Over the last few days I’ve been thinking about the changes that have taken place in the Gulf of Mexico since I started working as a marine biologist.When did I start? Longer ago than I’d like to think about but close enough to still remember. It was 1984 – nothing to do with a book of the same name. Though, at times it did seem like big brother was watching over my shoulder.The rise of the recreational fishing activist, the fall of the gill-netter and shrimping’s decline, as the world learned about mariculture, are some of the major changes that I’ve seen in that time. There’s one other change that has had a great effect on the Gulf, it’s just that we can’t see it, except from a plane or on satellite photos – realestate. The building of homes and businesses seems to have taken over as the primary focus on the Gulf’s shoreline and near shore areas.This focus on money seems to have taken on the mantra of ˜Wetlands for Dollars!”. Without the wetlands the Gulf’s resources will continue to decline even faster than from over-fishing. The vast majority of Gulf species spend some part or all of their lifecycle in the wetlands. Even if the wetlands are left completely undeveloped they will continue to decliine by gradually being filled in with the additional silt from runoff – parking lots and roofs don’t absorb water.I’ll talk about each of these issues over the next few weeks. This way we can measure what has been gained by what has been lost.One definition of insanity is ˜Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
Think Global – Act Local!