The Deadly Impact of the Cosco Busan Spill on Fish in the Bay

Categories: Environment
herring sfw.jpg

In tomorrow's SF Weekly, writer Peter Jamison reports the disturbing findings of a previously unreleased study on the lethal impact of the Cosco Busan oil spill on aquatic life in the bay. Researchers discovered that even small amounts of bunker fuel can have a devastating effect on recently spawned fish, causing severe birth defects or even killing them. Last year, scientists returned to sites polluted by the Busan spill and observed that no Pacific herring had returned to spawn -- an alarming fact, since the species is considered a barometer of the health of overall marine life in the bay.

As Peter reports in the piece, the results of the study weren't the only troubling things he came across. Government scientists concealed their findings from the public even though they shared them with the owners of the Cosco Busan.

"For the shipping companies to have the inside track while this report is being prepared is not right," said Ernie Koepf, one of dozens of commercial fishermen suing the Busan's owners and operators. "We need to get to the truth, and have the truth stand on its own without anybody being able to throw rocks at it and think that the books were cooked."

Will Harper is managing editor of SF Weekly.   

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