Gulf of Mexico Ocean Conservation

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.

Taken together, these efforts - known as ecosystem-based fisheries management - can help build a more resilient ecosystem that has already endured decades of overfishing and stressors ranging from pollution to habitat loss. It is time to stop managing marine resources piecemeal but rather embrace a holistic approach that considers the interactions among prey and predator and the important roles played by marine life in the greater ecosystem.

Our Work

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  • Hold That Salad. It’s Not What You Think.

    If it sounds like a sea cucumber should be a vegetable, don’t reach for your salad bowl.Although shaped like our popular produce item, these wormlike creatures are found throughout the world’s oceans. They can grow from less than an inch to nearly 10 feet. They don’t have a brain; nerves guide them instead. And they boast a unique defensive system. Scare one and it will expel... Read More

  • We Can Do More to Reduce Wasted Catch, and Congress Can Help

    If fishermen had their way, the only thing on their hooks or in their nets would be what they were trying to catch: the target fish. But fishing is rarely that simple. Different kinds of fish swim together, and anyone who’s ever heard of dolphin-safe tuna knows that sometimes fishing can capture other species, such as marine mammals and birds. Read More

  • The Bottom Line

    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 fish. With this blog, we hope... Read More

U.S. Southeast Fishermen Speak Out: Protect Our Fish

U.S. Southeast Fishermen Speak Out: Protect Our Fish

Media Contact

Debbie Salamone

Officer, Communications