Oil spill science and information needs for Gulf and Caribbean regional stakeholders

November 8th, 2016  – Grand Cayman

During the 69th annual meeting of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI), an estimated 150 people gathered during the session “Understanding and strengthening natural and social connections.” Specialist Christine Hale presented to them an overview of the Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program and shared science about environmental impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. She also discussed the importance of fostering regional social connections, as well as understanding the natural and ecological connections in the Gulf of Mexico in order to prepare for and respond to disasters like oil spills. The discussion was continued the following day with volunteer participants during an input session in which participants exchanged ideas about oil spill issues in the region.

View a pdf of Chris’ presentation here.


The GCFI annual conference is an ideal platform for the exchange of science and discussion of ideas, offering an opportunity to reinforce regional collaboration on a variety of environmental and social issues. Emerging science and information about oil spills is pertinent to multiple Gulf and Caribbean countries, as energy infrastructure develops throughout the region. Sea Grant aims to collect information needs, questions, topics of interest, and issues related to oil spills, from participants at this workshop.  Information collected will be the basis for development of future outreach products for distribution to participants at the workshop and to audiences across the region.

This workshop brought together GCFI attendees and interested local and regional stakeholders to discuss information needs on the topic of regional connectivity and oil spills. Participants had the opportunity to have their voice heard, to ask questions, and to provide input on informational products and programs that would be most useful to them.  With this input, Sea Grant identified needs and will continue to support multi-national collaboration across the region.