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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/06/03/safina.gulf.wildlife.impact/tzleft.safina.carl.courtesy.jpg caption="Gulf is huge area that is crucial for migrating species, says Carl Safina" width=300 height=169]
In some ways, a catastrophe of this magnitude could not have happened in a worse place. Or at a worse time of year.
We're hearing a lot about the economic dislocation of thousands of Gulf fishers and their families - and rightly so. But the oil disaster is a much larger calamity than the Gulf itself. It's not just a regional disaster. It has hemispheric implications.
The Gulf is a large region, but its natural importance is even more outsized, disproportionate to its area. The Gulf is the hourglass pinch-point for millions of migrating creatures that funnel into, breed in, migrate through and then fan out of it to populate an enormous area of the continents and coasts. Anything that affects living things inside the Gulf affects living things far outside it.
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