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The EFH Mapper—Getting Better All the Time
We have added several new data layers to the EFH Mapper tool. We have filled gaps in data coverage, including information on essential fish habitat for Pacific salmon, Hawaiian bottom fish, and Guam bottom fish.
We have also added two new areas where NOAA Fisheries and the regional fishery management councils have protected more than 73 million acres of essential fish habitat from the impacts of fishing gear. These protection areas include the Bering Sea Subarea and Modified Gear Trawl Zone, where vessels are now required to use modified trawl gear that is raised off the bottom to minimize impacts to essential fish habitat for species like deep sea corals and blue king crab.
There is also updated information on the Bajo de Sico closed area, off the west coast of Puerto Rico. Anchoring is now prohibited year-round to protect over 2,500 acres of coral reef and snapper grouper EFH.
We have also added a new EFH data inventory, which provides much needed improvement to data organization. Included in the inventory is Western Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean EFH data not previously available for download.
The addition of these data layers also improves Mapper functionality, and better represents NOAA's significant habitat protection accomplishments.