I have never in my life heard of an “Ocean Jubilee.”
Of course, I have read about The Year Of Jubilee – from the Bible – talked about in Leviticus 25.
But this is not that.
The jubilee that happens in the ocean is when animals seemingly go crazy.
See, a few times per year, large amounts of shrimp and crab, and various fish, converge on shallow-waters near the beach in a frenzy of activity.
The numbers are so large that bystanders can literally go scoop seafood out of the water by the bucketful.
It turns out that this is a natural phenomenon where temporary oxygen depletion forces sea-life to the surface.
Interestingly, these jubilees are quite common throughout both place and time.
But the only place where they have been documented consistently is Mobile, Alabama.
What a crazy-beautiful world we get to live in.
After centuries of these annual events, jubilees are now known to be a result of salinity stratification—a layering effect of the heavier, saltier water from the Gulf of Mexico to the south overlain by the lighter, fresh water swept into the bay by rivers from the north. This causes an upwelling of oxygen-poor water that pushes crustaceans and bottom fish to the shore by the tens of thousands. The sea creatures are seemingly stunned and unable to swim. They lie quietly in the shallowest of water surrounded by vast numbers of their own kind until, at last, the tide shifts, and the jubilee is over. At that time they “wake up,” no worse for the experience, and swim back into deep water. But there is a window—maybe an hour or ninety minutes—when all the shrimp, crab, and flounder that can be hauled away are easily gathered by anyone lucky enough to be there at that perfect point in time.
-Andy Andrews, The Noticer Returns