Along the Continental Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico, there are some 200 shelf-edge reefs and banks that are biodiversity hotspots. These reefs and banks support an abundance of soft corals, subtropical and tropical invertebrates and more than 90 species of fish, including many large predators.
As a Hope Spot, Mission Blue has proposed that most, if not all of the 200 shelf-edge reefs and banks running along the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico be given status as marine protected areas. These reefs are biodiversity hotspots, supporting an abundance of soft corals, subtropical and tropical invertebrates, and more than 90 species of fish. Most of these reefs and banks are threatened by intense recreational and commercial fishing, with the greatest danger coming from commercial trawling and long-lining. And although some protection is afforded to those within the Flower Garden Banks Marine Sanctuary, many reefs lie outside the sanctuary’s boundaries.