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NOAA: Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” big, but better

Ocean Fisheries Armed Conflict
Petty Officer 3rd Class Alejandro Rivera/AP
U.S. Coast Guard
In this photo made available by the U.S. Coast Guard, a crew member aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Jacob Poroo vents the swim bladder of a recovered red snapper caught by seized fishing gear in the Gulf of Mexico off the southern Texas coast on Feb. 11, 2022, during a patrol against illegal fishing. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Alejandro Rivera/Cutter Jacob Poroo/U.S. Coast Guard via AP)

Weather forecasters in Washington, D.C. are keeping an eye on the so called dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Tthe area of low oxygen that can kill marine is getting smaller. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the size of the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. That’s actually an improvement over previous years. The reported area of low oxygen was almost triple that size in 2017. NOAA scientists blame the dead zone on runoff from and chemical discharge from the Mississippi River. There was less of that this year and researchers say that led to the smaller dead zone. NOAA says keeping an eye on oxygen levels in the Gulf can guide lawmakers on safeguarding the coastal resources and economic in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi among other states.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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