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Evaluation of Predicted Coral and Sponge Habitat within Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Project Goal

To assess new information on the distribution and abundance of deep-sea coral and sponge communities in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.

Geographic Location

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary in Washington State

Approach

Video tapes collected during remotely operated vehicle surveys in 2006 and 2008 are being reviewed by biologists to determine distribution and abundance of deep-sea coral and sponge communities. Biologists are also characterizing habitats as to whether they are rocky, boulder or pebble substrates.

Results

Site characterizations of survey areas are being finalized and will highlight locations of large deep-sea corals and sponges and areas of high abundance. Results will also note areas where only small corals and sponges are found in low abundance or where they are entirely absent.

Importance to Management

Finalized data will be made available to marine resource managers such as NOAA Fisheries, Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) and the Olympic Coast Intergovernmental Policy Council (which includes the four coastal treaty tribes and the state of Washington). PFMC’s Groundfish Essential Fish Habitat Review Committee will be evaluating these areas for consideration of additional protection measures, if warranted.

Fiscal Year 2010 Funding

$40,000

Point of Contact

Ed Bowlby, Ed.Bowlby@noaa.gov