FWC assists with oil spill response
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."