what if it was here?

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been all over the news, media sites, etc… as it should be. It is devastating not only the environment but peoples homes and livelihoods. It is heart breaking.

ESRI, one of the major GIS software providers, has a link on their home page that shows various spatial data concerning the oil spill. I have a bit of a soft spot for maps, data, and other nerdiness (it is what I do, after all) so I had to share it with you.

They call it the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Situational Awareness Viewer. If you go to the site, you can turn the different layers on and off. It is an awesome tool– but also scary.

I work with natural resources and our biologists deal with fisheries quite a bit… so I was intrigued with the Fishery Closure Area.

You can see on the map that it’s big… but I wanted to know just how big exactly.

I clicked a few links and then found that as of June 21, the Fishery Closure Area is 86,985 square miles (click here for the source).

That’s a lot of numbers.

To put in perspective for my fellow PNW-ers, the Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca (South from the US-Canada border up by Blaine) is only 4,100 square miles (approximately).

Can you imagine what would happen to our fisherman (commercial, Tribal, sportsman) if we had to close all of our waters to fishing? Or how they would react?

I don’t even like to think about it.

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