Priorities for Benthic Mapping in Puerto Rico Set
Scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science recently met with Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) jurisdictional constituents in Puerto Rico (June 17 – Mayagüez, June 19- San Juan, and June 20 – Vieques) to ascertain near-future and long-term mapping priorities. The partners unanimously and unambiguously stated that the mapping data collected and distributed by NCCOS is crucial to designing future monitoring activities. Based on consensus input, NCCOS is targeting FY09 ship-based acoustical mapping along the shelf edge south of Vieques. This area has been identified as an active fishing area with numerous known spawning aggregation of federally managed species, but is presently unprotected by any management measures. The data collected by NCCOS will provide a critical spatial link, integrated with visual fishery assessment conduct by the Caribbean Fishery Management Council that will ultimately drive updated conservation measures and management actions.