A gulf is an inlet of the sea that is mostly surrounded by land. There are around 57 gulfs in the world. Major ones include the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Aden, and the Gulf of Paria. The Gulf of Paria is in South America between the eastern coast of Venezuela and the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
Location and Size
Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela are the only two countries with coastlines on the Gulf of Paria. The gulf separates these two countries at the narrowest point of 9 miles and at its widest point at 74.5 miles. It is relatively large as it covers an area of approximately 3000 square miles. It has its deepest point at 121 feet which makes it one of the shallowest gulfs in the world.
The Gulf of Paria is one of the most important harbors in the Americas on the Atlantic coast. Venezuela controls about 62.3% of the gulf while Trinidad and Tobago controls 37.7% of the Gulf.
The Gulf of Paria is connected to the Caribbean Sea through the Dragon’s mouth and to the Atlantic Ocean through the Columbus channel. Oil and natural gas both exist in the Gulf of Paria, making up one of the most important economic activities in the region.
The Gulf of Paria also provides a vital fishing ground that boosts the economic activity in the region. In Trinidad and Tobago, finfish and shrimp are the common catch. The extensive mangroves along the coastlines of Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago provide for a satisfactory fishing habitat.
Current State of the Gulf
The Gulf of Paria can be a dangerous place. It has become a haven for criminals and pirates. Criminals smuggle goods and other contraband between the two countries, which has been fuelled by the failure of Venezuela to control the economic crisis and political situation in the country. Some of the smuggled items include drugs, wild animals, weapons, alcohol, fuel, diapers, food, and people.