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Factors Affecting Commercial Fishing in the Gulf

Over the past century, the population of the U.S. has grown from 102 million in 1916 to over 320 million according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The current population of the U.S. is three times that of a century ago. People are moving to places that haven’t ever been commercialized or developed because of the difficult terrain or inaccessibility. Many of the large and established cities we have today were apart of an act of diverting rivers which would have flooded. In 1860 to the 1950s, the federal government started using the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish a water regulation system in areas with a higher chance of flooding.

Flood Water Diversion

The population in Florida is around 19.8 million, most of its communities were swamplands that experienced flooding. Florida is the perfect example of flooding and the diversion of water. In order to prevent flooding to these highly populated areas, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, have put in a system of man made waterways to divert the water. As a result, this diverted brown water is starting to alter other ecosystems that cannot thrive with the new water. Fishing communities all across the south have accounted for hundreds of dead fish and other inhabitants in these once clear waters.

Current Impact on Fishing Industry

This is an El niño year, el niño’s is an effect of warmer ocean waters causing warmer weather and more than usual rain. In January alone, there have been historically heavy rains that don’t normally start until March and April. The increase in water has already required flood water diversion to take place. State representatives and local leaders are calling on governors to take action; to help save the fishing industry that many communities in the south depend on. The fishing industry is expected to lose millions if the water releases aren’t stopped or reduced.

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