POSTED: Monday, April 22, 2013 - 6:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 4:33pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Today leaders in the oil industry from around the world were at LSU. They were there to find out what the school has learned from the millions in grant money they've gotten since the spill.
Probably the biggest thing researchers learned is the Gulf has bounced back, but the long term questions are still there. Things such as how much did the Gulf of Mexico recover, and how will the quality of life for shrimpers and everyone else on the Gulf be years from now?
Monday's conference shed new light on the Crisis on the Coast, and what lies ahead not just for researchers, but for the countless who depend on the Gulf for their paychecks.
“We know that it is not a death nail to the environment,” Dr. Ed Overton, LSU researcher at the front line of the spill since it happened over three years ago, said. “The environment takes a hit, but recovers fairly quickly and it’s amazing in this spill how our environment bounced back.”
The conference looked at everything from the oil's impact on the marshes and the wildlife, to public health and environmental concerns. LSU has seen part of $10 million in grant money, mostly from BP. Overton said that money was used to learn as much as possible about what happened, and some of the news is great for shrimpers.
“One thing we can say is the shrimp population is not contaminated with oil and many others who depend on the Gulf of Mexico,” he explained. “In general, the environment passed what I call the canary test. You go down there and look and it looks healthy. The shrimpers are out there. You fly over it and you see the boats out there. They wouldn't be down there fishing if there weren't fish to catch,but there's still concern over what the Gulf and the wildlife in it will be like in the long term.
"We won't know entirely for several years more," he added. "It could be as long as a decade. Some of the oil will be in our environment for 5-10 years.”
That's what's concerning some shrimpers along the coast. Though everything is fine to the east in places like Dauphin Island, shrimpers just off the shore in Venice said there are fewer shrimp today than there were three years ago.
Researchers today said at least for now, it's just wait and see.