Harvesting Shrimp and Oysters

By Kathryn Courtney

Each hour Louisiana loses a football field of land, according to U.S Geological Survey. Trying to stop Louisiana’s coast from further erosion, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana has developed new ways to restore the coast. CPRA developed the 2012 Master Plan that scientifically shows that if the projects in the Master Plan are carried out, then within 30 years Louisiana will have stopped losing land and will begin to gain land, according to Chuck Perrodin, Public Information Director of CPRA.

These new developments and projects have concerned the general public. With a series of public meetings that CPRA has held in New Orleans, Houma and Lake Charles, Louisiana. Some of the general public does not think that CPRA is implementing the right projects and plans that would benefit them. The concerned public in this case would involve the many fishermen from all three cities. They fear the large-scale sediment diversion from the Mississippi River, which would restore marshland. From this diversion, they believe the sediment would bring a large quantity of freshwater into their coastal zone, which is unfavorable for their commercial harvest of shrimp and oysters.

Although restoring the marshland is beneficial, the effects of the freshwater from the sediment diversion must be considered. This concern is reasonable because the fishermen rely on the coastal zone to harvest shrimp and oysters to make their living and provide for their family. If the coastal zone were disturbed and the shrimp and oyster die, then all the fishermen would be unemployed. Also, the coast zone should not be interfered in such means because Louisiana is vital to the United States. Louisiana is the number one producer of shrimp and oysters, Perrodin explained, for the United States. Determining if the large-scale sediment diversion from the Mississippi would bring in enough freshwater to disturb the shrimp and oyster beds must be addressed and scientifically researched. The results of this research must determine how much freshwater would be diverted into the marshland and if the freshwater would affect the harvesting of shrimp and oysters for the fishermen.

Overall, the 2012 Master Plan that CPRA has developed to restore Louisiana’s coastline is beneficial. However, the new developments and projects has raised public concerns about the future of harvesting shrimp and oysters, which CPRA needs to consider and research the consequences of some of their projects.

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