Throughout its modern existence, Louisiana has been known for its bountiful and diverse fisheries. Indeed, these fisheries, coupled with the area’s unique combination of cultures, are responsible for the world renown Creole and Cajun cuisine.
In recent decades, America has witnessed the loss of several of her most important fisheries: Chesapeake, Stellwagon Bank, and the Atlantic shore, to name a few.
Despite growth in Louisiana’s fisheries over the past couple of decades, some believe that there could be a sudden drop in landings.
The potential for this horrible scenario is real, and easily explained.
The catalyst will be the loss of America’s WETLAND, the nursery grounds for all commercially important species – shrimp, crabs, redfish, speckled trout, red snapper, menhaden, and many more. As we continue to lose wetlands at the rate of 24 square miles per year, there is simply less nursery and fewer resources.
But, one may say, why have the fisheries been building instead of steadily declining over the years? The answer is rather simple. As the coastal wetlands – America’s WETLAND – decline, they are supplying the Gulf of Mexico with incredible amounts of organic matter that serves as the basis for the entire food web. Rather ironic, isn’t it? The fisheries resource is growing because its nursery grounds are eroding – and may ultimately disappear.
Imagine that you and your family or friends are locked in a large Associated Groceries store that is completely stocked. The good news is that you have a nice stove, so cooking will be no problem. The bad news is that no one is restocking the store. It is locked tight.
Even though you are locked in, things seem great. There is soooo much food, and plenty of choice. You drink what you love and eat what you desire. As time passes, you probably consume your favorites, but there are plenty of goodies left. Time passes and things are great. Even when you get down to the only available rations being things you don’t particularly care for, you at least still have a full stomach.
Now, fast forward to the moment that you find only one bottle of anchovies on the shelf, and nothing left to drink. Until that very moment, you had enough food to satisfy your hunger. From that moment on, there is NOTHING. You go from doing fine to imminent starvation. Weeks and weeks of plenty to eat, followed by the moment when starvation suddenly begins – with no opportunity to improve the situation.
This is what many fear is happening in America’s WETLAND. As it declines, it is supplying the fisheries with enormous amounts of sustenance. But, at some point, the pantry is emptied and the food trail ends, resulting in the almost immediate loss of the fisheries.
If we are to save our fishery, one thing we must do is preserve its source of food. Save America’s WETLAND.