Researchers Uncertain of Pfiesteria's Effects
Posted June 4, 1998
NEW BERN — A new study on pfiesteria claims there is still no solid proof that it is a health hazard to people who spend time in or on the Neuse River.
Despite the inconclusive report, the Neuse River Keeper Rick Dove said that the state has the right idea to tackle pfiesteria.
Signs on the river warn onlookers to stay out of the water if there is any evidence of a fish kill, a warning most fishermen do not need to hear twice.
"I really wouldn't want to try to eat these fish cause I think it would probably, it might still would hurt us," fisherman David Penuel said.
After months of testing, state scientists reported that they still do not know if pfiesteria causes sores on humans like it does on fish.
In spite of the lack of evidence, one of the state's sharpest critics said that North Carolina is aggressively doing the right thing.
"It seems to me they're more open minded," Rick Dove said. I think they're right in the middle right now. They're not saying pfiesteria doesn't hurt people, and they're not saying it does, but they are making the transition."
Dove said that North Carolina dropped the ball three years ago when the organism first grabbed headlines. Since then, Maryland has taken up the problem.
Dove claimed that a new attitude in Raleigh is making a positive difference downstream.
"All the people wanted down here is the truth about it, and what do we need to do to get it corrected, and let's get on with it," Dove said. Reporter / Photographer:Brian Bowman