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The Spill’s Effect on Gulf Fisheries

At the height of the DWH spill, 36% of federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico (86,985 square miles) were closed to commercial and recreational fishing. An estimated $8.7 billion of losses could ripple through the economy in the next seven years from losses in fishing and marine aquaculture in the Gulf region.

Commercially-important species: blue crab, stone crab, crawfish, groupers, menhaden, mullets, oyster, shrimp, red snapper, and tunas. 

The Gulf Fisheries are some of the most productive in the world

Commercial harvest = 1.3 billion pounds - valued at $661 million (2008)
Shrimp landings = 73% of US total, 188.8 million pounds - valued $367 million (2008)
Oyster production = 59% of US total, 20.6 million pounds - valued $60.2 million (2008)

Commercial Fisheries

Florida: $5.2 billion in sales, $2.9 billion in income, 103,000 jobs (2006)
Louisiana: $2.1 billion in sales, $1.1 billion in income, 46,000 jobs (2006)
Texas: $2.2 billion in sales, $1.1 billion in income, 47,000 jobs (2006)

Recreational Fisheries

28% of all US marine recreational fishing trips are taken in Gulf (2006)
24.1 million recreational fishing trips per year (2008)
190 million fish caught per year (2008)

Only 14% of all species managed by Gulf Council are known to be healthy

The Gulf of Mexico has been overexploited for decades, so a fishing closure of a few months or even a year is unlikely to be enough for populations to recover.