Scientist in the U.S., Cuba and Mexico are working together on a multinational plan to protect the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystems and marine life.
A Minneapolis Post article reports about delegations meetings that have identified several priorities for the three countries, including research and conservation of coral reefs, sharks, sea turtles and dolphins, as well as the better management of fisheries as well as the problems they encounter as a consequence of the unresolved political situation.
The Gulf of Mexico is rich in biodiversity and unique habitats. Some of the keystone species found in the gulf are manatees, bottlenose dolphins, gators and crocs, sea turtles, whale sharks, grouper, shrimp, crabs and oysters. Among the endangered species found in this area are Acropora coral, black grouper, red porgy and smalltooth sawfish, Caribbean monk seal as well five of the seven species of sea turtles — green, loggerhead, hawksbill, leatherback and even hosts the only known nesting beach of Kemp’s Ridley, the world’s most endangered sea turtle.
The shelf also hosts a number of commercial industries, all strong economical forcers that present political obstacles to the researchers efforts. The Gulf is exploited for its oil by means of offshore drilling rigs, most of which are situated in the western gulf and in the Bay of Campeche. Other important commercial activities are fishing, shipping, petrochemical processing and storage, military use, paper manufacture, and tourism.
Read the Minneapolis Post original article.
Learn more about the sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico at the National Park Service website.
Copyright © 2009 by Marine Science Today, a publication of OceanLines LLC