NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal panel of about 50 experts is recommending the continued use of chemical dispersants to break up the oil gushing in the Gulf of Mexico, despite its harm to plankton, larvae and fish.

Panel member Ron Tjeerdema (juh-DEER'-muh) said Friday they decided the animals harmed by the chemicals underwater had a better chance of rebounding quickly than birds and mammals on the shoreline. Tjeerdema chairs the Department of Environmental Toxicology at the University of California, Davis.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration asked for the panel to be assembeled to provide the federal government and BP with guidance on whether they should continue to use the controversial dispersants.

Officials have released just over a million gallons of chemicals on and in the water since the April 20 blowout.

(This version CORRECTS APNewsNow. corrects amount of dispersants per second change by EPA.)