News Releases

FWC assists with oil spill response

News Release

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Media contact: Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) heard a report on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from Gil McRae, director of the FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute on Thursday.

"The FWC has a long history of working with our partners in preparing a response to oil spills," McRae said. "The FWC has helped prepare the Coast Guard's area contingency plan, which guides response efforts."

FWC staff has been deployed to Pensacola and Mobile, Ala., to assist with spill-tracking, and law enforcement stands ready to deploy.

"The slick is growing, and its movements depend on the currents and the winds," McRae said. "We're preparing for the worst and hoping it won't get to that point."

McRae indicated that no reports of ill effects on wildlife have been substantiated by the FWC, but based on current reports on the size of the spill, this could be a "prolonged event," McRae said.

The FWC is working with NOAA and the Coast Guard and taking direction in Florida from the lead agency, the Department of Environmental Protection.

"I commend Gov. (Charlie) Crist for his proactive action on this spill. This accident may have serious impacts on the areas where our fish and wildlife spawn, whether the oil reaches our shores or not, and we are very concerned," said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. "We stand ready to do whatever we need to do to protect the resources of Florida."



FWC Facts:
Saxitoxin, the compound that produces paralytic shellfish poisoning, was used in suicide pills for U.S. U-2 spy plane pilots in the Cold War in case of crash and potential capture.

Learn More at AskFWC