The Most Widespread Chesapeake Bay Dead Zones in 35 Years - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

The Most Widespread Chesapeake Bay Dead Zones in 35 Years

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EASTON, Md.- Dead zones are widespread across the Chesapeake Bay, and according to environmentalists it is the most they've seen in 35 years. They are areas underwater that have little to no oxygen, and are fatal to marine life.

The dead zones are suffocating crabs, making it difficult for watermen to catch them alive. Watermen Bobby Whaples says they are used to the "bad water" and find ways to avoid them. They try to stay closer to the shore, as the dead zones fluctuate with the tide.

Upper portions of the Chesapeake Bay are feeling the effects of the recent high temperatures and heavy rainfall. Environmentalists say the dead zones are due to rainy weather and extra nutrients washing in.

"You have a lot of algae blooms that happen. And those algae blooms, when they die, they decompose and consume a lot of oxygen in the water columns," said Matt Pluta, the Choptank River keeper for Shore Rivers.

Dead zones pose a challenge for crabbing because of it's unpredictability, but so far, watermen say crabbing in the lower portions of the bay has been fine.

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