U.S. Pacific Coast experiences in achieving deep-sea coral conservation and marine habitat protection
We constructed comprehensive management proposals to protect deep-sea corals, sponges, and other seafloor habitat while maintaining fishing opportunities. The proposals were largely adopted by the North Pacific and Pacific Fishery Management Councils in recent decisions regarding Essential Fish Habitat in the United States. The proposals were based on an approach we developed following a comprehensive literature review of fish habitat studies, habitat-fishery linkages, life history of habitat-forming invertebrates, and fishing impacts. The approach freezes the existing bottom trawl footprint, closes habitat areas within the footprint that have low fishing effort, closes sensitive habitat such as coral gardens and seamounts, and requires ongoing research and monitoring. Here, we describe the iterative process through which the proposals were considered by decision-makers and discuss the factors that led to their adoption. Overall, the implementation represents a significant step toward ecosystem-based fishery management and lays a framework for a new era of ocean conservation.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2007-11-01
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