Shrimping used to be a lucrative business for fishermen in southern Louisiana, as they had a very large population of shrimp just off the coast. Due to the effects of hypoxia, however, the shrimp have decreased in size and population near the coast, causing shrimping vessels to have to travel farther into the Gulf to drop their nets.
Carl Sevin is a ship captain for the LUMCON research facility. He captains a research vessel that is used to troll for the fish counts conducted. These fish counts tell the researchers where hypoxia effects are taking place in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Dolphins, like the birds, have begun following boats into the Gulf in order to catch the fish that are brought up in the boat’s wake. This can be extremely dangerous for dolphins, however, as they could be hit by the blades of the boat’s motor if they get too close.
Researching vessels, such as those used by researchers at LUMCON, travel out into the Gulf to troll for fish to count. They do this by dropping a large net into the water and pulling it behind them for a recorded amount of time. When they bring the net into the vessel, they then count how many of each species they have.
Fishing and shrimping vessels are not the only things that must travel farther out into the Gulf to catch anything. There are many types of birds such as pelicans that must fly farther into the Gulf in order to catch food. Many of these birds have adapted to this by following boats to catch any fish that may be brought to the surface by the wake created by the boat’s motors.