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Sanctuary’s Open and Closed Fishing Areas Compared to Test Policy Effectiveness

Published on: 06/06/2012
Research Area(s): Marine Spatial Ecology

Scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science are comparing several areas of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary to help Sanctuary officials differentiate changes to fish populations due to natural events, or whether the changes derive from human activities.The multi-agency research cruise runs from May 27 – June 9, 2012.

The researchers gather data to compare fish communitiesand their habitat between a smallresearch-only area, closed to all fishing and diving for a limited time, with the remainder of the sanctuary where hook-and-line fishing, handlining andscuba divingare permitted.

The research area allowsinvestigations to evaluate possibleimpacts from fishingon the sanctuary’snatural resources by providing a zone free of human activities and impacts tohabitats or populations that result fromthose activities. The research area also allows scientists to moreaccurately determine the effects ofnatural events (e.g., hurricanes) andcycles (e.g., droughts) on the sanctuary, according to the October 2011Federal Register Notice.

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Gray’s Reef National Marine SanctuaryFinal Management Plan and Final Environmental ImpactStatement (PDF)

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary Program Report for October-December 2011

Savannah Morning News:Surgery at Gray’s Reef goes swimmingly

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