The Coastal Fisheries Division manages the marine fishery resources of Texas' four million acres of saltwater, including the bays and estuaries and out to nine nautical miles in the Gulf of Mexico. Coastal Fisheries management strategies are directed toward optimizing the long-term utilization of the marine resources of Texas. This management is designed to sustain fisheries harvest at levels that are necessary to ensure replenishable stocks of commercially and recreationally important species and to provide for balanced food webs within Texas marine ecosystems. Technical data to assess population levels and develop appropriate fishing regulations are collected through coastwide, year-round standardized monitoring programs. In addition, life history studies and genetic research provide state-of-the-art knowledge for enhancing fishery stocks. Three world-class hatchery facilities directly enhance populations of several game fish to increase abundance and help offset impacts of natural catastrophes. The Coastal Fisheries staff work closely with other department divisions as well as federal and international fishery management agencies to provide optimum opportunities from and conservation for the rich biological diversity inherent in Texas' marine waters.