The Gulf of Mexico is an environmental and economic treasure.
ocean health in the gulf of mexico
Preserving the natural diversity of ocean ecosystems will help ensure abundant fish, bountiful seafood, and recreational opportunities for generations to come.
The Gulf of Mexico is an environmental and economic treasure. Within its 600,000 square miles lie natural wonders and habitats ranging from an underwater Grand Canyon 12,000 feet deep to coral reefs and one of the largest contiguous seagrass beds in the Northern Hemisphere. As the world’s ninth-largest body of water, the Gulf is also an economic engine that supports millions of people and jobs.
The extent of damage caused by the 2010 oil spill remains unknown. But the disaster lends urgency to protecting the Gulf’s resources, including its diverse bounty of fish. Major progress has been achieved toward ending and preventing overfishing through federally required science-based annual catch limits. We must build on that success by ensuring depleted species recover to healthy levels, protecting habitat where fish live and spawn, safeguarding marine food webs, implementing policies to address the impacts of climate change on fish populations, and reducing unintentional catch of fish and other marine species by fishermen pursuing other targets. Too often, these animals are thrown back and do not survive.
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At the United Waterfowlers-Florida’s annual summit last summer, I was reminded why I’ve been a member of this group since its beginnings. To borrow a phrase from the great conservation writer Wendell Barry, “It all turns on affection.” Read More
Gulf of Mexico deep-sea corals form reefs, mounds, and undersea forests that furnish habitat to starfish, squat-lobsters, crabs, worms, sharks, and fish ranging from eels to groupers and snappers. These fragile and slow-growing corals are not simply deeper-dwelling replicas of the shallow-water varieties familiar to divers and snorkelers. Read More
Imagine if you could hike into the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. The sea level scenes that are so familiar to millions of Americans would open like a watery curtain to reveal remarkably diverse, and crucial, natural wonders. Read More
Reasons major U.S. fishing law should shift to big picture management