Maintaining healthy habitats is essential to ecosystem-based management. According to the National Research Council, the lack of basic information on the distribution and habitat use of most early life stages of fish and the ecosystems that support them could pose a major constraint to managing fisheries.
Our national fisheries legislation calls for scientists and resource managers to identify essential fish habitat (EFH) and implement measures to protect it. In characterizing essential fish habitat, researchers need to study more than just where fish live, but answer the more complex questions of how fish production relates to a particular type and extent of habitat.
The Board is helping fishery managers and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council address this very daunting challenge by funding a variety of fish habitat-related studies. They fall under three broad topics:
The Board's Science Plan suggests a mix of research focusing on how fish relate to habitat, comparisons of fished and unfished habitat to determine impacts and recovery, gear mitigation research, and advances in technology that would enable efficient mapping and characterization of the seafloor.
Through 2008, the Board has supported 15 habitat-related projects for just under $3.5 million, of which 12 projects have been completed.
Featured on Encounters Radio, Fall 2010 | Head on down to the octopus garden with host Elizabeth Arnold and Reid Brewer, one of Alaska's most enthusiastic octopus scientists. Dutch Harbor is well known for its fishing but it turns out it may also have a plethora of octopi as well. Listen to the story
Encounters: Experiences in the North brings the sounds of the wild to a national weekly radio program on observations, experiences and reflections on the northern world around us. Visit Encounters to subscribe to podcasts and to learn more about their radio programs.