Representatives from the Mexican Gulf States were in New Orleans the week of August 1 through 5, 2011 to attend the Joint Meeting of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and the Hypoxia Task Force. On Wednesday, a featured session on International Integration was held that focused on growing a network between U.S. and Mexican Gulf States by identifying common objectives and key issues for the Gulf.

Dr. Porfirio Alvarez-Torres, Chief Technical Advisor for the Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem (a program of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization), commented, “The large marine ecosystem concept was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and there are currently 64 established worldwide. The Gulf of Mexico Large Marine Ecosystem is a U.S. and Mexican federal program that brings together a diverse network of individuals in the international region to collaborate and network on issues facing the Gulf.”

Recently the Alliance has supported several cooperative projects between the U.S. and Mexico with assistance from the five U.S. Gulf States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other partners. The projects include a Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center established at the Veracruz Aquarium in Mexico; bi-national workshops to standardize harmful algal bloom identification and field sampling methods in the Mexican States of Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz and Yucatan; and the installation of several monitoring stations as part of the International Red Tide Initiative to build Mexican capacity in early detection of these harmful algal blooms.