July 19, 2019
I would like to provide estimates of the potential direct losses associated with the prolonged and twice opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway since February 2019 to the blue crab fishery in Mississippi.
One approach to estimate the direct losses of this man-made disaster is to compare the estimated 2019 landings and dockside values to previous years benchmarks. If one-half of the blue crab resources are devastated (50% mortality), the 2019 landings are expected to be around one-half of the average landings during the benchmark period.
For example, the chart below shows the monthly CUMULATIVE dockside values of blue crabs in Mississippi in two benchmark periods, 2012-16 and 2014-16. These dockside values are the most recent monthly values that can be used to estimate the direct losses due to the excessive freshwater intrusion since February 2019.
Using the 2014-16 averages as benchmarks, the cumulative dockside values start at $207,000 in March and end at $1,033,000 in December. Lower starting and ending dockside values are estimated for the 2012-16 benchmark period.
Source of raw data: NOAA Fisheries (2019).
It must be emphasized that these estimates cover only blue crab harvesting. There are other significant post-harvest economic activities. Crab picking is a major economic activity in the Northern Gulf of Mexico States.
Finally, economic impacts include direct, indirect and induced effects. The direct losses represent the direct impact of the blue crab fishery. There is also backward and forward interaction of the blue crab fishery with other economic sectors.