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Study: San Francisco Bay oil spill damaged herring

English: R337 NOAA vessel in San Francisco Bay
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by Marcus Wohlsen / Associated Press / Fairbanks News-Miner

Dec 26, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO - The cargo ship accident that dumped tens of thousands of gallons of thick, tarry ship fuel into San Francisco Bay caused lasting damage to the region's once-plentiful schools of Pacific herring, the bay's only commercially fished species, according to a study released Monday.

Herring embryos collected from shorelines left coated in oil starting about 3 months after the November 2007 Cosco Busan spill suffered from unusually high death rates and a range of ailments and deformities associated with exposure to the chemicals in crude oil, the study found.

"The majority of embryos in samples from oiled sites were dead on examination in the laboratory," wrote the study's authors, who were led by John Incardona, a toxicologist with the fisheries division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

By 2010, death rates had returned to normal, but the embryos continued to show heart defects that are a common symptom in herring of oil exposure.

The bay's Pacific herring are the largest coastal population in the.... http://newsminer.com/view/full_story/16901933/article-Study--San-Francisco-Bay-oil-spill-damaged-herring