Gulf of Mexico Shellfish Initiative

About Gulf of Mexico Shellfish Initiative

The Gulf of Mexico Shellfish Initiative (GoMexSI) will protect and enhance our shellfish resources in a way that creates sustainable water-dependent jobs while improving the water quality of our numerous Gulf estuaries, through long-term regional planning for the wise and sustainable use of shellfish resources.

GoMeXSI is based on NOAA’s National Shellfish Initiative and draws from other state Shellfish Initiatives. GoMexSI, like all these initiatives, has the overall goal to increase populations of bivalve shellfish in our nation’s coastal waters including oysters, clams, abalone, and mussels through both sustainable commercial production and restoration activities.

GoMexSI will be used to: 

  1.  Leverage support for future projects, 
  2.  Secure funding for shellfish enhancement, and
  3.  Guide management efforts on a regional basis along coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida Gulf Coast.

The planning team is seeking input from stakeholders from across the Gulf of Mexico to identify common goals among the Gulf states, and those which are unique to each state. Within each state, shellfish stakeholders will be engaged to determine state-specific action items (objectives) to accomplish the goals of GoMexSI.

A starter list of possible goals of the GoMexSI include:

  • Ensure clean and plentiful water to protect and enhance shellfish reefs
  • Restore oyster stocks 
  • Expand commercial shellfish harvests 
  • Expand public/private partnerships for shellfish aquaculture
  • Use an ecosystem services approach to guide shellfish restoration

During numerous stakeholder input sessions, the starter list will likely be refined and new goals added.