“ 30 Miles from Punta Gorda,”
by Hugh O’Connor. “Angles and
Dangles,” (inset) by Dennis Boom.
A GLIMPSE OF THE GULF
THE NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION (NOAA) takes another look at the Gulf Coast region in a new report highlighting the economic importance of a region battered by natural and man-made disasters in recent years.
“The Gulf of Mexico at a Glance: A Second Glance” is a follow-up to a 2008 report from
NOAA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Commerce, along with
the Gulf Coast Alliance, which is made up of the five states
bordering the Gulf of Mexico. The report relies on the latest
federal figures, almost all of which predate the Deepwater
Horizon oil spill in April 2010. Thus, it doesn’t include
subsequent closures of recreational and commercial fisheries,
but it paints a picture of the Gulf’s importance in previous
years that should be helpful in the continuing restoration and
rebuilding of the region.
In 2009, according to the report, almost a third of recreational fishing trips in the country, some 23 million, were
taken in the Gulf of Mexico, and accounted for 44 percent of
the recreational catch in the United States. The report details
the top recreational catches by weight, using National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
numbers for 2009. In 2010, those same numbers show a dramatic drop-off for fish caught
offshore, where oil spill-related closures occurred.
Red snapper catches showed the most dramatic decrease — 55 percent measured by
weight — while fish found closer to shore were less affected. (Red drum catches actually
showed an increase of 10 percent.) Data collected by the NMFS show a 30-percent drop in
the number of charter fishing trips for the same period. — C.L.
PLASTIC BATHTUB TOYS
including ducks, beavers, frogs,
and turtles fell overboard from a
container ship en route from
Hong Kong to Tacoma during
a storm in January 1992.
A new book, Moby Duck
tells what became of them, and the
enthusiasts who chased them.
Moby Duck by Donovan Hohn; Viking, $27.95
PHOTO: WILLIAM FOLSOM, NOAA, NMFS