From the Mississippi River delta to the deep-water corals that live beyond light’s reach, the Gulf is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet.
The health of Gulf fish are at risk because of overfishing by commercial and recreational fishermen. The lack of scientifically based catch limits created significant problems for the Gulf. Catch limits that were too high led to the decline of many fish populations including red snapper and goliath grouper. The use of some types of fishing gear increased accidental bycatch of sharks, turtles and dolphins. As a result, many of the Gulf’s fish are listed by the National Marine Fisheries Service as overfished or undergoing overfishing.
Since 1976, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (made up of state and federal agencies, and fishers) has worked, under the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Management Act, to reduce overfishing and bycatch. These efforts brought over 40 species of fish back from near-collapse. This benefits not only the ecosystem and the fish, but also the communities that rely on these fish for food, employment and recreation. To ensure that the Gulf supports healthy fish populations now and into the future, we support science-based management of fish.
GRN works with Gulf and national partners to set annual catch limits that rebuild fish stocks and prevent current and future overfishing;
Focus on the ecosystem as a whole, including stronger protections for fish habitat and better management and conservation of forage (or small “bait” fish) species that feed larger fish and other predators; and
Ensure a sustainable future for Gulf fish.