NewsCovering Louisiana


NOAA: Gulf dead zone larger-than-average this year

dead zone Gulf.PNG
Posted at 9:57 AM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 10:57:40-04

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that the Gulf of Mexico dead zone is larger than average this year.

According to NOAA researchers, the dead zone measures 6,334 square miles and is the largest measured over the past five years.

The NOAA says that This year's measurement is equivalent to more than four million acres of habitat potentially unavailable to fish and bottom species.

The dead zone mainly affects marine life near the bottom of the sea.

A main cause of the dead zone each year is excess agricultural nutrient pollution combined with urban runoff and wastewater that enters into the waterways that feed the Mississippi River.

NOAA says that those nutrients funneled into the Gulf of Mexico can travel more than 1,000 miles downstream and fuel large algal blooms in the Gulf.

Those blooms sink, decompose and then deplete the water of oxygen, creating the dead zone every summer.

When the water reaches this hypoxic state, NOAA says that fish and shrimp leave the area and anything that can't escape like crabs, worms, and clams die.

If the amount of pollution entering the Gulf isn't reduced, the dead zone will grow and threaten the ecosystem, they say.

Read more on the Dead Zone, here.

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