A core initiative of Embrace the Gulf is to share facts about the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf’s influence goes far beyond its local connections. Its states are linked through industries such as oil and gas, tourism, marine transportation, and commercial and recreational fishing—impacting the region and the entire country. Here are a few nuggets from the Gulf of Mexico Alliance that illustrate the Gulf’s diversity, environmental and economic importance, and wealth of recreational opportunities.


Red snapper is a popular catch aboard the many Gulf Coast charter boats that take anglers fishing. Photo by Mary Sergeant
  • The Gulf of Mexico region includes Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Combined, these states share 1,631 miles of coastline divided as follows: Florida, 770 miles; Louisiana, 397 miles; Texas, 367 miles; Alabama, 53 miles; and Mississippi, 44 miles.
  • If the five Gulf states were a country, the economy would rank in the top 10 worldwide with a gross domestic product of more than $2 trillion.
  • The Gulf of Mexico covers an area of 600,000 square miles, measuring approximately 1,100 miles east to west and 800 miles north to south.
  • The Gulf is home to six of the top 10 most productive shipping ports in the country.
  • Industries in the Gulf of Mexico region have built 70% of the U.S. naval fleet of warships.
  • At its deepest point, the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico is 2.7 miles underwater. However, most of the Gulf is much shallower. About 60% of the Gulf is less than 700 feet deep.
  • Within the Gulf ecosystem are 207 estuaries, 47 wildlife refuges, 15.6 million acres of wetlands and eight national parks.
  • Natural resources in the five Gulf states support the employment of more than 8 million people.
  • Each of the five Gulf states has an artificial reef program to supplement natural underwater habitats. These artificial reefs enhance fishery resources and fishing opportunities by creating habitat for fish and invertebrate species using man-made materials.
  • Because of its warm waters and diverse habitats, 15,419 documented marine species make their home in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The Gulf states generate 1.3 billion pounds of seafood a year, which is more than the annual production of the mid-Atlantic, Chesapeake and New England areas combined.
  • The Gulf of Mexico provides 77% of the U.S. shrimp harvest.
  • The hottest vacation destination in the United States is the Gulf states, with an economic impact of $45 billion annually from tourism.