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Incorporating Habitat Science into the Assessment & Management of Fishery Stocks Caribbean Fishery Management Council August 13, 2014. Tony Marshak , 2014 NOAA Sea Grant John A. Knauss Fellow NOAA Fisheries Service, Office of Science and Technology. Outline.

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Incorporating Habitat Science into the Assessment & Management of Fishery StocksCaribbean Fishery Management CouncilAugust 13, 2014

Tony Marshak, 2014 NOAA Sea Grant John A. Knauss Fellow

NOAA Fisheries Service, Office of Science and Technology

  • Habitat Assessment Improvement Plan
  • Habitat Assessment Prioritization of Stocks
  • Inshore/Offshore Pilot Projects
  • Regional Habitat Science and LMRs
habitat assessment improvement plan
Habitat Assessment Improvement Plan
  • The HAIP defines NMFS’ role in pursuing habitat science, and in developing habitat assessments to meet its mandated responsibility to sustain marine fisheries and associated habitats.
  • Fisheries Habitat Science Working Group
  • A habitat assessment is the process/products associated with the best available information on habitat characteristics relative to the population dynamics of fishery species and other LMRs.
    • The ultimate goal of a habitat assessment is to determine the function of habitats in relation to fishery production and ecosystems
    • This supports management decisions that are a mandated responsibility of NOAA
haip recommendations
HAIP Recommendations
  • Engage partners within and outside of NOAA
  • Develop habitat science budget/staffing initiatives
  • Initiate demonstration projects incorporating habitat data into stock assessments
  • Convene regional and national habitat science workshops
  • Develop a NOAA-wide strategic plan for habitat science
  • Prioritize stocks & geographical locations for habitat assessment
haip habitat assessment prioritization
(HAIP) Habitat Assessment Prioritization
  • NMFS should develop criteria to prioritize stocks and geographic locations that would benefit from habitat science and assessment
  • NMFS should identify and prioritize data inadequacies for stocks and their respective habitats, as relevant to information gaps identified in the HAIP
habitat assessment prioritization
Habitat Assessment Prioritization
  • Stock prioritization results are intended to help guide:
    • Science planning
    • Funding allocation
  • Prioritization now complete for SW & NW; in progress for PI, NE, and AK
  • Efforts are beginning for the SE region with all three councils
  • Knowing council research priorities would help greatly in these prioritizations

Prioritization Process

Habitat Scientists


Stock Assessment Scientists

Initial Pool of Stocks (FMP)

Filter Criteria (Y/N)

Stocks not meeting Filter Criteria

Stocks meeting Filter Criteria

Scorable Criteria

High Priority Stocks for Habitat Science

Low Priority Stocks for Habitat Science

Medium Priority Stocks for Habitat Science

stock assessment improvement

Initial Pool of Stocks (FMP)

Stock Assessment Improvement

Stocks not meeting Minimum Criteria

Filter Criteria (Y/N)

Scorable Criteria, 0 – 5 pts each

Filter Criteria

  • FSSI stock or Council research priority
  • Likely to benefit a stock assessment (and inform EFH)
  • Benefit to stock assessment survey or model
  • Fisheries status (e.g. overfished)
  • Habitat disturbance, vulnerability, and rarity
  • Habitat dependence
  • Ecological importance
  • Economic, social, managerial value

Stocks meeting Minimum Criteria

Scorable Criteria

High Priority Stocks

Low Priority Stocks

Medium Priority Stocks

regional habitat science and lmrs
Regional Habitat Science and LMRs
  • NMFS Inshore/Offshore Pilot Projects
  • NMFS Pacific Groundfish Habitat Mapping (EFH)
  • Queen conch habitat-stock abundance surveys

“Habitat is the currency for Ecosystem Based Management” – Michael Parke, PIFSC

inshore offshore pilot projects
Inshore/Offshore Pilot Projects
  • 2nd National Habitat Assessment Workshop (NHAW2): Understanding the link between inshore habitat and offshore fisheries production has been identified as a high priority knowledge gap
  • Three pilot projects jointly funded by OST & OHC
north atlantic pilot project
North Atlantic Pilot Project

Restoring Access to Diadromous Fish Habitat and Linkages to Forage Fish Biomass in the North Atlantic Large Marine Ecosystem

Drs. Wes Patrick (OSF), Tom Miller (U Maryland), and JP Walsh (E Carolina University)

  • Goal: Predict long-term biological and sociological benefits of restoring diadromous fish habitat
  • Progress: Historic ranges and abundances of American shad and river herring show substantial declines from pristine conditions as a loss of habitat quality and accessibility over time.
mid atlantic pilot project
Mid-Atlantic Pilot Project

Parameterizing the Relationship Between Inshore Habitat Quantity and Quality and Summer Flounder Production

Drs. Howard Townsend (NCBO), Tom Ihde (NCBO), David Stevenson (GARFO), and John Manderson (NEFSC)

Goal: To provide habitat managers with methods to quantify the cumulative impacts of inshore habitat loss and degradation on the survival/production of juvenile summer flounder.

  • Progress: Using the Chesapeake Atlantis Model (CAM) and datasets compiled from ASMFC’s Atlantic Coast Fish Habitat Program, scientists are finding that marsh loss strongly impacts forage fish.
west coast pilot project
West Coast Pilot Project

Pacific Marine and Estuarine Fish Habitat Partnership Nursery Assessment

PMEP Steering Committee and Assessment Team (KristanBlackhart, Dr. Correigh Greene, Korie Schaefer, John Bragg et al.)

Goals: Identify key threats and limiting factors to juvenile fish, and describe the role of nearshore habitats to offshore stock recruitment.

Progress: Inventory and classification of West Coast estuaries is complete, and spatial framework is being further refined to support modeling. Ongoing collection of data on fish abundance and habitat quantity/quality. A State of the Knowledge Report on 15 species that utilize estuary nursery habitats will be available in September 2014.

adaptation for inshore offshore work
Adaptation for inshore-offshore work

Estuary characteristics

  • Amount of habitat
  • Temperature
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • Urbanization

Fish characteristics

  • Abundance
  • Distance from estuary
  • Recruitment size

Estuary characteristic

Offshore abundance

Hypothetical abundance of an estuarine or nearshore nursery species

mapping of pacific groundfish habitat
Mapping of Pacific groundfish habitat
  • Groundfish EFH
  • Habitat-based predictions of distribution and abundance
  • This is being used to refine five-year EFH designations with the council

GIS Plotting of Conch Stock Surveys

- Determine conch locations with transect GPS start/endpoints

- Time of encounter  Distance

- Habitat, depth, conch size/stage

- GIS Spatial Analyst Density calculator

tan-1 y/x =θ

Dcos,sinθ= x, y




1995-96 Densities

Marshak et al. 2006 Proc. GCFI

Marshak 2009 SEAMAP Report




  • Identification of locations important to the life history of PR queen conch
  • Demonstrate spatial dynamics of the stock and potential areas for protection
  • Can enhance EBFM
  • NOAA continues to make advancements in the incorporation of habitat into stock assessment and monitoring
  • Continued initiatives and support for habitat science will enhance stock management and EBFM
  • Habitat prioritization of stocks is being initiated for the SE region, including council priorities
  • Spatial analyses and habitat science can be applied to the management of Caribbean stocks
more information
More Information

Science and Technology Habitat Science:

Habitat Assessment Improvement Plan

NOAA Habitat Blueprint:

Habitat Science Pilot Projects: