Update: Tests show Biloxi woman's mullet not contaminated by oil - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Update: Tests show Biloxi woman's mullet not contaminated by oil


By A.J. Giardina – bio | email

Update 5/26/10: The lab results are in from the mullet in this story, and the results were as expected. According to Robbie Wilbur with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, the fish were not contaminated by oil. He said the dark colored material in the mullet was normal stomach contents for a filter feeder grazing in Biloxi's Back Bay.

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - In nine years of fishing Mississippi coastal waters, Jessie Saxon has never seen anything like this before. 

"There's some right here, see it? See the oil? That's oil," Saxon said, pointing inside a filleted mullet.

Saxon got the fish from a fisherman on Biloxi's Back Bay. She said the fish were still alive and she placed them into her ice chest.

"All they wanted to keep was the speckled trout and asked me if I would like to have the mullets and the white trout."

She added that she took them because she loves to fish, "And as I was cleaning them, I was noticing the bellies looked unusually dark. So I decided to open this one up and the oil, you could smell it when I popped its belly."

Six of the eight fish Saxon cut open were dripping with a black, oily-looking substance. She said the first one was the worst.

"When I stuck the fillet knife into him, the oil just ran out and went into the lines of the layers of the meat."

Saxon contacted a number state agencies, but couldn't find out the answer to her biggest question.

"How to dispose of the fish? If they wanted the fish, indeed, to check them for oil. To see if, in fact, this is in our waters poisoning our fish. And are we at risk ourselves of being infected because of this being in our fish?"

She said she was told they couldn't help her.

I made some phone calls and spoke to someone with BP who told me someone would pick up the fish from Saxon's home Thursday to be analyzed.

Friday, Robbie Wilbur with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality said the fish were tested and nothing unusual was found.

"We had our staff look at it. We have also taken it to the Department of Marine Resources," Wilbur said. "They've looked at it. From all indications by smell and appearance, it has the normal appearance of a stripped mullet."

Jessie Saxon said she isn't convinced.

"Because this is in our waters and they are saying our waters are safe. Our fish are safe to eat. Would you want to eat this? I wouldn't."

The State Health Department picked up the remaining mullet and white trout from Saxon Friday afternoon and will test those fish.

If anyone has any questions about oiled wildlife, the number to call is (866) 557-1401.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly