Mutant two-headed trout spur scrutiny of mine pollution

Posted: 05/02/2012 in all marine news

Jessica Robinson –

Here’s an image you usually don’t see without the help of Photoshop: two-headed fish.

Pictures of deformed baby trout with two heads show up in a study of creeks in a remote part of southeast Idaho.

The study examined the effects of a contaminant called selenium. It comes from a nearby mine owned by the agribusiness giant, J.R. Simplot.

Critics say the two-headed trout have implications beyond a couple of Idaho creeks.

Marv Hoyt stands near Sage Creek in a baseball cap he normally doesn’t like to wear out here. It says Greater Yellowstone Coalition, his employer.

The environmental group hasn’t won many friends in Idaho’s phosphate mining district. Hoyt’s been arguing for years that mine pollution might be hurting fish.

Then, last year a study made that prospect more than just “might be.”

“I sort of held my breath as I read that executive summary on the first page,” Hoyt says. “And once I had gotten through that first page, it was like ‘Wow.

We were right. This is a disaster in the making.’”

The study he’s talking about was a federal review of another study on native Yellowstone cutthroat trout and brown trout.

Phosphate mining exposes selenium, an element that’s toxic in large amounts.

That research paper held the first photographic evidence of what selenium does to the fish here.

Full story…



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