Potential Effects of the Hypoxic Zone on the Gulf Fishing Industry

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"There is so much we do as individuals to protect our fisheries. We rebuild habitat, encourage proper management, introduce catch-and release and preach the sermon of good conservation to others. It makes us feel good when we succeed. But it breaks our hearts when larger forces threaten to destroy our work." - Tim Jindra, President, Federation of Fly Fishers

The environmental pressures on the Gulf hypoxic zone have increased considerably since it was first formally documented in 1974. This hypoxic zone, now measuring to 7, 000 square miles, is posed as a great threat to the productivity of the commercial and recreational fishing industries based on the Gulf of Mexico. For the past 20 years, these fisheries have been facing these pressures related to the Gulf hypoxic zone. It is believed this threat is intense enough to eventually wipe out the entire existing fishing industry on the Gulf coast. Presently, there is controversy concerning the cause of the hypoxic zone, though it is believed agricultural run-off from the Mississippi River is the primary source creating the hypoxic zone. There must be a change in the agricultural practices in order to reduce the hypoxic threat in the Gulf. The devastating forces related to this hypoxic zone has threatened, and will continue to threaten the livelihood of millions connected to the Gulf fishing industry, as well as the entire culture within.

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