bluefin tuna, it occurred at the worst time of year, during peak spawning season, when eggs and larval fish that are particularly vulnerable to environmental stressors exist in mass quantity.

In a study published in Scientific Reports, scientists from Stanford and NOAA provide the best yet analysis of how the 2010 breeding season might have been impacted by the oil spill.

Although the spill encompassed a relatively small proportion of the bluefin tuna spawning grounds, which extend throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico, the authors showed the cumulative oiled tuna habitat was roughly 3.1 million square miles, representing the potential for a significant impact on eggs and larval bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico.

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About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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