Project Title: Mapping commercial bottom-contact fishing intensity in the Gulf of Mexico in relation to deep-sea coral habitat suitability
Goal or Purpose

We will synthesize all available bottom contacting commercial fishery effort information in the Gulf of Mexico and develop maps quantifying their spatial distribution and intensity.   We will quantify the spatial overlap of fisheries information with predicted habitat suitability for deep sea corals and provide a risk assessment on the potential impacts.

Anticipated Management Application(s)

We expect that our results will help provide a spatial risk assessment for deep sea coral ecosystems with respect to fishing, and that our analysis and reporting will provide resource managers with key information needed to make decisions about additional protective measures. 

Fiscal Funding:
  • FY 2015 @ $30,000

 
Region(s):
  • Gulf of Mexico Council
Location(s):
  •  None Defined.
Project Type:
  • Habitat Suitability Modeling
Point of Contact: Office of the Point of Contact:
  • NOS NCCOS
Team Members:
  •  None Defined.
Project Title: Mapping commercial bottom-contact fishing intensity in the Gulf of Mexico in relation to deep-sea coral habitat suitability
Methods/Approach

Data mining: we will expend approximately 3 weeks synthesizing the appropriate fishery datasets.  All data obtained will be incorporated into a common spatial framework in GIS.  We have contacted the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council (GMFMC) to identify relevant fisheries data that has already been collected by the Council. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) collects information for a variety of fisheries; we will explore pertinent datasets that are not incorporated into the council’s database.  One dataset developed by NMFS, the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) is a satellite surveillance system.  This system is coordinated by NMFS and primarily used to monitor the location and movement of commercial fishing vessels in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.  We believe that some deep water bottom fishing vessels, such as reef fish hook and line and longline fisheries, are equipped with VMS.  The data has the potential to be an ideal dataset for estimating bottom fishing intensity in the Gulf of Mexico, as the information from the dataset provides vessel location, not gear location, thus its utility has not been completely applied to habitat conservation applications.  Shrimp logbook data obtained from NMFS will also provide spatial location of trawl gears that will enable us to generate an intensity index from the shrimp fishery.

Spatial framework: all data will be converted to a common spatial framework in GIS for analysis.  Most analysis will occur in GIS.  All fishing effort data will be thoroughly evaluated to ensure records are actual fishing data in order to reduce uncertainty in all analyses.

Analysis: Fishing effort will be synthesized by fishery and by the complement of all datasets combined.  Fishing effort data will be spatially correlated with coral predictive layers in GIS and correlations between levels of fishing intensity and levels of suitability will be calculated. Broad scale comparisons will be made, but specific comparisons will be made with priority areas listed as EFH or HAPC.

All spatial data will be housed in a geodatabase and distributed to partners and the DSCRTP, and can be made available via various public data portals (s.g. Gulf Atlas, MMC) as appropriate.

Project Results and Management Outcomes  None Defined
Project Title: Mapping commercial bottom-contact fishing intensity in the Gulf of Mexico in relation to deep-sea coral habitat suitability
Internal References:
  •  None Defined
 
Backlinks:
  •  None Defined

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