Rough days may be ahead for the Louisiana Seafood Industry out in the Gulf of Mexico.
This comes after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projected that the dead zone in the gulf will be roughly the size of Massachusetts.
“The fish can move where the Deadzone is not, but that’s not good for our shrimpers and fisherman.” said UL Biology Professor Dr. James Nelson.
He attributes the larger than average deadzone to fertilizers traveling down the Mississippi from farms in the Midwest.
“There’s a lot of fertilizer that’s placed in the crops and more than half of the fertilizer doesn’t get taken up by the crops in the Midwest. It gets rained on and it flows into the creeks and streams and eventually into the Mississippi and end ups in the Gulf of Mexico.” Dr. Nelson explained.
He adds climate change plays a part in it as well.
“Causing our coastal oceans to be warmer. Warmer water holds less oxygen than cooler water.”
Dr. Nelson says it will cause headaches for local fisherman.
“Their quotas, their permits are designed for Louisiana waters so either they have to travel further, which wastes more fuel, bait and ice for them or they wont catch anything here off Louisiana.” said Dr. Nelson.
To prevent large deadzones in the future, Nelson points out it will require reform on how much fertilizer farmers use in the Midwest.
“Buying crops that are farmed responsibility, buying local Louisiana seafood, voting with your dollars, contributing to the local economy and farms that are conducting themselves in the right way is a way that people can actually help move the industry into better farming practices and support local Louisiana fisherman.”
The deadzone could remain in the gulf until the end of summe and its size wont decrease until the Mississippi River goes back to its normal levels.