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The SEFSC has a long history of conducting ecological research on habitats and their connection to fishery production. With the publication of the Habitat Assessment Improvement Plan (HAIP) [pdf] in 2010, the NMFS has recognized the value of this research and is promoting an expansion of habitat science in the agency. Goals of HAIP include:
- Assist the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in developing the habitat science necessary to meet the mandates of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act (MSRA) and the economic, social, and environmental needs of the nation
- Improve our ability to identify essential fish habitat (EFH) and habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC)
- Provide information needed to assess impacts to EFH
- Reduce habitat-related uncertainty in stock assessments
- Facilitate a greater number of "Marine Fisheries Stock Assessment Improvement Plan" Tier 3 stock assessments, including those that explicitly incorporate ecosystem considerations and spatial analyses
- Contribute to assessments of ecosystem services (i.e. the things people need and care about that are provided by marine systems); and
• Contribute to ecosystem-based fishery management (EBFM), integrated ecosystem assessments (IEA's), and coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP).
The first National Habitat Assessment Workshop (NHAW) was held in St. Petersburg, FL on May 17-20, 2010 in conjunction with the 11th National Stock Assessment Workshop. The meeting included a Joint Session on "Incorporating Habitat Information in Stock Assessments." Proceedings from the joint meeting [pdf] are available online.
The NHAW theme was "Moving Towards a National Habitat Science Program" and breakout sessions were used to discuss improving communication between researchers at Science Centers and managers in Regional Offices. The Session 3 Breakout "How To Implement the Proposed Solutions in the Southeast Region" was facilitated by Tom Minello (SEFSC) and Pace Wilber (SERO). Recommendations from this session included:
- A formal list of high priority SERO science needs should be developed to help guide scientific research if new funds become available.
- SEFSC scientists should improve access and availability of the habitat science products they develop.
- Annual habitat science coordination meetings should be held, perhaps in conjunction with the regular SERO manager meetings to reduce meeting costs. Staff from the SEFSC, SERO, and RC should participate.
This web page should facilitate implementation of these recommendations. Access to SEFSC science products (both peer reviewed publications and technical reports) has now been made available. A search engine allows users to find publications on habitat science.
Habitat Science ListServ
We have initiated a regional Habitat Science ListServ for the Southeast to increase communication between SEFSC scientists, SER habitat managers, and the NOAA Restoration Center. To join the Southeast habitat assessment ListServ, send an email to habitat.assessment.moderator.SE@noaa.gov with "join" in the subject line.
There also is a national Habitat Science ListServ developed to increase communication nationally across scientists, habitat managers, the NOAA Restoration Center, and NOAA headquarters offices. To join the national habitat assessment ListServ, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "join" in the subject line.
Other Links to NOAA Habitat Science
- NMFS Office of Science and Technology Habitat Science page
- SEFSC Galveston Laboratory, Fishery Ecology Branch
- SEFSC Miami, Protected Resources and Biodiversity Division
- NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS),
- NCCOS Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, Applied Ecology and Restoration Research Branch in Beaufort, NC [pdf]
- NMFS Office of Habitat Conservation
- NOAA Restoration Center
How Do I...?
- Distinguish a white marlin from a spearfish
- How do I report a stranded/ beached whale, dolphin, or turtle?
- How do I report a lionfish sighting?
- Access SouthEast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR)
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