After a new press release from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration along with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, watermen should be cautious of an increase in dead zones this summer season. According to Caroline Wicks, a program manager from UMCES, an abnormal amount of dead zones are predicted this summer season based on the nutrient calculations made. For the summer season, the dead zone prediction is as follows:
- Beginning of summer- .51 cubic miles of dead zones
- Middle of summer- 1.97 cubic miles of dead zones
- End of summer- .32 cubic miles of dead zones
Dead zones occur when there is an absence of dissolved oxygen in an area of the bay. When a large amount of nutrients find their way into the bay, algae is able to bloom and grow in the bay. When the algae finally die and begin to decompose, the oxygen within that area is depleted. The lack of dissolved oxygen makes it impossible for vegetation and wildlife to live in those areas, hence their name of “dead zone”.
Watermen who have relied on the Chesapeake Bay for survival are used to dealing with dead zones, just not to this magnitude. According to the Calvert Watermen’s Association president Tommy Zinn, fishermen know to avoid water that has a red tint to it. Zinn goes on to tell Gazette.net writer Sarah Fleishman that dead zones are unpredictable and can move after a few days. This means that potential crabs caught in crab pots could die before the fishermen can reach them due to shifting dead zones.
At Box Hill, we continue to monitor and news that is released about the health of the Chesapeake Bay. We rely on the Chesapeake Bay to provide us with Maryland Blue Crabs to produce our famous Box Hill Crab Cakes. We will continue to do our part to help the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
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Tags: Box Hill, Chesapeake Bay, dead zones