Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota: Volume 2, Ocean and Coastal Economy

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The many economic factors affecting sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico region are perhaps as important as the waves on its shores and its abundant marine life. This second volume in Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota (a multivolumed work edited by John W. Tunnell Jr., Darryl L. Felder, and Sylvia A. Earle) assesses the Gulf of Mexico as a single economic region.   The book provides information and baseline data useful for assessing the goals of economic and environmental sustainability in the Gulf. In five chapters, economists, political scientists, and ecologists from Florida, California, Louisiana, Texas, Maine, and Mexico cover topics such as: the idea of the Gulf as a transnational community; the quantitative value of its productivity; a summary of the industries dependent on the Gulf, including shipping, tourism, oil and gas mining, fisheries, recreation, and real estate; the human uses and activities that affect coastal economies; and the economic trends evident in Mexico's drive toward coastal development.   This first-of-its-kind reference work will be useful to scientists, economists, industry leaders, and policy makers whose work requires an understanding of the economic issues involved in science, business, trade, exploration, development, and commerce in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Chapter 1 The Gulf of Mexico Region as a Transnational Community 1Terry L. McCoy

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The Gulf of Mexico Region as a Transnational Community

Terry L. McCoy

Introduction

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This chapter assesses the prospects for the Gulf of Mexico region to evolve into an integrated transnational community. The underlying question is whether the

Gulf functions as a barrier separating or a bridge uniting the coastal regions of the three countries that share it. Answering that question involves addressing a number of related ideas: Are trade and investment flows, transportation networks, demographic movements, intergovernmental collaboration, and civil society interaction knitting the Gulf territories of the United States and Mexico together across the Gulf? Do officials and residents of the region think of themselves as belonging to a Gulf community? Is there a growing sense of community identification accompanied by transnational institution building? And where does Cuba, the third Gulf nation, fit?

The original impetus for this research, which began in the mid-1990s, was the launch of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which promised a new era in United States–Mexico relations (see McCoy, 1996, for early work). A decade later it is appropriate to assess the extent to which the predicted changes have in fact occurred.

 

Chapter 2 The Productive Value of the Gulf of Mexico 21David W. Yoskowitz

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The Productive Value of the Gulf of Mexico

David W. Yoskowitz

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Introduction

The Gulf of Mexico has been referred to repeatedly as the most productive body of water in the United States. But exactly what does this mean? Is there a value that can be placed on this productivity? If so, how large is it and what use would this value be? The goal of this chapter is to answer these questions and, in so doing, to highlight the important role that the Gulf of Mexico plays in the economic lives of the United States, Mexico, and Cuba. For the purposes of this analysis the sectors of focus will be oil and gas production, port and shipping activity, tourism, and fisheries, during the year 2003, the most recent year for which complete data are available. There are, of course, a number of other activities, but focusing on these four critical industries offers a good overview of

Gulf of Mexico economics. While it would be appropriate to include information about Cuba, because data from that country are not readily available, the discussions focus strictly on the United States and Mexico.

 

Chapter 3 An Economic Overview of Selected Industries Dependentupon the Gulf of Mexico 28charles m. Adams, Emilio Hernandez, and Jim Lee

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An Economic Overview of

Selected Industries Dependent upon the Gulf of Mexico charles m. Adams, Emilio Hernandez, and Jim Lee

Introduction

The Gulf of Mexico is a critical source of natural resources, providing billions of dollars in tangible and intangible benefits to a variety of marine-related industries and other user groups. The economic benefits of Gulf resources flow not only to bordering states but also to the U.S. economy as a whole. Industries directly or indirectly dependent on the Gulf ecosystem include coastal development, coastal recreation and tourism, merchant shipping, offshore oil and gas production, hard mineral mining, recreational boating, and commercial fisheries. Some of these, such as commercial and recreational fishing and tourism, are entirely dependent on a healthy coastal and marine ecosystem for their existence. The rapidly growing coastal population and industrial base are placing increasing demands on the Gulf’s critical natural resources. As a result, resource managers are becoming increasingly aware of the need for aggressive measures to enable sustainable management of Gulf resources and to ensure that marinerelated user groups and industries have future access to Gulf of Mexico natural resources.

 

Chapter 4 The Changing Coastal and Ocean Economies of the United StatesGulf of Mexico 47Judith T. K ildow, Charles S. Colgan,and Linwood Pendleton

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The Changing Coastal and

Ocean Economies of the

United States Gulf of Mexico

Judith T. Kildow, Charles S. Colgan, and

Linwood Pendleton

Introduction

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A comprehensive strategy is needed to protect and nurture the Gulf of Mexico’s riches. Public focus—and that of the government and academics—has been largely locked on the devastation from the 2005 hurricanes. But stresses on the rich natural resources of this special area have been intensifying for many years.

These stresses have been felt especially in the degradation and shrinkage of wetlands and the decline of fisheries. Declining water quality, both fresh water for drinking and seawater, has exacerbated the situation.

The economies of the Gulf states are inextricably linked to the quality and values of the Gulf’s natural resources. Recent reviews of scientific studies, management practices, and the availability of information about economics and natural resources have opened new windows for developing effective strategic plans for protecting these resources. Government and the private sector can work together to use this new information to create a multitiered paradigm with a positive effect on coastal resource management for years to come. Several activities indicate that this shift is under way, including creation of the Gulf of

 

Chapter 5 Environmental Sustainability of Economic Trends in the Gulf of Mexico:What Is the Limit for Mexican Coastal Development? 82Alejandro Yáñez-Arancibia, José J. Ramírez-Gordillo,John W. Day, and David W. Yoskowitz

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Environmental Sustainability of

Economic Trends in the Gulf of

Mexico: What Is the Limit for

Mexican Coastal Development?

Alejandro Yáñez-Arancibia, José J. RamírezGordillo, John W. Day, and David W. Yoskowitz

Introduction

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The increasing resource use and activity in Mexico’s Gulf of Mexico coastal zone has created a series of environmental concerns that should be addressed in coastal management initiatives. The Mexican Gulf region, with the exception of the northern part of the state of Tamaulipas, is located in tropical latitudes (Yáñez-Arancibia and Day, 2004). Such areas are typically characterized by rapidly growing populations, deteriorating environmental quality, a loss of critical habitats, diminishing fish and shellfish populations, diminishing biodiversity, and increasing vulnerability to natural hazards (Cicin-Sain and Knecht,

1998; Westmacott, 2002). Poverty, institutional barriers, and resource depletion are commonly cited issues limiting advances in tropical coastal management efforts that might address these natural resource issues (Christie and White,

 

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