The incident mainly occurred in the background, as attention was focused on a larger problem across the bay, where crews were in their ninth day of cleaning up nearly 170,000 gallons of heavy oil spilled by a punctured barge. â€œIt’s like death by a thousand cuts, especially when you combine the oil spills with all of the other stressors to the bay,â€ said Lisa Gonzalez, a marine scientist who serves as the Houston Advanced Research Center’s vice president. The bay remains resilient, however, as the most productive and commercially valuable bay and estuary system in Texas and the heart of the state’s $2 billion fishing industry. Antonietta Quigg, a marine biologist at Texas A&M University at Galveston, said spilled oil is a chronic issue with long-term consequences for the bay’s animals and plants. In the first days after the March 22 spill, Quigg’s research team took water samples near where the Summer Wind, a bulk carrier as long as a football field, collided with a barge, causing heavy bunker fuel oil to empty into the lower end of the bay.
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