Six Facts About the Gulf of Mexico
How much do you know about the Gulf of Mexico? Here are some fun facts:
- The Gulf of Mexico is the largest gulf on the planet as well as the ninth-largest body of water, covering some 600,000 square miles. If it were stretched across land, it would spread all the way from New York City to Los Angeles!
- It’s unbelievably biodiverse. Scientists have inventoried 15,419 species in the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem. However, climate change, invasive species and overfishing have taken their toll. More than half of the species who make their home in the Gulf of Mexico are classified as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable.
- The Gulf of Mexico is fed by 33 major rivers that flow out of the United States, the largest of which is the Mississippi. About 40 percent of the continental landmass of the United States drains into the Gulf!
- The Gulf of Mexico was likely created as the result of seafloor subsidence (the gradual sinking of the seafloor) about 300 million years ago.
- Fishing is a big business in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2014, commercial fishers brought in 546,478 metric tons of seafood, about half of which was shrimp. That’s a whole lot of shrimp cocktail!
- It’s also a hotspot for recreational fishing. Anglers spend about $1.5 million here each year.
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