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Gulf Coast, Shipping, and Our Commitment to the Environment

The Gulf Coast of the United States constitutes one of the richest fisheries in the world. Over a billion dollars annually in shrimp, shellfish, and other marine species are harvested in the coastal waters of this region.  Unfortunately, both the wetlands and offshore waters of this zone face multiple environmental threats. A large dead zone covering millions of acres is located off the mouth of the Mississippi River as chemical fertilizers wash downstream from farms.  The nutrients in the fertilizers spawn algae blooms, whose decay depletes oxygen, rendering a vast area void of life. Millions of acres of marshlands have disappeared into the ocean due to erosion.  Channels have been dredged through the wetlands for oil and gas drilling, and other sorts of developments, such as marinas.  This causes large areas of land to wash away, and the sediment needed to replenish them is to a large extent being flushed out to sea by the Mississippi because of a levee system designed for river transportation and flood control. Recognition of these problems and the need for action has been stimulated in recent years by the destruction wrought on New Orleans and surrounding regions by Hurricane Katrina, and the more recent… read more »