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NOAA Workshop on Benthic Habitat and Effects of Fishing in the Southeastern United States

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On October 31st to November 2nd, NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center held a second workshop on Gear Impacts on Essential Fish Habitat in the Southeastern Region at the Casino Magic Hotel in Biloxi, Miss. The objective for the workshop was for the Fisheries Science Center to refine its research agenda for the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic Ocean off the southeastern United States. The Center also sought to develop plans for needed research to include in the joint USGS/NOAA initiative on benthic habitats. Some specific goals were to:

  1. Identify partners interested in characterizing bottom-habitat flora and fauna for natural variability assessment from the shoreline to the outer limit of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ);
  2. Identify partners for bottom-mapping research and data products from shore to the EEZ limit;
  3. Identify partners and capabilities useful in collection of relevant information on gear types used in State and Federal waters, with a special emphasis on gear used to harvest monitored species in Federal Marine Protected Areas;
  4. Identify partners committed to creation and maintenance of a southeast regional bottom-habitat database inclusive of the Caribbean;
  5. Identify partners committed to development of a research design using our respective research strengths and capabilities;
  6. Develop recommendations for FY02-FY05 scientific research budgets.

Attendees included National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) research staff from around the Gulf of Mexico, from Puerto Rico, and the southeastern Gulf and Atlantic states, the resource-focused Fisheries Management Council, State fisheries resource managers, Sea Grant units, fishermen, and the USGS. Ken Sulak (BRD-Florida Caribbean Science Center), Jimmy Johnston (BRD-National Wetlands Research Center), Kathy Scanlon (GD-Woods Hole Field Center) and Peter Barnes (GD-Menlo) represented the USGS.

Under discussion were the value of geologic mapping and the recognition that geologists have a role to play in understanding benthic processes related to habitat and habitat impact, such as changes in substrate following disruption of sediment or reefs by fishing activities. In addition to substrate characterization and classification, the workshop participants identified the need to distinguish natural substrate disturbance from disruption by fishing activities and to understand the ecosystem change after disruption. Pessimism was expressed about the ability to distinguish different habitat types and the various effects of all the different fishing gear types, sizes and shapes, and effects of multiple fishing events. The NMFS is drafting a report and research plan.

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Research cover story:
MRIB: Ocean Geo-Library

Outreach Nat'l Geography Awareness Week


Lake Tahoe: "Wonders of the Universe" Calendar

Plymouth County Detention Center

African Dust

Bill Normark Interview

Rock Course for Teachers

Meetings Geologic Framework of U.S. Coastal & Marine Regions

Coastal Marsh Die-Back

Southwest Washington Coastal Erosion

Southeatern U.S. Benthic Habitat

Southern California Benthic Habitat

9th International Coral Reef Symposium

Gulf of Maine

Long Island Sound


Awards Distinguished Lecturer

Earthquake Hazards Video

Hapke Honored by CSBPA

Staff & Center News Senior Leadership Visit

Director's Office & NOAA Visitors

Suspension Modeling

Publications Dec./Jan. Publications List U. S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
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