Largest-Ever Dead Zone ‘a Disaster in the Making’ for La. Fishermen

Gulf of Mexico ‘dead zone’ – NASA Image

Paul Quinlan
New York Times

Louisiana’s shrimpers expected 2010 to be a good year. Instead, they got the oil spill. Although many found temporary jobs working cleanup for BP PLC, hopes for recovery turned to 2011.

Now the swollen Mississippi River is expected to deliver another heavy blow to a seafood industry already on the ropes: a massive flush of fertilizer, animal manure, treated sewage, pesticide and urban runoff.

Scientists predict this polluted wash will give rise to the Gulf of Mexico’s largest-ever “dead zone,” a large swath of ocean devoid of fish, shellfish and other marine life.

“It’s a disaster in the making,” said Clint Guidry, a third-generation Louisiana fisherman and president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association. “Everybody paid their taxes and fixed their boat up, and they were ready to go back to work this year. It’s not looking good.”

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