Recent discoveries have revealed that the Mid-Atlantic Canyons host a wide array of beautiful, valuableand fragile gardens of habitat-forming deep-sea corals (DSC). On April 29-30, NCCOSscientist Brian Kinlan participated in a Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) workshop todevelop boundary alternatives to protect DSC from bottom-tending fishing gear in all major Mid-Atlanticcanyons. The purpose of thisworkshop was to examine existing boundary alternatives for DSC protection zones, and to forge a newconsensus boundary alternative that addressed concerns of major stakeholders, including the bottomtrawl fishing industry, NGO’s, and scientists.
The group reached consensus on boundary alternatives for all 15 proposed DSC zones. These 15 zonescover all 28 major canyons in the Mid-Atlantic region, comprising the vast majority of DSC habitat in theMid-Atlantic, with an area of more than 7,000 square kilometers.The MAFMC will vote on DSCprotection alternatives at their next meeting June 8-11, 2015.
This outcome was possible only through data and models developed by NCCOS. From the National DSC geodatabase to habitat suitabilitymodeling and field support of modelvalidation, NCCOS science was critical toadvancing this major place-based conservation outcome one step further towards reality.
For more information contact Brian.Kinlan@noaa.gov