New Harmony knows that saving the coast doesn't mean only addressing land subsidence or sea level rise. Coastal ecology and economy connections are deep! Our mission is to help Louisiana survive and thrive well into the future-- sustaining healthy land, water, air AND people.
We are fascinated with the seafood industry and how it plays into coastal ecosystems and consumer markets. Back in June, we took a group of students down to beautiful Plaquemines Parish to learn all about oysters, from harvesting to market. You can watch a video recap here.
Louisiana is the second largest commercial fishery in the US. One of of every 70 jobs in Louisiana is connected to the fishing industry. The economic impact of this industry is $2.4 billion annually for Louisiana. This bounty of seafood is enjoyed in the state, throughout the US, and even shipped to international markets. This chart breaks down the economic impact on LA by species:
Our changing climate however, is affecting some of the fish in the Gulf, such as the Menhaden fish. A recent study from LSU found that when water gets warmer, there is less oxygen, so the fish grow smaller. So the warmer Gulf temperatures affect not only hurricane development, but also the creatures that live in the Gulf waters.
When these fish are smaller, it means there is less food for the animals that rely on them for food such as birds and dolphins. The fish are harvested for products such as fertilizers, pet food, or oils in cosmetics, so smaller fish negatively affect industries that rely on them.
Humans and the climate can have a big impact on the populations of fish. At New Harmony, we seek to explore these impacts and understand what makes an ecosystem thrive or suffer. As an individual, what can you do? Buy local! And, hang on to this handy guide for the next time you are grocery shopping or out to eat. Choose seafood that is sustainably caught or farmed and not endangered. Be part of the seafood solution!