COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – Some ecologists at the University of Maryland are worried that a large spot of low oxygen in the Chesapeake Bay could harm the state’s seafood industry.
News outlets report environmental scientists from Maryland and University of Michigan say they’re predicting a 2-mile (3-kilometer) swath of low-to-no oxygen in the bay, making it one of the largest so-called “dead zones” in nearly 20 years.
This particularly damaging dead zone is thought to be caused by heavy rains the region experienced this year, which washed wastewater and agricultural runoff into the bay. The wastewater then produces oxygen-stealing algae.
The dead zones are especially harmful to key Maryland exports like crabs and oysters, even though other scientists say some smaller marine creatures can withstand the oxygen void.