Home > Explore Data & Reports > Characterization of Navassa National Wildlife Refuge: A preliminary report for NF-06-05 (NOAA ship Nancy Foster, April 18-30, 2006)


Piniak, G.A., C.M. Addison, B.P. Degan, A.V. Uhrin, and T.S. Viehman. 2006. Characterization of Navassa National Wildlife Refuge: A preliminary report for NF-06-05 (NOAA ship Nancy Foster, April 18-30, 2006). NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 38. Beaufort, NC. 48 pp.

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NOAA Technical Memorandum

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Navassa is a small, undeveloped island in the Windward Passage between Jamaica and Haiti. It was designated a National Wildlife Refuge under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1999, but the remote location makes management and enforcement challenging, and the area is regularly fished by artisanal fishermen from Haiti. In April 2006, the NOAA Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research conducted a research cruise to Navassa. The cruise produced the first high-resolution multibeam bathymetry for the area, which will facilitate habitat mapping and assist in refuge management. A major emphasis of the cruise was to study the impact of Haitian fishing gear on benthic habitats and fish communities; however, in 10 days on station only one small boat was observed with five fishermen and seven traps. Fifteen monitoring stations were established to characterize fish and benthic communities along the deep (28-34 m) shelf, as these areas have been largely unstudied by previous cruises. The fish communities included numerous squirrelfishes, triggerfishes, and parrotfishes. Snappers and groupers were also present but no small individuals were observed. Similarly, conch surveys indicated the population was in low abundance and was heavily skewed towards adults. Analysis of the benthic photoquadrats is currently underway. Other cruise activities included installation of a temperature logger network, sample collection for stable isotope analyses to examine trophic structure, and drop camera surveys to ground-truth habitat maps and overhead imagery.

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