Oceans & Marine Life

Oceans & Marine Life

Sperm whales in GulfThe Gulf of Mexico is the ninth largest body of water in the world and is bordered by the United States to the north (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas), five Mexican states to the west (Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan), and the island of Cuba to the southeast. The Gulf ecosystem is extremely productive and supports a rich diversity of mammals, fish and sea birds. For example, the Gulf is home to 29 species of marine mammals, including resident populations of sperm and minke whales, numerous sea birds, and yields more finfish, shrimp, and shellfish annually than the south and mid-Atlantic, Chesapeake, and New England areas combined. Gulf habitats include vast coastal wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation, and corals, including Florida’s extensive shallow reefs and hundreds of spectacular and unique deep water reef ecosystems such the Flower Garden Banks off of Texas. 

However, overfishing, pollution, shipping, and the impacts of oil and gas development, including the BP drilling disaster, are degrading critical estuaries and placing marine species at risk. 

Read more about our work to protect the Gulf's marine species and habitats below: 

Protecting Marine Habitats

The Gulf of Mexico is home to an incredible array of habitats, including coastal estuaries and bays, seagrass beds, and corals, but many of these habitats are threatened...read more

Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles

The Gulf is home to 29 marine mammals, and 5 species of sea turtles, many of which are threatened or endangered. Gulf Restoration Network is working to ensure that these at risk species are protected...read more.

Preventing Overfishing

The Gulf of Mexico supports vibrant fish and shellfish populations, such as red snapper, red drum, king mackerel, shrimp and oysters. These, in turn, support an estimated $22.6 billion in seafood, commercial fishing and recreational fishing activity. One of the greatest threats to the Gulf fish species is overfishing...read more.

Toxic Dispersants

Dispersants, used in response to oil spills in water to remove slicks from the surface, change the chemical and physical property of oil, separating an oil slick into small droplets and increasing the mixture of the oil into the water column. Dispersant use does not reduce the total amount of oil released into the environment. Rather, it reduces oil exposure to shoreline habitat while increasing oil exposure in the water column and on the ocean’s bottom...read more.