What is Florida GAME?
The Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) coordinates a pilot
project known as the Geospatial Assessment of Marine Ecosystems
(GAME). Funded by the Florida Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP), this project aims to assemble existing data and
information about the coastal ocean waters of Florida and the
adjacent state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and South
The GAME project will lay the groundwork for ecosystem-based
management of Florida's estuaries and marine waters, including the
West Florida Shelf and the Gulf of Mexico.
The aim of the Phase I - Information Survey - is the
identification of spatial frameworks, or work done in specific
areas, based on ecological characteristics for coastal and marine
assessment and management in the State of Florida. This initial
phase will detect, locate, collate, and organize existing data and
information to assess the marine habitats and structure. This
includes nearshore coastal areas as well as the human uses of our
waters. The project will assemble, for the first time, the many
sources of physical, geomorphological, biological, chemical, and
ecological data and information in a Geographic Information Systems
(GIS) format. This effort will form the prototype for constructing
an ecosystem environment.
The GIS organizational effort will use a combination of diverse
information in a way that permits conceptual and management
planning of living marine resources in the coastal waters of
Florida. Following this inventory and cataloging phase, information
gaps will be identified and maps will be produced.
These maps will be displayed throughout the state through a
series of regional public meetings held to inform the community
about ecosystem-based management and to solicit comments and
additional information from the public. In cooperation with this
state assessment, relevant federal agencies and recognized regional
experts, including Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), will
gather to expand the assessment to the entire Gulf of Mexico, so
all parties can eventually reach an agreement with respect to the
ecoregional map of this area.
With such a tool in hand, the Gulf coast states and federal
agencies can begin to make coordinated and complementary decisions
concerning coastal waters that are based upon and directing
scientific research. Commercial and recreational uses,
conservation areas, and monitoring programs are a few of the
targeted focus areas. This will allow managers to
better plan both existing and increasing uses of our nation's
marine resources. The information obtained will enable government
agencies to sustain the resources of the state's coastal waters
with the best available science, data, and understanding of
critical areas that lack sufficient data for analysis.
This project represents the first step in a major, long-term
state effort to implement new procedures of ecosystem-based
management and governance.