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Assessing the Effectiveness of the Aleutian Islands Habitat Conservation Area in Protecting Deep-Sea Coral and Sponge Habitat

Project Goal

To determine the effectiveness of the Aleutian Islands Habitat Conservation Area (AIHCA) in protecting sensitive seafloor habitat from the damaging effects of fishing activities by creating regional maps of coral and sponge bycatch.

Geographic Location

North Pacific, Alaska

Approach

Commercial fishery data from the NOAA Fisheries North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program (NORPAC) database includes coral and sponge bycatch data and spatial information for three major gear types used in the region. Using this information, regional maps of coral and sponge bycatch will be produced for each year (2002-2010). These maps will then be analyzed to determine if the bycatch of corals and sponges has been significantly reduced since the AIHCA closure was implemented.

Importance to Management

Data will be used by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to analyze the effectiveness of the AIHCA and guide further management actions.

Fiscal Year 2011 Funding

$32,500

Point of Contact

Robert Stone, Bob.Stone@noaa.gov