3rd largest dead zone spells doom for shrimp industry
(AP) - Houma Courier editorial
For years now, scientists and others have known about the vast dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Although they could clearly see that little life could exist in the oxygen-depleted waters of the dead zone, they weren't sure what the long-term effects would be.
Now, the news appears even more grim.
Biologists are predicting that the dead zone could have dire consequences for the Gulf shrimp industry. It is an ironic prediction given that the dead zone now is a boon for shrimpers, who set up outside its limits and load up on the shrimp as they flee from it.
In years to come, though, the oxygen problem will keep shrimp from being able to spend as much time in the Gulf, leading them to be smaller and fewer.
Each summer, the dead zone grows in the Gulf, the result of nitrogen- and phosphorous-based runoff from farms and sewage-treatment plants up and down the Mississippi River. The nitrogen and phosphorous flow into the Gulf and feed algae blooms that are already in the water, causing them to grow at great rates. When those blooms die, they sink to the bottom and decay, sucking the oxygen out of the water.
Although shrimp and other mobile creatures can get to more-hospitable waters, the entire process will likely have dreadful effects as the years pass. That is why it is crucial that the United States introduce some method of encouraging cleaner farming.
With increased pressure to grow more corn to fuel ethanol production, farmers have ramped up their growing, resulting in 19 percent more corn planted this year than last.
Unfortunately, that production has also meant increased runoff from all those farms in America's heartland. And all of it ends up in the Gulf of Mexico.
This year, the dead zone _ at 5,200 square miles _ is the third-largest in history. And it still isn't as big as many had predicted.
Clearly, this is a serious and growing problem. But it is one that Louisiana is powerless to attack on its own. For that, we will need the cooperation and understanding of the federal government, which can get farmers and others upstream to alter the chemical makeup of what they put into the Mississippi.
The Louisiana congressional delegation must do all it can to increase awareness of this problem. It is one of a long list of issues Louisiana has, but it is one that's not going to go anywhere until there is change.
Subscribe Today and Save!!!
St. Charles Herald Guide is the complete local news in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.
Get your local news, sports and information from the Parish's award winning paper.
St. Charles Herald Guide has what you need.
In the summer of 1973, a baby boy was born to a 14 year-old girl at West Jefferson...
Parish President V.J. St. Pierre, along with eight other parish presidents and...
Little more than a week after officials from 14 parishes took a trip to Washington,...
Dr. Rodney Lafon boiled down his decision to announce his retirement last month to...
The Port of South Louisiana will soon see a change in leadership after Joel T....
Over the past four months, those who often travel the elevated portions of I-10 and...
Luling House of Flowers has been serving Luling, LA & Local Communities with flowers for all occasions. Order 24/7 From Our Website!
Chaisson out as port director, Aucoin named successor - 532 views
Joel T. Chaisson Sr.ís eight-year tenure as executive director of the Port of South Louisiana will officially come to an end on July 14.