New research findings on deep-sea corals and seafloor topography along the US west coast are providing important information for fishery management decisions in the region. These fragile habitats are subject to protection under the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2006. The Act gives authority to the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) to modify protection zones and to limit destructive fishing gear where deep sea corals occur.
The council will decide in April whether there is sufficient new information to warrant modifications to Essential Fish Habitat. The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science contributed new multibeam maps and data on DSC occurrences to support the process. Data came from remotely operated vehicle surveys at Olympic Coast NMS, and multibeam mapping efforts at Gulf of the Farallones NMS.
The work was a partnership with sanctuaries, US Geological Survey, NOAA Fisheries, and NOAA's Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program.
Project summary report (PDF)