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Local fisherman feeling effects of ‘extreme’ gulf dead zone

Acadiana fishermen are reporting a loss when it comes to oysters, shrimp and crabs. According to Governor John Bel Edwards, flooding in North Louisiana is to blame.

A flooded Mississippi river is causing more fresh water to enter the Gulf of Mexico than any other year.

“We are all in bad shape.” Joey Edgar, co-owner of St. Mary Seafood said.

Every year, the Gulf of Mexico has a dead zone, but this year it’s standing out. Edgar describes the situation as a catastrophe. “I’ve been here sine 1989, we have never seen this like this.” He said.

He explains the crabs are down 50- 70%. “My crab business is suffering bad but we can’t control mother nature,” Edgar said.

But that’s not all, those who fish for oysters are at a total loss.

“Salinity in the bay. We almost all fresh. We have had fresh water since November of 2018 til now. My neighbors who do oysters, are 90-100 percent down. The reefs are dying,” Edgar said.

The fisherman says the brown shrimp population is so bad that opening day for shrimp season was a bust.

“Opening day of shrimp season nobody could even work. It’s been one of the worse opening days we’ve ever seen,” Edgar said.

Governor John Bel Edwards has requested for a federal fisheries disaster.

According to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, the timelines can vary widely regarding disaster declarations by NOAA.

 

Fisherman like Edgar realize, the efforts can help, “They recognize the situation and that some of our local people are going to need help.”

Click here gov.louisiana.gov to read Governor Edwards’ letter.

Katie Easter

Katie Easter

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