A gag grouper (fish) swims near a rocky reef with pink corals nearby.
Gag groupers are a species targeted for restoration in the recreational fisheries barotrauma reduction project.
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The Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group released the Final Open Ocean Restoration Plan 2 (PDF, 493 pages) selecting 18 projects totaling almost $226 million to help restore fish, sea turtles, marine mammals and mesophotic and deep benthic communities injured by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The plan and its projects represent the largest dedication of Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds to restore these oceanic marine resources in the Gulf of Mexico to date. The selected projects will:

  • Develop innovative and voluntary tools for commercial fishermen to reduce bycatch of fish and recreational anglers to help more released fish survive.
  • Identify opportunities to partner with commercial fishermen to reduce the risk of sea turtle bycatch, and local organizations to protect sea turtle nesting habitat.
  • Develop and implement tools and techniques to reduce risks to marine mammals from vessel collisions, ocean noise, and disasters.
  • Better understand deep-sea (mesophotic and deep benthic) coral habitat to improve their management and protection, remove threats, and develop new restoration techniques.
  • Develop voluntary ways to protect and restore marine resources that are based in and supported by science.

A draft of the plan was released in May for a 79-day public comment period during which the Trustees received 53 comments, mostly supportive. Based on input during the public comment period, the Trustees revised three projects to increase opportunities for fishing industry stakeholder engagement. A summary of changes made based on public comments is provided in the plan’s Chapter 1.

Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whales were the marine mammal species most affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whales were the
marine mammals most affected by the 
2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Learn More at an Upcoming Webinar

The next opportunity to learn more about this plan and projects will be at the Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group’s December 12 webinar. During this meeting, we will present updates on Open Ocean activities, and provide an opportunity for questions and answers.

More information about opportunities for stakeholders and potential partners to participate in the restoration projects will be shared in the coming months through the Trustees’ ongoing outreach and engagement.


Final Plan Documents
Updated Fact Sheets - December 2019
Fact Sheets Released in May 2019