Last updated: 27 August 2014

Gulf of Mexico stakeholders have a number of high priority issues facing them in the coming years. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Harmful Algal Blooms that affect human and animal health
  • Hypoxia that affects animal health and human activities such as fishing
  • Extensive use of the coastal habitat by recreational boating, surfing, diving, beach going and other tourist activities that requires knowledge of surface currents and waves for human protection and search and rescue
  • Extensive urban development that will require knowledge of the currents, waves, and coastal flooding probabilities for sustainable development as well as knowledge of the vulnerabilities and monitoring of the affected coastal ecosystems so that mitigation measures can be implemented to protect important natural resources
  • Low lying coastal landscape that is vulnerable to storm surge and inundation in an area of the world frequented by hurricanes, tropical storms, and winter cyclones
  • An oil and gas industry that produces about 44% of the crude oil, 43% of the dry natural gas, and over 50% of the liquid natural gas of the U.S., bu which is vulnerable to strong currents and hurricanes
  • Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration from impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
  • Seven of the top 10 U.S. ports in terms of tonnage or cargo value, with two in the top global seven, and that require real-time knowledge of water depth and currents for passage through coastal waters
  • A fishing industry that yields 69% of the shrimp and 70% of the oyster catches in the U.S., as well as many fish varieties, and that requires healthy coastal ecosystems to prosper
  • The watersheds of 33 states drain into the Gulf from over 150 individual rivers, of which 20 are major river systems including the Mississippi River; this river discharge brings high nutrient loads, pollutants, and sediments into the coastal waters
  • Industrial activity, including shipping, in and near the coastal waters that could result in spills of pollutants that will needed to be tracked effectively to improve opportunities for clean up and protection of ecosystems and beaches

Additionally, as extensive data sets become available, it is crucial that they be well integrated. This requires a regional data management program that can support data providers in their efforts to comply with DMAC standards and protocols and to attain interoperability.