Meetings Other Relevant Events
The theme of the 66th GCFI conference is “Natural and Artificial Reef Fisheries, Research, and Conservation”. The focus on natural and artificial reefs at GCFI draws attention to the importance of this segment of fisheries, research, and conservation in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. Natural reefs have provided hotspots of biodiversity and productivity for centuries in this region, and now artificial reefs are very important to some areas. However, there is not clear agreement on function and use of artificial reefs in fisheries management, and there are now heated issues on the role and function of some artificial habitats, such as oil and gas platforms. Addressing the issues of connectivity, fisheries management, conservation, and related issues at GCFI will provide the current state of knowledge and aid in the debate of these critical issues at this time facing both our natural and artificial reefs.
GCFI is pleased to announce that the opening address of the meeting will be presented by Dr. Larry D. McKinney Executive Director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. The title of his presentation is: The Balance of Nature – Steel Reefs and Coral Reefs Compatible or Contradictory? Dr. McKinney is leading an interdisciplinary team that integrates science, policy and socio-economic expertise to assure an economically and environmentally sustainable Gulf. Dr. McKinney chairs the Gulf University Research Collaborative, an organization that includes 78 leading marine research universities and institutions around the Gulf. He also chairs the Ecosystem Assessment and Integration Team of the Gulf Alliance, the Flower Gardens National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Committee, and the Texas Sea Grant Science Advisory Committee. Dr. McKinney is a member of NASA’s SSC Applied Sciences Steering Committee and board member and past president of the Texas Academy of Sciences.