It's 'Going to End with Me': The Fate of Gulf Fisheries in a Warming World
As global warming changes the Texas coast and cheap food imports flood the country, the people who make their living off oysters and shrimp are disappearing.
In early December, shrimper and oysterman Scooter Machacek, whose family has been working the Gulf Coast of Texas for four generations, took his two-man crew out to harvest oysters in waters off Palacios (puh-LA-shus), a small port a couple hours down the coast from Galveston. It had been a terrible day, he tells me; it took seven hours to gather just 13 hundred-pound sacks of oysters, which his crew quickly unloaded from his boat "Hloczek" onto the deck at JoJo's, their buyer in Turning Basin 4. Thirteen sacks was a pitiful haul, less than half of the allowable daily limit of 30 sacks, which itself was a fraction of the 140-sack limit allowed in the heyday of the 1980s.
Everything, it seemed, was shrinking, and Scooter thinks there might not be a future in shellfishing along this stretch of shoreline.
"This is just a dying industry, is what it is," says Scooter, 53.
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