Joining Craig is co-principal investigator Martin Smith, associate professor of environmental economics at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. The study's other participants are Lori Snyder Bennear, assistant professor of environmental economics and policy at the Nicholas School, and Jim Nance, a shrimp biologist at the National Marine Fisheries Service in Galveston, Texas.
"I've been working on the effects of the dead zone in both the Gulf of Mexico and in southeast U.S. estuaries for several years," Craig said. "Most of my work has focused on the ecological effects of hypoxia. At Duke, Marty Smith has worked on the economic aspects but in other ecosystems. Ecology and economics are two disparate fields with very different cultures and approaches. Given the complexity of the problem in the Gulf, we decided to collaborate so that we could cover all facets of the dead zone's consequences for the coastal ecosystem's capacity to support fisheries."
"Not much is known about the runoff's economic effects on the shrimp fishery," Smith said. "This research project will be the first direct investigation of these links."
Regardless of the causes, Craig notes that hypoxia has substantial effects on the behavior of both shrimp and shrimp fishermen, forcing them to relocate to other areas. Smith points to changing economic conditions -- including declines in real shrimp prices due to competition from imports and rising fuel costs that likely also have influenced the shrimp fleet's behavior.
Craig and Smith agree that the dynamic nature of the interaction makes it difficult to measure the dead zone's impacts based solely on the reported size of annual shrimp harvests.
To produce a more accurate measure of hypoxia's imp
|Contact: Kevin Craig|
Florida State University