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Symposium on the Effects of Fishing Activities on Benthic Habitats

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photo of noreen buster explaining her work
Noreen Buster (USGS, St. Petersburg, FL) explains her work on sediment cores to field-trip participants.
Fishery harvest from the ocean floor can disrupt the marine benthos (seabed communities) in many of the same ways farming and logging disrupt terrestrial ecosystems. This disruption was the focus of a meeting entitled "Symposium on Effects of Fishing Activities on Benthic Habitats: Linking Geology, Biology, Socioeconomics, and Management," held in Tampa, FL, from November 11 to 15.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the American Fisheries Society (AFS), and the Ecological Society of America (ESA) co-sponsored the meeting, which was organized by Peter Barnes (USGS, Menlo Park, CA) and James Thomas (NOAA, Silver Springs, MD). Ellen Raabe (USGS, St. Petersburg, FL) was the local coordinator, and Page Valentine (USGS Woods Hole, MA) and Gary Brewer (USGS, Kearneysville, WV) served on the program committee. Lori Hidinger of ESA, who was the overall meeting coordinator, deserves the credit for the smooth running of the meeting.

The symposium was an attempt to bridge the gaps in research, technology, and social and economic sciences, while linking research to industry and stakeholder issues, as well as to the needs of resource managers. The symposium was well attended by researchers in academia and government, with strong international representation. A final count of close to 400 participants far exceeded the expected 150 to 200.

Chip Groat, Director of the USGS, and William Hogarth, Assistant Administrator of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), gave lead presentations on the roles of the USGS and NOAA. Plenary sessions and poster presentations focused on all aspects of fisheries activities and their impacts, benthic-habitat-mapping technology, fish/benthos interactions, and management and socioeconomic factors. The final panel session served as a forum for a lively discussion on lessons learned, keeping the attention of a full house. More than 50 contributions were received at the symposium for compilation in an AFS publication in 2003.

USGS contributions to the symposium represented benthic-habitat research in the Northeast, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, West Coast, Alaska, and the Great Lakes.

On the final day of the meeting, Ellen, Chris Smith (NOAA), and James Thomas (NOAA) led a field trip for 10 participants. The trip included visits to restoration sites operated by NMFS, a fish-processing facility, and Fort De Soto Park, and a tour of the USGS' St. Petersburg Science Center at St. Petersburg, FL. Many thanks go to Dennis Krohn, who led the tour group around the St. Petersburg facility, and to Noreen Buster, who received the guests on short notice and explained her laboratory work on sediment cores. The visitors were impressed with the USGS facility even after a long week of conferences and field trips.

Related Web Sites
Symposium on Effects of Fishing Activities on Benthic Habitats
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
St. Petersburg Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), St. Petersburg, FL
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
U.S. Department of Commerce
American Fisheries Society (AFS)
professional society of fisheries scientists
Ecological Society of America (ESA)
non-profit organization

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USS Arizona

Adriatic Sea Sediment-Transport Cruise

Bear Lake Sea-Floor Mapping

Assateague Island Vegetation Mapping

Field-Testing New Portable Drilling System

Research Diamondback Terrapin

Outreach Transoceanic Dust Impacts

Woods Hole Field Center Open House

St. Petersburg Field Center Open House

Great American Teach-In

Fourth-Graders Tour St. Petersburg Field Center

Girl Scouts 90th Anniversary


Meetings Effects of Fishing Activities on Benthic Habitats

Planning Gas-Hydrates Research

Science and Politics in Ecosystem Decisions

Sea-Floor Mapping Techniques

Staff & Center News GHASTLI Lab Visitors

Science Museum Board

Two New Scientists

Louisiana Coastal-Restoration Advisory Board

Air Medical Transport Center Tour

MRIB Programmer

New Webmistress

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