Map of Gulf of Mexico region

The Gulf of Mexico is a 218,000 square mile semi-enclosed, oceanic basin connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the Straits of Florida and to the Caribbean Sea by the Yucatan Channel. Many important watersheds, such as the Mississippi river, drain into the Gulf of Mexico. Many important species are found in the gulf such as red snappers, manatees, and 

The region experiences some of the most severe weather in the world, including major hurricanes, tornadoes and thunderstorms. 17.2 million acres of marsh and nearly 30,000 miles of tidal shoreline draw millions of tourists to this area every year. 

There are numerous threats to Gulf ecosystems, including one of the world’s largest areas of hypoxia, or “dead zone.” Each year, the dead zone sharply affects the region’s seafood production, illustrating the enormity and complexity of the threats facing the region’s ecosystem and, subsequently, the region’s economy. 

Approximately half of total U.S. petroleum refining and natural gas processing capacity is located along the Gulf coast. This provides billions of dollars to the regional economy. Ship building and shipping are also multi-billion dollar industries, with two of the largest ports in the world, Houston and New Orleans, in the region.

Recreation, leisure, and tourism industries contribute significantly to the Gulf economy employing millions of people. The Gulf of Mexico supports some of the largest recreational and valuable commercial fisheries in the nation. These  benefits bring a rising population, creating notable pressures on the very natural resources that provide the economic engine for the region.

 

North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)

graph of the North Atlantic Oscillation index from 1980-2020

Values correspond to Index scores

 

Description of time series:

Positive NAO values mean significantly warmer winters over the upper Midwest and New England and negative NAO values can mean cold winter outbreaks and heavy snowstorms. During the last five years, the NAO indicator shows no significant trend but has remained largely in the negative phase.

 

Description of gauge:

The unitless two-way gauge depicts whether the average of the last 5 years of data for the climate indicator is above or below the median value of the entire time series. High values in either direction mean extreme variation from the median value of the entire time series. 

 

Description of North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO):

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index measures the relative strengths and positions of a permanent low-pressure system over Iceland (the Icelandic Low) and a permanent high-pressure system over the Azores (the Azores High). When the index is positive (NAO+) significantly warmer winters can occur over the upper Midwest and New England. On the East Coast of the United States a NAO+ can also cause increased rainfall, and thus warmer, less saline surface water. This prevents nutrient-rich upwelling, which reduces productivity. When the NAO index is negative, the upper central and northeastern portions of the United States can incur winter cold outbreaks and heavy snowstorms. This climate condition impacts people and ecosystems across the globe and each of the indicators presented here. Interactions between the ocean and atmosphere alter weather around the world and can result in severe storms or mild weather, drought, or flooding. Beyond “just” influencing the weather and ocean conditions, these changes can produce secondary results that influence food supplies and prices, forest fires and flooding, and create additional economic and political consequences.

 

Data Background:

Climate indicator data was accessed from the NOAA NCEI (https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/teleconnections/nao/data.csv). The data plotted are unitless anomalies and averaged across a given region

 

Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO)

graph of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation index from 1980-2020

Values correspond to Index scores

 

Description of time series:

Positive AMO values indicate the warm phase, during which surface waters in the North Atlantic Ocean are warmer than average, and negative AMO values indicate the cold phase, during which surface waters in the North Atlantic Ocean are cooler than average. During the last five years, the AMO indicator shows no significant trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The unitless two-way gauge depicts whether the average of the last 5 years of data for the climate indicator is above or below the median value of the entire time series. High values in either direction mean extreme variation from the median value of the entire time series. 

 

Description of Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO):

The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation is a series of long-duration changes in the North Atlantic sea surface temperature, with cool and warm phases that may last for 20-40 years. Most of the Atlantic between the equator and Greenland changes in unison. Some areas of the North Pacific also seem to be affected. This broadscale climate condition affects air temperatures and rainfall over much of the Northern Hemisphere. It is also related to major droughts in the Midwest and the Southwest of the U.S. In the warm phase, these droughts tend to be more frequent and/or severe. Vice-versa for the cold phase. During the warm phases the number of tropical storms that mature into severe hurricanes is much greater than during cool phases. Despite the association of AMO with multiple weather and climate impacts, recent scientific debate has questioned whether this indicator is a natural climate variation, like the other climate indicators presented here, or a response of the climate system to human-caused climate change. Whether natural or a result of human-caused climate change, AMO is a useful feature for tracking large-scale weather and climate events. This climate condition impacts people and ecosystems across the globe and each of the indicators presented here. Interactions between the ocean and atmosphere alter weather around the world and can result in severe storms or mild weather, drought, or flooding. Beyond “just” influencing the weather and ocean conditions, these changes can produce secondary results that influence food supplies and prices, forest fires and flooding, and create additional economic and political consequences.

 

Data Background:

Climate indicator data was accessed from NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory (https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/timeseries/AMO/). The data plotted are unitless anomalies and averaged across a given region

 

 

Sea Surface Temperature

graph of sea surface temperature for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Sea surface temperature is defined as the average temperature of the top few millimeters of the ocean. Sea surface temperature monitoring tells us how the ocean and atmosphere interact, as well as providing fundamental data on the global climate system

 

Description of time series:

The time series shows the integrated sea surface temperature for the Gulf of Mexico region.  During the last five years there has been no notable trend but values were above the 90th percentile of all observed data in the time series.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 92 indicates that the mean sea surface temperature between 2016 and 2020 for the Gulf of Mexico region was higher than 92% of the temperatures between 1982 and 2020.

 

Description of Sea Surface Temperature:

Sea surface temperature (SST) is defined as the temperature of the top few millimeters of the ocean. This temperature directly or indirectly  impacts the rate of all physical, chemical, and most biological processes occurring in the ocean. SST is globally monitored by sensors on satellites, buoys, ships, ocean reference stations, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and other technologies. 

 

SST monitoring tells us how the ocean and atmosphere interact, as well as providing fundamental data on the global climate system. This information also aids us in weather prediction, i.e. identifying the onset of El Niño and La Niña cycles - multiyear shifts in atmospheric pressure and wind speeds. These shifts affect ocean circulation, global weather patterns, and marine ecosystems. SST anomalies have been linked to shifting marine resources. With warming temperatures, we observe the poleward movements of fish and other species. Temperature extremes—both ocean heatwaves and cold spells—have been linked to coral bleaching as well as fishery and aquaculture mortality. We present the annual average SST at the Large Marine Ecosystem scale in all regions.

 

Indicator and source information:

The SST data were accessed from (https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oisst).  The data are plotted in degrees Celsius. 

 

Data background and limitations:

To compensate for platform differences and sensor biases, satellite and ship observations are referenced to buoys. These data are NOAA 1/4° Daily Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature (version 2.1). Measurements of SST served through this portal incorporate data obtained from various platforms such as satellites, buoys, Argo floats, and ships. 

Sea Level

Coastal Sea Level from Tide Gauges

graph of coastal sea level for Gulf of Mexico US from 1980-2020

Sea level varies due to the force of gravity, the Earth’s rotation and irregular features on the ocean floor. Other forces affecting sea levels include temperature, wind, ocean currents, tides, and other similar processes.

 

Description of time series:

The time series shows the relative sea level, water height as compared to nearby land level, for the Gulf of Mexico region. During the last five years there has been no notable trend but values were above the 90th percentile of all observed data in the time series.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 93 indicates that the sea level between 2016 and 2020 for the Gulf of Mexico region was higher than 93% of the sea level between 1980 and 2020.

 

Description of Sea Level:

Sea level varies due to the force of gravity, the Earth’s rotation and irregular features on the ocean floor. Other forces affecting sea levels include temperature, wind, ocean currents, tides, and other similar processes. With 40 percent of Americans living in densely populated coastal areas, having a clear understanding of sea level trends is critical to societal and economic well being.

 

Measuring and predicting sea levels, tides and storm surge are important for determining coastal boundaries, ensuring safe shipping, emergency preparedness, and other aspects of the well-being of coastal communities. 

 

Indicator and source information:

NOAA monitors sea levels using tide stations and satellite laser altimeters. Tide stations around the globe tell us what is happening at local levels, while satellite measurements provide us with the average height of the entire ocean. Taken together, data from these sources are fed into models that tell us how our ocean sea levels are changing over time. For this site, data from tide stations around the US were combined to create regionally averaged records of sea-level change since 1980. We present data for all regions.

 

Data background and limitations:

Sea level data presented here are measurements of relative sea level, water height as compared to nearby land level, from NOAA tide gauges that have >20 years of hourly data served through NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) Tides and Currents website. These local measurements are regionally averaged by taking the median value of all the qualifying stations within a region. The measurements are in meters and are relative to the year 2000.

Chlorophyll-a

graph of chlorophyll A from the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Chlorophyll a, a pigment produced by phytoplankton, can be measured to determine the amount of phytoplankton present in water bodies. From a human perspective, high values of chlorophyll a can be good (abundance of nutritious diatoms as food for fish) or bad (Harmful Algal Blooms that may cause respiratory distress for people), based on the associated phytoplankton species.

 

Description of time series:

This time series shows the average concentration levels of chlorophyll ɑ for the Gulf of Mexico region.  During the last five years there has been a significant upward trend and values have remained within the 10th and 90th percentiles of all observed data in the time series

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 70 indicates that between 2016 and 2020 the average concentration levels of chlorophyll a in the Gulf of Mexico region were considerably higher than the long term median of all chlorophyll ɑ concentration levels between 1998 and 2020.

 

Gauge values

0–10: Chlorophyll a was significantly lower than the long term median state.

10–25: Chlorophyll a was considerably lower than the long term median state.

25–50: Chlorophyll a was slightly lower than the long term median state.

50: Chlorophyll a was at the long term median state.

50–75: Chlorophyll a was slightly higher than the long term median state.

75–90: Chlorophyll a was considerably higher than the long term median state.

90–100: Chlorophyll a was significantly higher than the long term median state.

 

Chlorophyll a, a pigment produced by phytoplankton, can be measured to determine the amount of phytoplankton present in water bodies. From a human perspective, high values of chlorophyll a can be good (abundance of nutritious diatoms as food for fish) or bad (Harmful Algal Blooms that may cause respiratory distress for people), based on the associated phytoplankton species.

 

Description of time series:

This time series shows the average concentration levels of chlorophyll ɑ for the Gulf of Mexico region.  During the last five years there has been a significant upward trend and values have remained within the 10th and 90th percentiles of all observed data in the time series

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 70 indicates that between 2016 and 2020 the average concentration levels of chlorophyll a in the Gulf of Mexico region were considerably higher than the long term median of all chlorophyll ɑ concentration levels between 1998 and 2020.

 

Gauge values

0–10: Chlorophyll a was significantly lower than the long term median state.

10–25: Chlorophyll a was considerably lower than the long term median state.

25–50: Chlorophyll a was slightly lower than the long term median state.

50: Chlorophyll a was at the long term median state.

50–75: Chlorophyll a was slightly higher than the long term median state.

75–90: Chlorophyll a was considerably higher than the long term median state.

90–100: Chlorophyll a was significantly higher than the long term median state.

Chlorophyll a, a pigment produced by phytoplankton, can be measured to determine the amount of phytoplankton present in water bodies. From a human perspective, high values of chlorophyll a can be good (abundance of nutritious diatoms as food for fish) or bad (Harmful Algal Blooms that may cause respiratory distress for people), based on the associated phytoplankton species.

 

Description of time series:

This time series shows the average concentration levels of chlorophyll ɑ for the Gulf of Mexico region.  During the last five years there has been a significant upward trend and values have remained within the 10th and 90th percentiles of all observed data in the time series

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 70 indicates that between 2016 and 2020 the average concentration levels of chlorophyll a in the Gulf of Mexico region were considerably higher than the long term median of all chlorophyll ɑ concentration levels between 1998 and 2020.

 

Gauge values

0–10: Chlorophyll a was significantly lower than the long term median state.

10–25: Chlorophyll a was considerably lower than the long term median state.

25–50: Chlorophyll a was slightly lower than the long term median state.

50: Chlorophyll a was at the long term median state.

50–75: Chlorophyll a was slightly higher than the long term median state.

75–90: Chlorophyll a was considerably higher than the long term median state.

90–100: Chlorophyll a was significantly higher than the long term median state.

 

Description of Chlorophyll a:

Phytoplankton are microscopic plants at the base of most marine food webs and produce nearly half of the Earth’s oxygen. One way we estimate the number of phytoplankton in the ocean is by measuring the amount  of chlorophyll a in the water.  Chlorophyll a is a green pigment (the same pigment that makes tree leaves appear green) that the phytoplankton use to absorb sunlight. The amount (or concentration) of chlorophyll a in surface waters  can be calculated by measuring the color of the water ( also referred to as “ocean color”) which can be “seen” by sensors on satellites in space almost like your eyes see the color of the ocean. Environmental and oceanographic factors continuously influence the abundance, species composition, spatial distribution, and productivity of phytoplankton. Tracking the amount of phytoplankton in the ocean conveys the status of the base of the food web, and how much food is available for other animals. Changes in the amount of phytoplankton in the ocean are part of the natural seasonal cycle (similar to seasonal changes of plants on land), but can also indicate an ecosystem’s response to a major external disturbance such as a hurricane or typhoon.

 

Indicator and source information:

The data for this Chlorophyll a annual indicator were provided by the NOAA Fisheries Coastal and Oceanic Plankton Ecology, Production, and Observations Database (COPEPOD).  COPEPOD determined the annual Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) chlorophyll a concentrations using mapped, monthly composites of chlorophyll a concentration as calculated from radiance measurements ("ocean color") made by the SeaWiFS and MODIS-Aqua satellite sensors.   These monthly composites were obtained from NASA (https://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/).  Annual means for each LME for each year were calculated from the average of the LME 12 monthly means in that year.  The overall “National Annual Mean mean was calculated as the average of all LME annual means. See the Data Background section for more details.  Source: https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/copepod/about/about-copepod.html.

To learn more about satellite-based chlorophyll a measurements within NOAA or to supplement the time series data shown here, please visit NOAA CoastWatch for more information and assistance.

 

Data background and limitations:

Satellite chlorophyll a, 9 km mapped, monthly composited data from SeaWiFS and MODIS-Aqua NASA products were spatially re-binned into 0.5 degree latitude by 0.5 degree longitude boxes (nominally about 50 km2 near the equator) then those ~50 km2 box values were averaged over the area of a given LME, resulting in 12 values per LME, one value for each month.  The annual LME chlorophyll a amount reported here is the average of those 12 monthly values.  This technique was done for each LME from North America and Hawaii.  The overall “National Annual Mean mean was calculated as the average of all the LME annual means.  Note that chlorophyll a  is often plotted on a logarithmic scale to accentuate proportional changes.  In other words, small changes in concentration when amounts are relatively low could mean a very big proportional change in the phytoplankton whereas the same change in absolute concentration when concentrations are relatively large is less meaningful.

Zooplankton

graph of zooplankton biomass for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Description of time series:

Between 2015 and 2019 the average concentration of zooplankton biomass showed no significant trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 78 indicates that between 2015 and 2019 the average concentration of zooplankton biomass in the Gulf of Mexico was much higher than the median value of all zooplankton biomass concentration levels between 1982 and 2019.

 

Gauge values

High values of zooplankton can be good (lots of lipid rich colder water species) or bad (lots of lipid poor warmer water species), depending on the region.

 

0 - 10: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is very low compared to the median value.

10 - 25: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is much lower than the median value.

25 - 50: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is lower than the median value.

 50: The five-year zooplankton biomass average equals the median value.

50 - 75: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is higher than the median value.

75 - 90: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is much higher than the median value.

90 - 100: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is very high compared to the median value.

 

Description of Zooplankton:

Zooplankton are a diverse group of animals found in oceans, bays, and estuaries. By eating phytoplankton, and each other, zooplankton play a significant role in the transfer of materials and energy up the oceanic food web (e.g., fish, birds, marine mammals, humans.) Like phytoplankton, environmental and oceanographic factors continuously influence the abundance, composition and spatial distribution of zooplankton. These include the abundance and type of phytoplankton present in the water, as well as the water’s temperature, salinity, oxygen, and pH. Zooplankton can rapidly react to changes in their environment. For this reason monitoring the status of zooplankton is essential for detecting changes in, and evaluating the status of ocean ecosystems. We present the annual average total biovolume of zooplankton in the Alaska, California Current, Gulf of Mexico, Hawai'i-Pacific Islands and Northeast regions.

 

Indicator information

Zooplankton data for each region were obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Coastal & Oceanic Plankton Ecology, Production, & Observations Database, an integrated data set of quality-controlled, globally distributed plankton biomass and abundance data with common biomass units and served in a common electronic format with supporting documentation and access software. California Current specific data comes from the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) program: https://calcofi.org/

 

Data Background and Caveats:

Unlike previous years, all value are now standardized to "ml/m3". For example, EcoMon data units went from "ml/100m3" to just "ml/m3", but that did not affect the shape of the trends as it is a linear multiplicative factor. CalCOFI, however, went from "ml/m2" to "ml/m3", and the trend has changed noticeably.  It is now noisier and no clear trend.  One converts "ml/m2" to "ml/m3" by dividing by the towing depth (m).  That is a non-linear muplicative factor, so it can affect each data point and change the data shape.

HI -Note that Hawai’i is Wet Mass (g/m3) , not DV (ml/m3).  

Finally, a log10 value frequency histogram of the raw data values showed that 99.9% of the DV  data values were less than 15 ml/m3.   To reduce the impact of large outliers (i.e., due to a large jellyfish or an algal mat caught in the net), any DV value greater than 15 was capped at a value of just 15. Again, this would only affect < 0.1% of the data.  In some extreme cases, original DV values were over 100+ ... which greatly skewed the means and trends if not removed. This is actually standard practice.   CalCOFI offers both a "large" and "small" DV value (with the latter having large values removed), for example, and some programs automatically remove any plankter larger than the 5 cm length from the net sample before measuring the DV.

Zooplankton data for each region were obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Coastal & Oceanic Plankton Ecology, Production, & Observations Database, an integrated data set of quality-controlled, globally distributed plankton biomass and abundance data with common biomass units and served in a common electronic format with supporting documentation and access software. Source: https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/copepod/about/about-copepod.html

 

 

Coral Reefs

Flower Garden Banks

FGB Corals

Description of gauge:

The Flower Garden Banks coral reefs score 89, meaning most indicators meet reference values. 

 

Data Interpretation:

The scores you see for each region are composite scores for the themes and then one overall score. The overall score is an average of all four theme scores for the Flower Garden Banks region’s coral reef ecosystem score. 

Benthic – Composite gauge for benthic theme score in the Flower Garden Banks region is 93%, meaning it is ranked very good with all or almost all indicators meeting reference values.

Fish – Composite gauge for fish theme score in the Flower Garden Banks region is 85%, meaning it is ranked good with most indicators meeting reference values..

Climate – Composite gauge for climate theme score in the Flower Garden Banks region is 88%, meaning it is ranked good with most indicators meeting reference values.

Human connections – Human connections theme was not scored for the Flower Garden Banks region  because the region is uninhabited.

Overall Ecosystem – Overall coral reef ecosystem score for the Flower Garden Banks region is 89%, meaning it is ranked good with most indicators meeting reference values.

 

Description of each theme is provided in the indicator information section below.

Gauge values

90–100% Very good: All or almost all indicators meet reference values.

80–89% Good: Most indicators meet reference values.

70–79% Fair: Some indicators meet reference values. 

60–69% Impaired: Few indicators meet reference values.

0–59% Critical: Very few or no indicators meet reference values.

 

Description of Gulf of Mexico – Flower Garden Banks

The East and West Flower Garden Banks are submerged topographic features off the shores of Texas and Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. Rising from over 150 m depth to 17 m below the sea surface, they harbor relatively deep coral reef ecosystems. They were first discovered in the early 1900s and designated as part of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in 1992. Flower Garden Banks combines data collected from both East and West Flower Garden Banks into a single score. The total coral reef hardbottom habitat less than 30 m in depth that was monitored for Flower Garden Banks is 0.898 square kilometers.

 

Description of Coral Reefs:

Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth. Though they cover less than one percent of the Earth’s surface, they are estimated to provide ecosystem services (economic and environmental services) worth hundreds of billions of dollars each year. Healthy reefs protect islands and coasts from storm surge, contribute to local economies through tourism (i.e., sportfishing, snorkeling, and diving), and contribute about one-quarter of the total fish catch, providing critical food resources for tens of millions of people particularly in developing island nations.

 

Data Source:

The coral reef ecosystem scores shown here were analyzed using data from the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP). The scores you see for each region are composite scores for all four themes (benthic, fish, climate, human connections) assessed separately and then one overall score. The overall score is an average of all four theme scores for a specific region’s coral reef ecosystem score. The sources for these values and geographical regions are obtained from the NCRMP’s Status Report Scoring Methodology for Pacific Jurisdictions and 2020 Status Report Scoring Methodology for Atlantic Jurisdictions. The definitions for the themes are as follows:

- Benthic (Corals & algae): Corals and algae make up the base of the coral reef ecosystem, providing food and shelter for fish and other marine animals.

- Fish: Coral reefs serve a vital ecological role for fish species. Fish are important to the ecology of the reef, the economy, and the livelihoods of local communities.

- Climate: Climate affects all components of a reef system. Climate change and ocean acidification influence reefs across the globe, but conditions vary at the regional and local level.

- Human Connections: Coral reef management agencies protect reef resources through management plans, public education, and involving communities in managing their resources.

Coral Reefs

Florida

Florida Corals

Data Interpretation:

The scores you see for each region are composite scores for the themes and then one overall score. The overall score is an average of all four theme scores for the Florida region’s coral reef ecosystem score. 

Benthic – Composite gauge for benthic theme score in the Florida region is 70%, meaning it is ranked fair with some indicators meeting reference values.

Fish – Composite gauge for fish theme score in the Florida region is 73%, meaning it is ranked fair with some indicators meeting reference values.

Climate – Composite gauge for climate theme score in the Florida region is 68%, meaning it is ranked impaired with very few indicators meeting reference values.

Human connections – Composite gauge for human connections theme score in the Florida region is 66%, meaning it is ranked impaired with very few indicators meeting reference values.

Overall Ecosystem – Overall coral reef ecosystem score for the Florida region is 69%, meaning it is ranked impaired with very few indicators meeting reference values.

 

Description of each theme is provided in the indicator information section below.

Gauge values

90–100% Very good: All or almost all indicators meet reference values.

80–89% Good: Most indicators meet reference values.

70–79% Fair: Some indicators meet reference values. 

60–69% Impaired: Few indicators meet reference values.

0–59% Critical: Very few or no indicators meet reference values.

 

Description of Florida coral reefs

Florida’s coral reef extends from Martin County on the Atlantic Coast of Florida through the Keys to the Dry Tortugas in the Gulf of Mexico. Florida’s coral reef is the only coral reef found along the coast of the continental United States. It was divided into three sub-regions to evaluate condition. The three regions are Southeast Florida, Florida Keys, and Dry Tortugas. The Dry Tortugas encompass a small group of islands approximately 67 miles west of Key West, Florida. Most of the Dry Tortugas lie within the National Park. The total coral reef hardbottom habitat less than 30 m in depth that was monitored is 1,190 sq km.

 

Description of Coral Reefs:

Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth. Though they cover less than one percent of the Earth’s surface, they are estimated to provide ecosystem services (economic and environmental services) worth hundreds of billions of dollars each year. Healthy reefs protect islands and coasts from storm surge, contribute to local economies through tourism (i.e., sportfishing, snorkeling, and diving), and contribute about one-quarter of the total fish catch, providing critical food resources for tens of millions of people particularly in developing island nations.

 

Data Source:

The coral reef ecosystem scores shown here were analyzed using data from the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program (NCRMP). The scores you see for each region are composite scores for all four themes (benthic, fish, climate, human connections) assessed separately and then one overall score. The overall score is an average of all four theme scores for a specific region’s coral reef ecosystem score. The sources for these values and geographical regions are obtained from the NCRMP’s Status Report Scoring Methodology for Pacific Jurisdictions and 2020 Status Report Scoring Methodology for Atlantic Jurisdictions. The definitions for the themes are as follows:

- Benthic (Corals & algae): Corals and algae make up the base of the coral reef ecosystem, providing food and shelter for fish and other marine animals.

- Fish: Coral reefs serve a vital ecological role for fish species. Fish are important to the ecology of the reef, the economy, and the livelihoods of local communities.

- Climate: Climate affects all components of a reef system. Climate change and ocean acidification influence reefs across the globe, but conditions vary at the regional and local level.

- Human Connections: Coral reef management agencies protect reef resources through management plans, public education, and involving communities in managing their resources.

Forage Fish

Menhaden biomass

graph of forage fish (menhaden) for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to estimated menhaden forage biomass in millions of tons

 

Description of time series: Between 2011 and 2015  the biomass of Menhaden forage fish showed a significant upward trend.

 

Description of gauge: The gauge value of 94 indicates that between 2011 and 2015 the biomass of Menhaden forage fish in the Gulf Of Mexico was much greater than the median value of all Menhaden forage fish biomass between 1980 and 2015

 

Gauge values

0 - 10: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is very low compared to the median value.

10 - 25: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is much lower than the median value.

25 - 50: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is lower than the median value.

50: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average equals the median value.

50 - 75: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is higher than the median value.

75 - 90: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is much higher than the median value.

90 - 100: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is very high compared to the median value.

 

Description of forage fish:

Forage fish or otherwise known as small pelagics are fish and invertebrates (like squids) that inhabit - the pelagic zone - the open ocean. The number and distribution of pelagic fish vary regionally, depending on multiple physical and ecological factors i.e. the availability of light, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, predation, abundance of phytoplankton and zooplankton, etc. Small pelagics are known to exhibit “boom and bust” cycles of abundance in response to these conditions. Examples include anchovies, sardines, shad, menhaden and the fish that feed on them.

 

Small pelagic species are often important to fisheries and serve as forage for commercially and recreationally important fish, as well as other ecosystem species (e.g. seabirds and marine mammals). They are a critical part of marine food webs and important to monitor because so many other organisms depend on them. We present the annual total biomass of small pelagics/forage fish in the Alaska, California Current, and Northeast regions, as well as selected taxa in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast regions.

 

Indicator information:

Forage fish or otherwise known as small pelagics are fish and invertebrates (like squids) that inhabit - the pelagic zone - the open ocean. Small pelagic species are often important to fisheries and serve as forage for commercially and recreationally important fish, as well as other ecosystem species (e.g. seabirds and marine mammals). The number and distribution of pelagic fish vary regionally, depending on multiple physical and ecological factors (i.e., the availability of light, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, predation, abundance of phytoplankton and zooplankton, etc.). Small pelagics are known to exhibit “boom and bust” cycles of abundance in response to these conditions. Examples include anchovies, sardines, shad, menhaden and the fish that feed on them.

This indicator, produced by the Gulf of Mexico Integrated Ecosystem Assessment team, is an index of menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) biomass derived from the stock assessment, serving as a potential indicator of the amount of forage available in the ecosystem. The species is thought to play a substantial role in ecosystem structure and function. Menhaden are assessed using an age-structured model, and stock biomass is reported for age-1 fish and above.

 

Data background and caveats:

Units, time series, and species vary by region for this indicator, so no national score is provided. Best practices and caveats vary by region:

This indicator represents an estimated abundance of a single species and has not been updated since 2015.

Seabirds

graph of seabirds for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Values indicate the relative seabird abundance in the Gulf of Mexico based on a Relative Abundance Index.

 

Description of time series:

Between 2000 and 2014 the relative abundance of seabirds showed no significant trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The Gauge value of 26 indicates that between 2010 and 2014 the relative abundance of seabirds in the Gulf of Mexico was much lower than the mean of all the relative abundance values between 1981 and 2018.

 

Overall Scores means the following:

  • 0 - 10: The five-year seabirds average is very low compared to the median value.
  • 10 - 25: The five-year seabirds average is much lower than the median value.
  • 25 - 50: The five-year seabirds average is lower than the median value.
  • 50: The five-year seabirds average equals the median value.
  • 50 - 75: The five-year seabirds average is higher than the median value.
  • 75 - 90: The five-year seabirds average is much higher than the median value.
  • 90 - 100: The five-year seabirds average is very high compared to the median value.

 

Description of seabirds:

Seabirds are a vital part of marine ecosystems and valuable indicators of an ecosystem’s status.  Seabirds are attracted to fishing vessels and frequently get hooked or entangled in fishing gear, especially longline fisheries. This is a common threat to seabirds. Depending on the geographic region, fishermen in the United States often interact with albatross, cormorants, gannet, loons, pelicans, puffins, gulls, storm-petrels, shearwaters, terns, and many other species. We track seabirds because of their importance to marine food webs, but also as an indication of efficient fishing practices.  We present estimates of seabird abundance in the Alaska, California Current, Gulf of Mexico and Northeast regions.

 

Indicator and Source Information:

To construct relative indices of abundance, the Gulf of Mexico Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Program used the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird database, an extensive, standardized compilation of volunteer and professional bird sighting observations (www.eBird.com). Relative indices of abundance for five species ); white ibis (Eudocimus albus), wood stork (Mycteria americana), and roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja), brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) and magnificent frigatebird (Fregata magnificens); were used to conduct a principal components analysis of the matrix of species abundances over time to find common linear trends among species. The unitless index is a representation of the overall rate change in abundances across the entire suite of species (2017 Ecosystem status report update for the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-706). 

 

Data Background and Caveats:

Ideally, abundance indices for true pelagic seabirds would be presented, as they would be more representative of the state of the pelagic ecosystem and the quality of the larger-scale forage base in the GoM (2017 Ecosystem status report update for the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-706).

 

 

 

Overfished Stocks

Graph of number of overfished stocks in the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

The x-axis represents years. The y-axis represents the number of fish stocks or fish populations that are deemed by NOAA as overfished. Overfished means the population of fish is too low. Therefore the population can not support a large amount of fishing.

 

Description of time series:

The series shows the number of fish populations that have qualified as overfished since 2000. Between 2016 and 2020 the number of overfished stocks shows no trend.

 

Description of gauge:

Gauge analysis was not appropriate for these data.

 

Overall Scores mean the following:

High values for overfished stocks are bad, low numbers are good.

  • 0 - 10: The five-year overfished stock status average is very low compared to the median value.
  • 10 - 25: The five-year overfished stock status average is much lower than the median value.
  • 25 - 50: The five-year overfished stock status average is lower than the median value.
  • 50: The five-year overfished stock status average equals the median value.
  • 50 - 75: The five-year overfished stock status average is higher than the median value.
  • 75 - 90: The five-year overfished stock status average is much higher than the median value.
  • 90 - 100: The five-year overfished stock status average is very high compared to the median value.

 

Description of Overfished Stocks:

An overfished stock is a population of fish that is too low. From a technical standpoint, a stock that is overfished is depleted below a minimum level and active rebuilding is required. Stocks that are overfished cannot support a large amount of fishing. A fish stock can be listed as overfished as the result of many factors including overfishing, habitat degradation, pollution, climate change, and disease. The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires the status of overfished stocks be reported annually.

 

Stock assessments provide information to determine if a stock is overfished or experiencing overfishing (harvest higher than a maximum fishing threshold). This is done by estimating fishing intensity and the abundance of fish stocks and comparing those estimates to management reference points. Stock assessments can provide the science that supports the steps necessary to rebuild overfished stocks to sustainable levels.

 

It is important to track the status of fish stocks because fish play an important role in marine ecosystems, such as supporting the ecological structure of many marine food webs. Fish also support significant parts of coastal economies including recreational and commercial fisheries, and play an important cultural role in many regions.  

 

This site presents the number of overfished stocks by year in all US Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs).

 

Data Source:

Data were obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Fishery Stock Status website. Stocks that met the criteria for overfished status were summed by year for each region.

Threatened/Endangered Marine Mammals

Endangered Species Act threatened/endangered species for the Southeast and Gulf of Mexico

graph of ESA threatened or endangered mammal species from the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Values Correspond to the Number of ESA Threatened or Endangered Species in a given region

 

Data Interpretation

Gauge and Trend Analyses were not appropriate for marine mammal data.

 

Data Background and Caveats

NOAA Fisheries goes through required regulatory steps to list, reclassify, or delist a species under the ESA. For more information, see a step-by-step description of the ESA listing process. The listing process requires time and resources; as a result, the timing and number of listed marine species is not necessarily indicative of the actual number of currently endangered or threatened species and the exact timing of when these species became eligible to be listed under the ESA. Many marine species were initially listed when the ESA was passed in 1973; others have taken more time to be listed, and some have been reclassified or delisted since then.

 

Description of Threatened and Endangered Marine Mammals (ESA):

NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the protection, conservation, and recovery of endangered and threatened marine and anadromous species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA aims to conserve these species and the ecosystems they depend on. Under the ESA, a species is considered endangered if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, or threatened if it is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range See a species directory of all the threatened and endangered marine species under NOAA Fisheries jurisdiction, including marine mammals. 

Under the ESA, a species must be listed if it is threatened or endangered because of any of the following 5 factors:

1) Present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;

2) Over-utilization of the species for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;

3) Disease or predation;

4) Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and

5) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

The ESA requires that listing determinations be based solely on the best scientific and commercial information available; economic impacts are not considered in making species listing determinations and are prohibited under the ESA. There are two ways by which a species may come to be listed (or delisted) under the ESA:

- NOAA Fisheries receives a petition from a person or organization requesting that NOAA lists a species as threatened or endangered, reclassify a species, or delist a species.

- NOAA Fisheries voluntarily chooses to examine the status of a species by initiating a status review of a species.

Strategic/Depleted Marine Mammal Stocks

Marine Mammal Protection Act strategic/depleted stocks for the Southeast and Gulf of Mexico

graph of MMPA strategic/depleted marine mammal stocks for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to the number of MMPA Strategic or Depleted Marine Mammal Species listed each year in each region

 

Data Interpretation

Gauge and Trend Analyses were not appropriate for marine mammal data.

 

Data Background and Caveats

NOAA Fisheries prepares marine mammal stock assessment reports to track the status of marine mammal stocks. Some marine mammal stocks are thriving, while others are declining, and we often don’t know all the reasons behind a species or stock’s population trend. Because of this variability, it is difficult to indicate the state of an ecosystem or specific region using stock assessment data for marine mammal species that often range across multiple ecosystems and regions.

 

Description of Marine Mammal Strategic and Depleted Stocks (MMPA):

A stock is defined by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as a group of marine mammals of the same species or smaller taxa in a common spatial arrangement, that interbreed when mature. See a list of the marine mammal stocks NOAA protects under the MMPA.

 

A strategic stock is defined by the MMPA as a marine mammal stock—

- For which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds the potential biological removal level or PBR (defined by the MMPA as the maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population); 

- Which, based on the best available scientific information, is declining and is likely to be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) within the foreseeable future; or 

- Which is listed as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA, or is designated as depleted under the MMPA. 

 

A depleted stock is defined by the MMPA as any case in which—

- The Secretary of Commerce, after consultation with the Marine Mammal Commission and the Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals established under MMPA title II, determines that a species or population stock is below its optimum sustainable population; 

- A State, to which authority for the conservation and management of a species or population stock is transferred under section 109, determines that such species or stock is below its optimum sustainable population; or 

- A species or population stock is listed as an endangered species or a threatened species under the ESA. 

Marine Species Distribution - Latitude

GoM MSD Latitude

Values indicate annual cumulative change in centroid across all species in a region in degrees N

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2015 and 2019 the average species latitudinal shift shows a decreasing trend, indicating a southward shift in distributions.

 

Description of Gauge: The gauge value of 45 indicates that between 2015 and 2019 the average species latitudinal shift was lower than the median average latitudinal shift between 2008 and 2019.

 

Gauge Values

  • 0 - 10: The five-year latitudinal shift is very low compared to the median value.
  • 10 - 25: The five-year latitudinal shift is much lower than the median value.
  • 25 - 50: The five-year latitudinal shift is lower than the median value.
  • 50: The five-year latitudinal shift average equals the median value.
  • 50 - 75: The five-year latitudinal shift is higher than the median value.
  • 75 - 90: The five-year latitudinal shift is much higher than the median value.
  • 90 - 100: The five-year latitudinal shift is very high compared to the median value

 

Description of Marine Species Distribution (Latitude and Depth):

The geographic location where a species is found, known as that species’ “distribution”, is a fundamental piece of information. Some species naturally move from location to location throughout the year, following seasons, food, or other factors. However, as climate change causes ocean waters to warm, populations of many species are moving towards the poles (northward in the northern hemisphere) or deeper towards cooler waters, allowing them to track their preferred temperature. Changes in a species distribution are not always due to individual animals following a preferred temperature, but could also be due to reduced survival of individuals in the warming areas. Understanding where and how fast marine species are moving is important to coastal communities as these changing distributions can affect the species available for fishing, recreation, and cultural practices. Marine species distributions are also good indicators of a warming ocean as they largely follow the species’ preferred temperature, can react quickly to ocean changes, and have been measured for many years, allowing us to see changes over time.  

 

Indicator Source Information:

This data provides important information for fisheries management including which species are caught where and at what depth. The scientists at Ocean Adapt use this data to calculate each species’ centroid as the mean latitude and depth of catch in the survey, weighted by biomass. The centroid for each species is calculated for each year after standardizing the data to ensure that the measure is consistent over time despite changes in survey techniques and total area surveyed. 

 

Data Background and Caveats:

The regional and national marine species distributions shown here represent the average shift in the centroid of species caught in surveys conducted in each region. These species represent a wide range of habitats and species types. As species distributions respond to many environmental and biological factors, combining data from multiple diverse species allows for a more complete picture of the general trends in marine species distribution. In order to more easily track and display changes in these distributions, the first year is standardized to zero. Thus, the indicator represents relative change in distribution from the first survey year.

Marine Species Distribution - Depth

GoM MSD Depth

Values Indicate annual cumulative change in average species centroid depth in meters - for example, a value of -5 indicates a decrease in average depth by 5m.

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2015 and 2019 the average species water column depth shift shows no significant trend.

 

Description of Gauge: The gauge value of 36 indicates that between 2015 and 2019 the average species water column depth shift was higher than the median average water column depth shift between 2008 and 2019 with species moving deeper.

 

Gauge Values

  • 0 - 10: The five-year water column depth shift is very high compared to the median value with species moving deeper.
  • 10 - 25: The five-year water column depth shift is much higher than the median value with species moving deeper.
  • 25 - 50: The five-year water column depth shift is higher than the median value with species moving deeper.
  • 50: The five-year water column depth shift average equals the median value.
  • 50 - 75: The five-year water column depth shift is higher than the median value with species moving towards the surface.
  • 75 - 90: The five-year water column depth shift is much higher than the median value with species moving towards the surface.
  • 90 - 100: The five-year water column depth shift is very high compared to the median value with species moving towards the surface.

 

Description of Marine Species Distribution (Latitude and Depth):

The geographic location where a species is found, known as that species’ “distribution”, is a fundamental piece of information. Some species naturally move from location to location throughout the year, following seasons, food, or other factors. However, as climate change causes ocean waters to warm, populations of many species are moving towards the poles (northward in the northern hemisphere) or deeper towards cooler waters, allowing them to track their preferred temperature. Changes in a species distribution are not always due to individual animals following a preferred temperature, but could also be due to reduced survival of individuals in the warming areas. Understanding where and how fast marine species are moving is important to coastal communities as these changing distributions can affect the species available for fishing, recreation, and cultural practices. Marine species distributions are also good indicators of a warming ocean as they largely follow the species’ preferred temperature, can react quickly to ocean changes, and have been measured for many years, allowing us to see changes over time.  

 

Indicator Source Information:

This data provides important information for fisheries management including which species are caught where and at what depth. The scientists at Ocean Adapt use this data to calculate each species’ centroid as the mean latitude and depth of catch in the survey, weighted by biomass. The centroid for each species is calculated for each year after standardizing the data to ensure that the measure is consistent over time despite changes in survey techniques and total area surveyed. 

 

Data Background and Caveats:

The regional and national marine species distributions shown here represent the average centroid of all species caught in every year of the surveys. These species represent a wide range of habitats and species types. As species distributions respond to many environmental and biological factors, combining data from multiple diverse species allows for a more complete picture of the general trends in marine species distribution. In order to more easily track and display changes in these distributions, the first year is standardized to zero. Thus, the indicator represents relative change in distribution from the first survey year.

Coastal Population

graph of coastal population for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to the total coastal population for a given region

 

Description of time series:

The 2014 – 2018 average coastal population along the Gulf of Mexico was substantially above historic levels, although the recent trend is not different from historical trends.      

 

Description of gauge:

The 2014 – 2018 average coastal population along the Gulf of Mexico was greater than 94% of all population levels between 1970 to 2018, again highlighting the substantial growth in the coastal population of this region.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal population over the last 5 years of data was below any annual population level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual population level up until that point.

 

Description of Coastal Population:

While marine ecosystems are important for people all across the country, they are essential for  people living in coastal communities. The population density of coastal counties is over six times greater than inland counties. In the U.S. coastal counties make up less than 10 percent of the total land area (not including Alaska), but account for 39 percent of the total population. From 1970 to 2010, the population of these counties increased by almost 40% and are projected to increase by over 10 million people or 8+% into the 2020s. 

The population density of an area is an important factor for economic planning, emergency preparedness, understanding environmental impacts, resource demand, and many other reasons. Thus, this indicator is important to track. We present the number of residents within all regions.

 

Indicator Source Information:

The American Community Survey (ACS) helps local officials, community leaders, and businesses understand the changes taking place in their communities. It is the premier source for detailed population and housing information about our nation. The 2020 ACS Data Update will be publicly available no later than November 30, 2021.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

The values represented here are coastal county population estimates for states bordering US Large Marine Ecosystems as calculated by the US Census Bureau from the American Community Survey.

Coastal Tourism GDP

graph of coastal GDP for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to percent change in the GDP of the Tourism Sector of Coastal Counties in US States that border a region

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county tourism GDP showed no significant trend.

 

Description of Gauge: The gauge value of 54 indicates that between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county tourism sector GDP was higher than the median change in coastal county tourism sector GDP between 2006 and 2018

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal tourism GDP over the last 5 years of data was below any annual coastal tourism GDP level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual coastal tourism GDP value up until that point.

 

Description of Coastal Tourism:

U.S. coasts are host to a multitude of travel, tourism, and recreation activities. To manage our coasts, plan for development, and assess impacts as a result of coastal hazards including sea level rise, it is important to have baseline economic information. To accomplish this, we need indicators of the economic value of recreation and tourism. We present the annual total change in billions of dollars of goods and services (GDP), employment and annual wages provided from tourism industries in the Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Hawaii-Pacific Islands, Southeast, and California Current regions. This data does not include industries located in U.S. territories. 

 

Indicator Source Information

Coastal tourism Gross Domestic Product is the total measure (in billions of 2012 dollars) of goods and services provided from various industries involved in tourism services and products along the coast. Data for Coastal Counties come from the US Census Bureau. This dataset represents US counties and independent cities which have at least one coastal border and select non-coastal counties and independent cities based on proximity to estuaries and other coastal counties. The dataset is built to support coastal and ocean planning and other activities pursuant to the Energy Policy Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Rivers and Harbors Act and the Submerged Lands Act.

Coastal Tourism Employment

GoM Tour Emp

Values correspond to percent change in the total Employment of the Tourism Sector of Coastal Counties in US States that border a region

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county employment showed a decreasing trend.

Description of Gauge: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county tourism sector employment was lower than the median change in coastal county tourism sector employment between 2006 and 2018.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal tourism employment over the last 5 years of data was below any annual coastal tourism employment level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual coastal tourism employment level up until that point.

 

Description of Coastal Tourism:

U.S. coasts are host to a multitude of travel, tourism, and recreation activities. To manage our coasts, plan for development, and assess impacts as a result of coastal hazards including sea level rise, it is important to have baseline economic information. To accomplish this, we need indicators of the economic value of recreation and tourism. We present the annual total change in billions of dollars of goods and services (GDP), employment and annual wages provided from tourism industries in the Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Hawaii-Pacific Islands, Southeast, and California Current regions. This data does not include industries located in U.S. territories. 

 

Indicator Source Information:

Coastal tourism employment is the total measure of jobs in tourism industries along the coast.  Data for Coastal Counties come from the US Census Bureau. This dataset represents US counties and independent cities which have at least one coastal border and select non-coastal counties and independent cities based on proximity to estuaries and other coastal counties. The dataset is built to support coastal and ocean planning and other activities pursuant to the Energy Policy Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Rivers and Harbors Act and the Submerged Lands Act.

Coastal Tourism Wages

Gom Tour Wage

Values correspond to percent change in the total real wage compensation of the Tourism Sector of Coastal Counties in US States that border a region

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county real wage compensation showed a decreasing trend.

Description of Gauge: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county tourism sector real wage compensation was much higher than the median change in coastal county tourism sector real wage compensation between 2006 and 2018.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal tourism wage compensation over the last 5 years of data was below any annual coastal tourism wage compensation level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual coastal tourism wage compensation level up until that point.

 

Description of Coastal Tourism:

U.S. coasts are host to a multitude of travel, tourism, and recreation activities. To manage our coasts, plan for development, and assess impacts as a result of coastal hazards including sea level rise, it is important to have baseline economic information. To accomplish this, we need indicators of the economic value of recreation and tourism. We present the annual total change in billions of dollars of goods and services (GDP), employment and annual wages provided from tourism industries in the Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Hawaii-Pacific Islands, Southeast, and California Current regions. This data does not include industries located in U.S. territories. 

 

Indicator Source Information:

Coastal tourism wage is the measure of wages (nominal) paid to employees in tourism industries along the coast. Data for Coastal Counties come from the US Census Bureau. This dataset represents US counties and independent cities which have at least one coastal border and select non-coastal counties and independent cities based on proximity to estuaries and other coastal counties. The dataset is built to support coastal and ocean planning and other activities pursuant to the Energy Policy Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Rivers and Harbors Act and the Submerged Lands Act.

Coastal Employment

graph of coastal employment for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to total employment in all industries in a given region

 

Description of time series:

Average coastal employment along the Gulf of Mexico between 2014 and 2018 was substantially above historical levels, although no trend is apparent over that same period.  

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 90 indicates that coastal employment between 2014 and 2018 for the Gulf of Mexico was higher than 90% of all years between 1990 and 2018.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal employment level over the last 5 years of data was below any annual employment level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual employment level up until that point.

 

Description of coastal employment:

The total coastal employment is the number of jobs in coastal communities. Businesses in coastal counties employ tens of millions of people nationally. This includes hundreds of thousands of ocean-dependent businesses that pay over $100 billion in wages annually. Many coastal and ocean amenities attracting visitors are free, generating no direct employment, wages, or gross domestic product. However, these “nonmarket” features are key drivers for many coastal businesses. We present data for all regions.

 

Data Source:

Coastal employment numbers were downloaded from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ quarterly census of employment and wages, filtered to present only coastal county values using the Census Bureau’s list of coastal counties within each state. Of note is that these data fail to include self-employed individuals. Coastal county employment numbers were then summed within each region for reporting purposes.

 

 

 

Commercial Fishery Landings

graph of commercial fishery landings for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to landings in millions of metric tons

 

Description of time series:

Between 2015 and 2019, commercial landings from the Gulf of Mexico were similar to historic levels, and there is no recent trend apparent.  

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 47 indicates that the mean annual commercial landings between 2015 and 2019 for the Gulf of Mexico was higher than 47% of all years between 1950 and 2019

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average revenue or landings over the last 5 years of data was below any annual value up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average value over that same period was above any annual value up until that point.

 

Description of Commercial Fishing (Landings and Revenue):

Commercial landings are the weight of, or revenue from, fish that are caught, brought to shore, processed, and sold for profit. It does not include sport or subsistence (to feed themselves) fishermen or for-hire sector, which earns its revenue from selling recreational fishing trips to saltwater anglers. 

Commercial landings make up a major part of coastal economies. U.S. commercial fisheries are among the world’s largest and most sustainable; producing seafood, fish meal, vitamin supplements, and a host of other products for both domestic and international consumers. 

The weight (tonnage), and revenue from the sale of commercial landings provides data on the ability of marine ecosystems to continue to supply these important products. 

 

Indicator Source Information:

Landings are reported in pounds of round (live) weight for all species or groups except univalve and bivalve mollusks, such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops, which are reported as pounds of meats (excludes shell weight). Landings data may sometimes differ from state-reported landings due to our reporting of mollusks in meat weights rather than gallons, shell weight, or bushels. Also, NMFS includes some species such as kelp and oysters that are sometimes reported by state agricultural agencies and may not be included with state fishery agency landings data.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

All landings summaries will return only non confidential landing statistics. Federal statutes prohibit public disclosure of landings (or other information) that would allow identification of the data contributors and possibly put them at a competitive disadvantage. Most summarized landings are non confidential, but whenever confidential landings occur they have been combined with other landings and usually reported as "Withheld for Confidentiality" Total landings by state include confidential data and will be accurate, but landings reported by individual species may, in some instances, be misleading due to data confidentiality.

Landings data do not indicate the physical location of harvest but the location at which the landings either first crossed the dock or were reported from.

Many fishery products are gutted or otherwise processed while at sea and are landed in a product type other than round (whole) weight. Our data partners have standard conversion factors for the majority of the commonly caught species that convert their landing weights from any product type to whole weight. It is the whole weight that is displayed in our web site landing statistics. Caution should be exercised when using these statistics. An example of a potential problem is when landings statistics are used to monitor fishery quotas. In some situations, specific conversion factors may have been designated in fishery management plans or Federal rule making that differ from those historically used by NOAA Fisheries in reporting landings statistics.

The dollar value of the landings are ex-vessel (as paid to the fisherman at time of first sale) and are reported as nominal (current at the time of reporting) values. Users can use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Producer Price Index (PPI) to convert these nominal landing values into real (deflated) values.

Landings do not include aquaculture products except for clams, mussels and oysters.

Pacific landings summarized by state include an artificial “state” designation of “At-Sea Process, Pac.” This designation was assigned to landings consisting of primarily whiting caught in the EEZ off Washington and Oregon that were processed aboard large vessels while at sea. No Pacific state lists these fish on their trip tickets which are used to report state fishery landing, hence the at-sea processor designation was used to insure that they would be listed as a U.S. landing.

Landing summaries are compiled from data bases that overlap in time and geographic coverage, and come from both within and outside of NOAA Fisheries.

 

Commercial Fishing Revenue

graph of commercial fishing revenue for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to real revenue is 2020 US Dollars

 

Description of time series:

Between 2015 and 2019, average annual commercial revenue from the Gulf of Mexico was not different from historical patterns, and there is no trend in values.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 34 indicates that the mean annual commercial revenue between 2015 and 2019 for the Gulf of Mexico was higher than 34% of all years between 1950 and 2019

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average revenue or landings over the last 5 years of data was below any annual value up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average value over that same period was above any annual value up until that point.

 

Description of Commercial Fishing (Landings and Revenue):

Commercial landings are the weight of, or revenue from, fish that are caught, brought to shore, processed, and sold for profit. It does not include sport or subsistence (to feed themselves) fishermen or for-hire sector, which earns its revenue from selling recreational fishing trips to saltwater anglers. 

Commercial landings make up a major part of coastal economies. U.S. commercial fisheries are among the world’s largest and most sustainable; producing seafood, fish meal, vitamin supplements, and a host of other products for both domestic and international consumers. 

The weight (tonnage), and revenue from the sale of commercial landings provides data on the ability of marine ecosystems to continue to supply these important products. 

 

Indicator Source Information:

Landings are reported in pounds of round (live) weight for all species or groups except univalve and bivalve mollusks, such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops, which are reported as pounds of meats (excludes shell weight). Landings data may sometimes differ from state-reported landings due to our reporting of mollusks in meat weights rather than gallons, shell weight, or bushels. Also, NMFS includes some species such as kelp and oysters that are sometimes reported by state agricultural agencies and may not be included with state fishery agency landings data.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

All landings summaries will return only non confidential landing statistics. Federal statutes prohibit public disclosure of landings (or other information) that would allow identification of the data contributors and possibly put them at a competitive disadvantage. Most summarized landings are non confidential, but whenever confidential landings occur they have been combined with other landings and usually reported as "Withheld for Confidentiality" Total landings by state include confidential data and will be accurate, but landings reported by individual species may, in some instances, be misleading due to data confidentiality.

Landings data do not indicate the physical location of harvest but the location at which the landings either first crossed the dock or were reported from.

Many fishery products are gutted or otherwise processed while at sea and are landed in a product type other than round (whole) weight. Our data partners have standard conversion factors for the majority of the commonly caught species that convert their landing weights from any product type to whole weight. It is the whole weight that is displayed in our web site landing statistics. Caution should be exercised when using these statistics. An example of a potential problem is when landings statistics are used to monitor fishery quotas. In some situations, specific conversion factors may have been designated in fishery management plans or Federal rule making that differ from those historically used by NOAA Fisheries in reporting landings statistics.

The dollar value of the landings are ex-vessel (as paid to the fisherman at time of first sale) and are reported as nominal (current at the time of reporting) values. Users can use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Producer Price Index (PPI) to convert these nominal landing values into real (deflated) values.

Landings do not include aquaculture products except for clams, mussels and oysters.

Pacific landings summarized by state include an artificial “state” designation of “At-Sea Process, Pac.” This designation was assigned to landings consisting of primarily whiting caught in the EEZ off Washington and Oregon that were processed aboard large vessels while at sea. No Pacific state lists these fish on their trip tickets which are used to report state fishery landing, hence the at-sea processor designation was used to insure that they would be listed as a U.S. landing.

Landing summaries are compiled from data bases that overlap in time and geographic coverage, and come from both within and outside of NOAA Fisheries. 

Recreational Fishing Effort

graph of recreational fishing effort for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to cumulative number of angler trips

 

Description of time series:

Between 2016 and 2020, recreational fishing effort in the Gulf of Mexico is around historic levels. There is no trend apparent. 

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 56 indicates that the recreational fishing effort between 2016 and 2020 for the Gulf of Mexico was higher than 56% of the recreational fishing effort values between 1982 and 2020

 

 Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average effort or harvest over the last 5 years of data was below any annual value up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average value over that same period was above any annual value up until that point.

 

Description of Recreational Fishing (Effort and Harvest):

U.S. saltwater recreational fishing is an important source of seafood, jobs, and recreation for millions of anglers and for-hire recreational businesses. Recreational fishing effort is measured as “Angler Trips”, which is the number of recreational fishing trips people go on. Recreational fishing harvest is the number of fish caught and brought to shore on recreational fishing trips. 

Recreational effort and harvest help us understand how recreational opportunities and seafood derived from our marine environment is changing over time. Fisheries managers use this data to set annual catch limits and fishing regulations, including season lengths, size, and daily catch limits. We present the total number of fish harvested and angler trips annually for all marine fish in all regions. 

 

Indicator Source Information

Recreational harvest and effort data pulled from National Summary Query. Units of data are in Effort in Angler Trips and Harvest in numbers of fish. The data from these queries is used by state, regional and federal fisheries scientists and managers to maintain healthy and sustainable fish stocks.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

To properly interpret this information, it is important to consider the following key points:

  • When comparing harvest estimates across an extended time series, note differences in sampling coverage through the years. Some estimates may not be comparable over long time series.
  • Changes may occur between preliminary and final estimates and year to year, meaning that the data may change when updated. Please review the Limitations and other sections on the Using the Data page from the source for more information.

 

Recreational Fishing Harvest

graph of recreational fishing effort for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to harvest in millions of fish

 

Description of time series:

Between 2016 and 2020, recreational harvest from the Gulf of Mexico are around historic levels. There is a significant downward trend apparent. 

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 38 indicates that the recreational fishing harvest between 2016 and 2020 for the Gulf of Mexico was higher than 38% of the recreational fishing harvest values between 1982 and 2020

 

 Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average effort or harvest over the last 5 years of data was below any annual value up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average value over that same period was above any annual value up until that point.

 

Description of Recreational Fishing (Effort and Harvest):

U.S. saltwater recreational fishing is an important source of seafood, jobs, and recreation for millions of anglers and for-hire recreational businesses. Recreational fishing effort is measured as “Angler Trips”, which is the number of recreational fishing trips people go on. Recreational fishing harvest is the number of fish caught and brought to shore on recreational fishing trips. 

Recreational effort and harvest help us understand how recreational opportunities and seafood derived from our marine environment is changing over time. Fisheries managers use this data to set annual catch limits and fishing regulations, including season lengths, size, and daily catch limits. We present the total number of fish harvested and angler trips annually for all marine fish in all regions. 

 

Indicator Source Information

Recreational harvest and effort data pulled from National Summary Query. Units of data are in Effort in Angler Trips and Harvest in numbers of fish. The data from these queries is used by state, regional and federal fisheries scientists and managers to maintain healthy and sustainable fish stocks.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

To properly interpret this information, it is important to consider the following key points:

  • When comparing catch estimates across an extended time series, note differences in sampling coverage through the years. Some estimates may not be comparable over long time series.
  • Changes may occur between preliminary and final estimates and year to year, meaning that the data may change when updated. Please review the Limitations and other sections on the Using the Data page from the source for more information.

 

 

 

Commercial Fishing Engagement

Graph of commercial fishing engagement index in the Gulf of Mexico region from 2009-2016

The x-axis on this time series represents years and the y-axis represents the percent of communities that are moderate to highly engaged in commercial fishing across the Gulf of Mexico. Commercial fishing engagement is measured by the number permits, fish dealers, and vessel landings across coastal communities in the Gulf of Mexico. 

 

Description of time series:

This time series shows the percent of communities moderately or highly engaged in commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico from 2009 to 2018. Between 2013 and 2018 the percent of communities moderately or highly engaged in commercial fishing showed no trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 30 indicates that the mean annual commercial fishing engagement between 2013 and 2018 for Gulf of Mexico communities was higher than 30% of all years in the time series.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average percentage of communities engaged in commercial or recreational fishing over the last 5 years of data was below any annual engagement level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any engagement level up until that point.

 

Description of Fishing Engagement:

Recreational and commercial fishing engagement is measured by the presence of fishing activity in coastal communities. The commercial engagement index is measured through permits, fish dealers, and vessel landings.  The data for recreational engagement indicators varies by state. A high rank within these indicates more engagement in fisheries. For details on both data sources and indicator development, please see https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/socioeconomics/social-indicators-fishing-communities-0.

 

NOAA Monitors recreational and commercial fishing engagement to better understand the social and economic impacts of fishing policies and regulations on our nation’s vital fishing communities. This and other social indicators help assess a coastal community’s resilience. NOAA works with state and local partners to monitor these indicators. We present data from the Northeast, Southeast, Gulf of Mexico, California Current, Alaska, and Pacific Island regions.

 

Data Source:

Commercial fishing engagement data is from the National Marine Fisheries Service’s social indicator data portal:https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/data-and-tools/social-indicators/ The percentage of all communities in each region classified as medium, medium high, or highly engaged is presented for both recreational and commercial fishing.

 

Recreational Fishing Engagement

Graph of recreational fishing engagement index in the Gulf of Mexico region from 2009-2016

The x-axis on this time series represents years and the y-axis represents the percent of communities that are moderately to highly engaged in recreational fishing across the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Description of time series:

This time series shows the percent of communities moderately to highly engaged in recreational fishing in the Gulf of Mexico from 2009 to 2018. Between 2013 and 2018 (highlighted in green) the percent of communities moderately or highly engaged in recreational fishing showed no significant trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 20 indicates that the average annual recreational fishing engagement between 2013 and 2018 for the Gulf of Mexico was only higher than 20% of all years between 2009 and 2018

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average percentage of communities engaged in commercial or recreational fishing over the last 5 years of data was below any annual engagement level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any engagement level up until that point.

 

Description of Fishing Engagement:

Recreational and commercial fishing engagement is measured by the presence of fishing activity in coastal communities. The commercial engagement index is measured through permits, fish dealers, and vessel landings.  The data for recreational engagement indicators varies by state. A high rank within these indicates more engagement in fisheries. For details on both data sources and indicator development, please see https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/socioeconomics/social-indicators-fishing-communities-0.

 

NOAA Monitors recreational and commercial fishing engagement to better understand the social and economic impacts of fishing policies and regulations on our nation’s vital fishing communities. This and other social indicators help assess a coastal community’s resilience. NOAA works with state and local partners to monitor these indicators. We present data from the Northeast, Southeast, Gulf of Mexico, California Current, Alaska, and Pacific Island regions.

 

Indicator Source Information:

The Gulf of Mexico recreational engagement index is measured using shore, private vessel and for-hire vessel fishing activity estimates for western Florida to Mississippi. The index for Louisiana and Texas is measured using estimates for boat ramps, fishing piers, recreational vessels by homeport and recreational vessels by owner address.

 

Data Source:

Commercial fishing engagement data is from the National Marine Fisheries Service’s social indicator data portal:https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/data-and-tools/social-indicators/ The percentage of all communities in each region classified as medium, medium high, or highly engaged is presented for both recreational and commercial fishing

 

 

Beach Closures

Beach Closures

Beach closures are the number of days when beach water quality is determined to be unsafe.

 

Data Interpretation:

Time series: This time series shows the average number of beach closure days in the Gulf of Mexico region from 2000 to 2020. During the last five years there has been a significant upward trend while values have remained within the 10th and 90th percentiles of all observed data in the time series.

Gauge: The gauge value of 86 indicates that between 2016 and 2020 the average number of beach closure days in the Gulf of Mexico region was much higher than the median value of beach closure days between 2000 and 2020 which was 326.

 

Description of beach closures:

The beach closure indicator is the number of days a beach is closed, because the water and/or air quality is determined to be unsafe. Unsafe water and air quality may have significant impacts on human health, local economies, and ecosystems. 

 

Indicator and source information:

Unsafe water quality may have significant impacts on human health, local economies, and the ecosystem. Beach water quality is determined by the concentration of bacteria in the water (either Enterococcus sp. or Escherichia coli). 

 

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports coastal states, counties and tribes in monitoring beach water quality, and notifying the public when beaches must be closed. The information presented is from states, counties, and tribes that submit data to the EPA Beach Program reporting database (BEACON). Data obtained from the EPA BEACON website have been provided to EPA by the coastal and Great Lakes states, tribes and territories that receive grants under the BEACH Act. Data were refined to closure, by state or territory, by year.

 

Data background and limitations:

Data compiled by states or territories are combined in regions defined as US Large Marine Ecosystems (LME). Changes in the number of beach closure days may be driven by changes in the number of beaches monitored under the BEACH Act versus by state and local municipalities and not by changes in water and/or air quality. Not all US beach closures are captured in this database, because not all beaches in a state or territory are monitored through the EPA BEACH Act. Data that were not identified to a water body or identified as inland water were not included. Data for beaches monitored by state and local municipalities are not included. 

Billion-Dollar Disasters

graph of billion-dollar storm events for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to the number of events in a given year

 

Interpretation of Time Series

The number of billion dollar disasters along the Gulf of Mexico is variable over time.  The number of disasters over the past 5 years is substantially higher than historical levels of events and the recent trend is substantially higher from historical trends in the number of events.

 

Interpretation of Gauge

The gauge value of 95 indicates that the number of billion dollar disasters between 2016 and 2020 for the Gulf of Mexico was higher than 95% of all years between 1980 and 2020.

 

Extreme Gauge values

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average number of disasters over the last 5 years of data was below any annual level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual number of disasters up until that point. 

 

Description of billion dollar disasters:

In the United States, the number of weather and climate-related disasters exceeding 1 billion dollars has been increasing since 1980. These events have significant impacts to coastal economies and communities. The Billion Dollar Disaster indicator provides information on the frequency and the total estimated costs of major weather and climate events that occur in the United States. This indicator compiles the annual number of weather and climate-related disasters across seven event types. We Present the total annual number of disaster events for all regions.

 

Indicator Source Information:

Billion dollar disaster event frequency data are taken from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The number of disasters within each region were summed for every year of available data. Although the number is the count of unique disaster events within a region, the same disaster can impact multiple regions, meaning a sum across regions will overestimate the unique number of disasters.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

Events are included if they are estimated to cause more than one billion U.S. dollars in direct losses. The cost estimates of these events are adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and are based on costs documented in several Federal and private-sector databases.

Resources

Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Status Report

With the aim of supporting Ecosystem-Based Management, the Gulf of Mexico NOAA Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Program seeks to provide scientific knowledge of the Gulf of Mexico integrated ecosystem, and transfer that knowledge to scientists and managers. A suite of indicators was developed to represent key components of the GoM, and are presented in this website and report. 

The NOAA Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Logo

Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas

Launched in 2011, the Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas provides more than just maps. Links to data download sites provide easy access to each map's source data. Descriptions of the datasets accompany the maps and explains why the data are important to Gulf of Mexico coastal and marine ecosystems. Metadata records provide the complete details about how the data were collected. WMS and REST services allow for easy import of the map layers into desktop and web-based clients.

The NOAA Logo

Flower Gardens Banks National Marine Sanctuary Condition Report

This "condition report" provides a summary of marine resources in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, pressures on those resources, current condition and trends, and management responses to the pressures that threaten the integrity of the marine environment. 

The National Marine Sanctuary System Logo

NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation
Program is investing approximately $4.5 million of its annual operating budget to support a
National Coral Reef Monitoring Plan (NCRMP) for biological, physical, and socioeconomic
monitoring throughout the U.S. Pacific, Atlantic, and Caribbean coral reef areas.

The NOAA CRCP Logo

Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS)

The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) is a 501(c)3 organization responsible for developing a network of business leaders, marine scientists, resource managers, governmental and non-governmental organizations and other stakeholder groups that combine their data to provide timely information about our oceans — similar to the information gathered by the National Weather Service to develop weather forecasts.

The GCOOS Logo

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Condition Report

This "condition report" provides a summary of resources in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (sanctuary), pressures on those resources, current conditions and trends, and management responses to the pressures that threaten the integrity of the marine environment.

The National Marine Sanctuary System Logo

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Ecosystem Status Report

This Ecosystem Status Report is compiled by NOAA’s Florida Keys Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Program (IEA) team, in collaboration with academic partners, Sanctuary resource managers and scientists, non governmental organizations, and other government and state agencies.

The NOAA Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Logo

South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Indicators

This report is a digest of scientific findings about eleven system-wide ecological indicators in the South Florida Ecosystem.

The South Florida Water Management District Logo

MBON and the Sanctuaries MBON project

The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) is a growing global initiative composed of regional networks of scientists, resource managers, and end-users working to integrate data from existing long-term programs to improve our understanding of changes and connections between marine biodiversity and ecosystem functions.

The MBON Logo

NOAA Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA): Regional Portals

The Environmental Response Management Application is a web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) tool that assists emergency responders and environmental resource managers in dealing with incidents that may adversely impact the environment.

Gulf of Mexico Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast

In the Gulf of Mexico, some harmful algal blooms are caused by the rapid growth of the microscopic algae species Karenia brevis (commonly called red tide). Red tide can cause respiratory illness and eye irritation in humans. It can also kill marine life. Blooms are often patchy, so impacts vary by beach and throughout the day.

NOAA monitors conditions daily and issues twice-weekly forecasts for red tide blooms in the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast of Florida. You can find up-to-date information on where a bloom is located and a 3–4 day forecast for potential respiratory irritation by selecting a region below. This information may help you find an unaffected beach if you are visiting the coast.

The NOAA Tides and Currents Logo

Gulf of Mexico Integrated Ecosystem Assessment

In a collaborative effort with researchers, managers and local community members, a team of NOAA scientists are leading the use of the Integrated Ecosystem Assessment approach to balance the needs of nature and society through integrated science for current and future generations of the Gulf of Mexico. The Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) approach brings ecosystem science and management advice to natural resource managers to effectively carry out ecosystem-based management in the Gulf of Mexico. The goal of the Gulf of Mexico IEA is an ecosystem that is sustainable and capable of delivering societally desired levels of ecosystem services.

The NOAA Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Logo

Ocean ADAPT

OceanAdapt is a collaboration between Rutgers University, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to provide information about the impacts of changing climate and other factors on the distribution of marine life to the National Climate Assessment, fisheries communities, policymakers, and to others. This website hosts an annually updated database of scientific surveys in the United States and Canada, providing tools for exploring changes in marine fish and invertebrate distributions. 

Adapt