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Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem Program Receives First Place Gulf Guardian Award in the Binational Category

Release Date: 06/07/2013
Contact Information: William McBride, 404-562-8378 (direct), 404-562-8400 (main), mcbride.william@epa.gov

Stennis Space Center, MS – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem Program will receive a First Place 2013 Gulf Guardian Award in the Binational Category. The awards ceremony will be held on June 26, 2013, at the Tampa Bay Grand Hyatt beginning at 6PM.

The efforts of Mexico through SEAMARNAT (Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources, Mexico) and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Southeast Fisheries Center to develop a UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) Large Marine Ecosystem for the Gulf of Mexico came to fruition in 2009. Since then, concepts of the connectivity among all the ecosystems as part of the whole Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and the theory of a system with no physical or ecological boundaries, despite national ownership of shores and exclusive economic zones, have been the forefront in the development of strategies and implementation to the benefit of societies and resources of all nations.

The Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem (GoMx LME) began as a concept for the Gulf of Mexico many years ago as part of the LME program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under Dr. Ken Sherman. The goal of the LME is to set the foundations ecosystem-based management approaches to rehabilitate marine and coastal ecosystems, recover depleted fish stocks, and reduce nutrient overloading. The program was officially designated as part of the GEF UNIDO (Global Environment Facility, United Nations Industrial Development Organization) Large Marine Ecosystem framework in early 2009. Today, the program is a strong, viable and truly interactive partnership of the U.S. and Mexico.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. First, second and third place awards are given in seven categories: individual, business/industry, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, cultural diversity/environmental justice, partnership and bi-national efforts.

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development

Ben Scaggs, Director of the Gulf of Mexico Program said, “Given all the incredible challenges that the Gulf has faced over the last several years and the work that has continued with strength and vigor despite what sometime seem like overwhelming obstacles, it is difficult to adequately and succinctly express the community value of the awards and the role they play in reminding us of what yet needs to be done while giving us all the energy and optimism tostay the course.”

For more information please contact Porfirio Alvarez-Torres, Phone: 011 52 1 55 8531 3171; or Email: alvarez.porfirio@gmail.com; or Cristina Sanchez, Phone: 55 54 90 09 00 x23703; or Email: csanchez.unido@gmail.com

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Gulf Guardian Awards and the Gulf of Mexico Program, call the Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or visit our web site at http://www.epa.gov/gmpo.



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