gulf of mexico fisheries

CPRA

The state’s proposed sediment diversions could inject billions of dollars into the regional economy, according to a new study sponsored by an environmental group.

If built, the sediment diversions would funnel sediment-laden Mississippi River water into coastal wetlands to rebuild land. Both are currently in the design phase and have not yet received the necessary permits to start construction.

IPCC

A new report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says sea levels are rising twice as fast as they used to. They’re also warming up and losing oxygen, meaning climate change will increasingly impact everything from coastal flooding to hurricanes to the number of fish in the sea.

According to the report, about 680 million people (10% of the global population) live in coastal regions less than 30 feet above sea level, and face increasing risks caused by sea level rise, storm intensification, and a host of other issues. Large swaths of coastal Louisiana and the Gulf Coast fall squarely into that category.

To better understand what the report suggests about the future of the Gulf Coast, WWNO’s Travis Lux spoke with Dr. Lisa Levin, an oceanographer at UC San Diego and one of the authors of the report.

Travis Lux / WWNO

One of the ways the state plans to rebuild land on the Louisiana coast is by sediment diversions -- diverting the silt, sand, and dirty waters of the Mississippi River into the marsh.

For years, many in the commercial fishing industry have claimed that the influx of freshwater funneled through diversions would ruin their industry. Now, some fishers feel they have proof: the damaging impacts of the 2019 Mississippi River Flood.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The flooding Mississippi River is taking a major toll on Louisiana’s commercial fisheries.

Many of the state’s fisheries, like shrimp and oysters, need a mix of salty and fresh water to grow properly. But because of the months-long flooding on the Mississippi River and the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway -- through which water has been flowing for more than 70 days this year -- many of those areas are now too fresh.

Morley et al., 2018 / Pew Charitable Trusts

A report out this month says that the world’s oceans are warming much faster than expected. That’s already causing some fish species to move north, and could bring more changes to the ocean in the future.

To better understand how this will impact Gulf of Mexico fisheries like shrimp, snapper, and oysters, WWNO’s Travis Lux spoke with Dr. Rebecca Selden, a Marine Ecologist at Rutgers University.