Gulf of Mexico

Government forecasters are set to release their prediction later today for how many hurricanes and tropical storms they expect to form over Atlantic and Caribbean waters in the next six months.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts Friday, June 1 and ends on November 30.

StoryCorps

In 2010, Bethany Kraft and Casi Callaway were colleagues working for different environmental nonprofits in Mobile, Alabama. When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, they didn’t know what to expect or what the impact would be. In this StoryCorps piece, Bethany and Casi reflect on how that horrific disaster changed the Gulf Coast and their lives...


A team of 21 scientists will conduct a study to estimate the number of red snapper in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The panel of researchers from universities and state and federal agencies was convened by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and awarded $9.5 million in federal funds. The project will receive another $2.5 million from the universities involved.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross highlighted the importance of the long-term sustainability of the red snapper fishery for communities along the Gulf Coast:

The Gulf of Mexico is setting an unwanted record – this year’s “dead zone”, where there’s too little oxygen to support any marine life, is the largest ever measured.

Scientists say this year, the oxygen-depleted region is about the size of New Jersey, covering 8,776 square miles. Scientist Nancy Rabalais has been measuring the area since 1985. She and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their latest findings yesterday.

Alabama wildlife officials say the federal government is still overestimating the amount of red snapper caught in the Gulf of Mexico.  

A new report from the Alabama Marine Resources Division says a mandatory state reporting program estimates the state's charter boats and private recreational anglers caught about 1.5 million pounds of snapper last year.

That number compares to a federal survey program that estimates more than 2.7 million pounds of red snapper were landed in Alabama.

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab is a half million dollars richer today thanks to the U.S. Department of Justice.

WKRG-TV reports the Sea Lab received the $500,000 check as the result of an investigation that found a Norweigan shipping company guilty of dumping oil and sludge into the Gulf of Mexico.

The settlement reached totaled $2.5 million. As part of the settlement, half a million dollars had to go to a community organization as restitution. The Department of Justice chose the Dauphin Island Sea Lab due to their commitment to stewardship of the Gulf of Mexico.

Associated Press

In the first federal oil lease sale since the government said BP PLC can again get federal contracts, BP has bids on 31 tracts in the central Gulf of Mexico. The sale is also the first since 2008 offering tracts in the eastern gulf, but nobody bid on any of those tracts. A total of 42 companies bid on 326 blocks in the central gulf, and one company — Exxon Mobil Corp. — bid on three blocks in the western gulf. The bids will be opened and read out starting at 9 a.m. CDT.

Scientists Says Lionfish Population Exploding in Gulf

Jul 23, 2012
NOAA's National Ocean Service / Flickr

Scientists say there’s an exploding population of lionfish off Alabama’s coast and are concerned how it could affect the ecosystem. The spiky, brown-and-white striped fish are native to the Pacific Ocean, but not the Gulf or Atlantic. Scientists believe the invasive species was first introduced about 20 years ago in the wake of Hurricane Andrew. Karon Aplin is with Alabama’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Study says Gulf oil spill might have lasting impact

Jul 10, 2012
NASA Goddard Photo and Video / Flickr

New research by an Auburn University professor and other scientists suggests that the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill could have significant impacts on microscopic life that might not become apparent for years.

Auburn professor Ken Halanych and scientists from the University of New Hampshire, the University of California Davis Genome Center, and the University of Texas at San Antonio, published their work last month in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.