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Hurricane Irma has come and gone and is followed by Floridians trying to return to their everyday life. For some, this everyday life includes the recreational, or professional (if you’re lucky) activity of lobster hunting. Hours are spent diving and snorkeling under the hot Florida sun all to catch the spiny crustaceans we all know and love as lobsters! So how do we return back to normal after a Category 5 hurricane like Irma breaches our shores and throws the weight of the ocean around with it?
Before Hurricane Irma actually hit our shores, parts of Florida were witness to an event that sent social media a flurry. The water along our beaches receded revealing the ocean floor beyond our normal scape of view. With its high winds and varying pressure, Irma gathered water to it before sending it back as a storm surge. This displacement of water can interfere with preexisting marine ecosystems as well as already built nests.
So why is this important? What does a hurricane have to do with lobster? There are direct implications easily identified such as boat damage, washed out beaches, closed docks, and lost lobster traps. Apart from that, the repercussions may seem a bit elusive. For instance visibility for a beach dive after the storm can prove quite difficult. Also, after hurricanes lobsters are more likely to migrate to deeper waters which are colder, less turbulent, and have a higher salinity.
All in all, the damage dealt by Irma extends past property damage and flooding. It has now interrupted a time honored and beloved Floridian tradition. As we restore our lives around us we can only wait for the ocean to calm and our lobsters to return to us. Unlike a child claiming their dog has eaten their homework; at least we can all honestly say that Hurricane Irma has taken our lobster!