njdep_bob_martinNew Jersey’s multi-billion dollar tourism and fishing industries will not be affected by the Gulf oil spill this summer, but are being threatened by misinformation, Commissioner Bob Martin said in testimony before the state Assembly.

The Commissioner told the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee the leaking oil remains confined in the Gulf of Mexico and has not reached the Loop Current that could take it towards the tip of Florida, up the Atlantic Coast towards the Carolinas where the Gulf Stream would carry it eastward and out to sea. The oil could only reach New Jersey through a sequence of unlikely, atypical events — and even then would not reach our coast until at least late autumn.

“Our beaches are clean and our tourism industry is safe from oil throughout the summer,’’ said Commissioner Martin. “Our fishing and seafood industries are safe because all of the migratory fish were already here for the season before the spill occurred.’’

In his testimony, Commissioner Martin explained to the Committee the unlikely sequence of events that would be required for oil from the Gulf to reach New Jersey:

  • Oil from the spill has reached the Florida Panhandle but has not made its way to the Loop Current, which would carry it around the southern tip of Florida.
  • If the oil gets into the Loop Current, it would be carried north only to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, where the Gulf Stream would carry it out into the Atlantic Ocean towards Europe.
  • An eddy then would have to break off from the Gulf Stream, which is not typical -eddies are typically engulfed back into the current – for a small portion of the oil to head back westward towards the Atlantic Coast
  • Even then such as eddy would have to make landfall along the coast of Massachusetts or eastern Long Island – north of New Jersey – to reach us because the current along the New Jersey coast moves southward.

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