Sustainable Fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico fisheries contribute millions of dollars to the economy through commercial and recreational fishing. Tourists and residents alike enjoy access to Gulf of Mexico seafood year round.

Vessels at pilings cortez florida

Fishing vessels at pilings in Cortez, Florida. Photo by: Christina Package-Ward, 2011

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The Gulf of Mexico Branch (Gulf Branch) works with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council  (Gulf Council) to manage fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf Council develops management measures through fishery management plans (FMPs) for key marine species. The Gulf Branch puts in place the resulting regulations. Gulf Branch staff also give guidance on fisheries management; assess the environmental impacts of proposed management measures; educate the public on fishery management issues; give technical assistance and advice in preparing FMPs; coordinate public review and comments during regulations development; and issue fishing closures to prevent overfishing if landings approach annual catch limits.  

The Gulf of Mexico ecosystem spans from the Yucatan peninsula to the straits of Florida and is heavily influenced by the flow of freshwater from the Mississippi River. U.S. commercial fishing contributes millions of dollars to the economy, generated by landings revenue from this ecosystem. Its seabed also produces more than half the U.S. domestic supply of oil and natural gas. Successfully managing marine fisheries in today's busy ocean requires us to understand the entire ecosystem. Watch the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem video to learn more

Fishery Management Plans (FMP)

Report Fishing Resources


Understanding Fisheries Management in the United States

NOAA Fisheries is responsible for managing marine fisheries within the U.S. exclusive economic zone. Learn more about the sustainable management of our marine fisheries.

working waterfront

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on November 27, 2019