Wreck diving warning: NOAA strikes again!!

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Posted by AADIVER on March 29, 2001 at 19:11:01:

Just got this e-mail forwarded to me:

AP 4/1/01 Sacramento, CA:
> Study to be conducted on metal toxins in ocean water.
> Dr. Lester Knumb has received a $4.6 M grant to study
> what, if any, harmful effects are caused by man-made
> metals dissolving in seawater. The Kansas City based
> Institute For The Study of Oceans received the
> generous grant during the last days of the outgoing
> Clinton administration. "We have all heard of the
> detrimental effects of mercury, lead and other heavy
> metals on our ocean life," stated Dr. Knumb, "that we
> haven't studied other more seemingly inert elements is
> shameful." The greatest contributor to high levels of
> dissolved metal ions is shipwrecks. "Over the last
> several hundred years millions of tons of purified
> metals have been carelessly dumped into the worlds
> oceans," states Dr. Knumb. "What's worse is that a
> large majority of ship sinkings could have been
> avoided. If you think about it, greed drove many ships
> to sail in unsafe weather conditions, and during
> wartime a great number of merchant ships did not have
> to be sunk by heavily armed war ships. A polite show
> of force, perhaps firing a shell over the deck (made
> of clay or wood) would suffice to get the overpowered
> ship to relinquish her goods.
> The first project is slated to begin in November, and
> consists of removing all brass items from an existing
> shipwreck. As the biological effects of iron on living
> animals is well known, no effort is deemed necessary
> to remove iron or steel. "For years there has been
> anecdotal evidence that shipwrecks attract fish.
> Although there is no evidence, what if the fish are
> actually attracted to the electrical field generated
> by the interaction of the brass and ferrous metals?
> This is similar to migrating birds getting lost around
> radio antennas. Further," states Dr. Knumb, "the fish
> may be concentrated by their own keen electrical
> sensing to be more easily decimated by larger fish as
> well as fishing and spearing."
> Several likely sites for the study are being
> considered in the Southern California area. One such
> site is the USS Moody a destroyer that mysteriously
> sank after serving in WWI. The location is considered
> ideal as few, if any, people know where it lies,
> making the required policing of the entire area
> easier. After finding the ship by searching it's last
> known position with sensitive electronic devices, a
> battery of water tests and a preliminary fish count
> will be conducted. Then, all brass artifacts will be
> removed in a carefully controlled manner. This part of
> the study will be quite tedious and will subsequently
> be quite expensive. "We considered using amateur
> volunteers, but the nature of the work was deemed too
> dangerous and technical for sport divers." As an added
> bonus about 20 divers from the National Oceanographic
> and Atmospheric Administration will be used. These
> highly trained NOAA divers have been suffering from
> budget cuts during the last several years. The plan
> calls for maintaining a large "no take zone" around
> the test site and continuous water tests and fish
> counts for three years.

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