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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Lee Crockett's “Overfishing 101” blog provided an authoritative primer on federal fisheries policy. It also spotlighted historic milestones and celebrated success stories. His new series, “The Bottom Line,” will continue to explore fisheries management issues, while taking on other related subjects to provide a more in-depth look at the issues facing our ocean... Read More
Forage fish—also known as baitfish—bind Florida’s marine food webs together. These small, nutrient-rich schooling fish, such as mullet, ballyhoo, and sardines, are a critical food source for other ocean wildlife. They are consumed by coastal birds and larger fish, including tarpon, groupers, and king mackerel, that support the state’s multibillion-dollar fishing industry. Read More