Facts about the Gulf of Mexico
*The Gulf of Mexico provides critical habitat for 75% of the migratory water- fowl in this hemisphere.
*Gulf coast wetlands comprise about half of the national total. The cover story in the October, 1992 National Geographic has this to say about the importance of wetlands:
"Wetlands absorb and filter pollutants that would otherwise degrade lakes, rivers, reservoirs and aquifers. . . . Coastal wetlands buffer the impact of storm tides on populated uplands; inland marches sponge up runoff, reducing flood crests downstream. Wetlands stabilize shore lines and riverbanks. They are the glue that holds the land together. Wetlands provide feeding, spawning and nursery grounds for more than half the saltwater fin and shellfish harvested annually in the U.S."
*One sixth of our nation's population lives along the Gulf coast.
*The Gulf of Mexico is essential to the country's defense. The U.S. Navy maintains a significant number of strategic homeport sites along the Gulf.
*Oil and gas from the Gulf accounts for 90% of the offshore production in the U.S.A.
*The Gulf yields more finfish, shrimp, and shellfish annually than does the south and mid-Atlantic, Chesapeake and New England regions combined. TheGulf shrimp fishery is among the most valuable fisheries in the country.
*Ports within the Gulf states handle almost half of the U.S. import and export shipping tonnage.
*Tourism along the Gulf states is estimated to generate $20 billion annually.
*Two thirds of the continental United States, – and major areas of Cuba and Mexico, – and a portion of Canada, drain into the Gulf.
*Mississippi ranks fifth in the landings of shellfish and finfish in the United States.
*The Pascagoula/Moss Point area port ranks second in the nation in pounds of fish landed.
*The total value ofMississippi;s seafood industry is estimated at nearly $250 million annually.
*Tourism in the state generates more than a quarter of a million dollars annually, with the coast being a major destination for tourists.
* Sport fishing in the state/adds nearly $130 million to Mississippi's economy each year. Recreational boating generates between $40 and $50 million annually.
*The $700 million generated by our marine resources, when added to the revenues of the coast's water-dependent industries, exceeds one billion dollars.