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Conserving, Restoring and Managing the United States Caribbean Fishery Resources, in the EEZ Around Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands
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CFMC FISHERY MANAGEMENT PLANS

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT



Image taken from NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 115

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What is Essential Fish Habitat?

Fish require healthy surroundings to survive and reproduce. Essential fish habitat includes all types of aquatic habitat—wetlands, coral reefs, seagrasses, rivers—where fish spawn, breed, feed, or grow to maturity.

NOAA Fisheries works with the regional fishery management councils to identify the essential habitat for every life stage of each federally managed species using the best available scientific information. Essential fish habitat has been described for approximately 1,000 managed species to date.

NOAA and the councils also identified more than 100 “habitat areas of particular concern” or HAPCs. These are considered high priority areas for conservation, management, or research because they are rare, sensitive, stressed by development, or important to ecosystem function.

Impacts

Impacts from certain fishing practices as well as coastal and marine development threaten to alter, damage, or destroy these habitats. NOAA, the regional fishery management councils, and other federal agencies work together to minimize these threats. In addition, many projects conducted by NOAA’s Restoration Center focus on restoring essential fish habitat.

Productive commercial and recreational fisheries are inextricably linked to healthy marine habitats; protecting and restoring them will help support fishing communities now and for generations to come.

taken from http://ccma.nos.noaa.gov/ecosystems/coastalocean/efh_pr.aspx

 

Essential Fish Habitat - Habitat Areas of Particular Concern

General Description:
Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPC) are subcategories of Essential Fish Habitat. Fish require healthy surroundings to survive and reproduce. Essential fish habitat includes all types of aquatic habitat – wetlands, coral reefs, sea-grasses, rivers – where fish spawn, breed, feed, or grow to maturity. Essential fish habitat has been described for approximately 1,000 managed species to date.

CMSP Reason:
Whenever Federal agencies authorize, fund, or carry out actions that may affect critical habitat, they must consult with NMFS under Section 7 of the ESA. Federal agencies may not undertake, authorize or fund activities that are likely to adversely modify or destroy CH. If NMFS determines through consultation, that a proposed activity is likely to destroy or adversely modify critical habitat it will work with the Federal agency to develop reasonable and prudent alternatives to the activity.

Spatial Coverage:
The EFH-HAPC product layer is available for most of the coastal regions of the United States including Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Caribbean.

Taken from http://ccma.nos.noaa.gov/ecosystems/coastalocean/efh_pr.aspx

 

Essential Fish Habitat Generic Amendment

EFH GENERIC AMEND - Essential Fish Habitat Generic Amendment to the Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) of the U.S. Caribbean Including a Draft Environmental Assessment. October 1998

Final Environmental Impact Statement

FEIS to the EFH - For The Generic Essential Fish Habitat Amendment to: Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan, Queen Conch Fishery Management Plan, Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan, Coral Fishery Management Plan for the U.S. Caribbean. March 2004

 

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