The Dead Zone – Nothing Here Gets Out Alive

With an easy drawl, Dean Blanchard, the owner of Dean Blanchard Seafood in the barrier-island town of Grand Isle, Louisiana, makes an understated observation: “There’s a reason they call it a dead zone. When the dead zone comes, everything’s dead. We can’t catch dead stuff. We’re in the live stuff business.” What Blanchard is talking about is the Gulf of Mexico “dead zone,” an enormous area in which, every spring, an overgrowth of algae and other vegetation absorbs dissolved oxygen from the water and kills all animal life. “This year,” Blanchard says, “we had shrimp jumping on the beach, committing suicide, trying to get out of the water because there’s no oxygen.” The result is an economic disaster. To find live shrimp, fishers have to ply their boats as far as fifty miles from shore. “With the price of fuel, you don’t want to go too far,” Blanchard says. His company’s annual haul has declined from twelve million pounds of shrimp a year to under five million. He used to employ sixty workers—now he’s down to thirty. >click to read< 11:49

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