FY2010 Pilot Projects: Improving the Use of Habitat Information in Stock Assessments

Incorporating Sediment and Hydrography Data in Assessments for Tilefish and Lobster

Principal Investigator: John A. Quinlan
Co-Principal Investigator: John F. Walter
External Collaborator: Yong Chen (University of Maine)

American LobsterFish and crustaceans, such as golden tilefish and American lobsters, living in the ocean respond to environmental variables such as temperature, salinity, sediment type, and bottom structure. These environmental covariates are just one aspect of the suite of factors that determine where these animals live, how abundant they are, and how they grow.

Historically, measuring the ocean environment in a meaningful way over the range of the animals has been challenging. When environmental information was available, it was an additional challenge to utilize the data properly. Today though, there are a variety of tools available to make decent measurements of the ocean environment, and there are new analytical tools to make the quantitative links between organism abundance and the environment.

Golden TilefishScientists at the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center and the University of Maine are collaborating on a project that will make use of these tools to improve management of golden tilefish in the Gulf of Mexico and American lobster in the Gulf of Maine.

Habitat Modeling of Atlantic Blue Marlin with SEAPODYM and Satellite Tags

Principal Investigator: Michael J. Schirripa
Co-Principal Investigator: Eric Prince
External Collaborator: Jiangang Luo (University of Miami), Patrick Lehodey (CLS)

The use of habitat modeling is becoming a common approach for standardization of catch per unit of effort (CPUE) allowing one to incorporate environmental influences on the distribution of fishes (ICCAT, 2004). We are modeling the habitat of Atlantic blue marlin using an approach developed for a Spatial Ecosystem And Populations Dynamics Model (SEAPODYM). The model will be calibrated and evaluated using fishing data and electronic tagging data. While the results will be useful for CPUE standardization, they will also provide the first step toward a full application of SEAPODYM to investigate spatial population dynamics of blue marlin and to develop stock assessment studies. The SEAPODYM model will provide an estimate of the spatial distribution of blue marlin habitat. This estimated distribution will be a new piece of information not currently available to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). This study is also a preparatory phase to investigate in more detail the spatial population dynamics of blue marlin and to develop stock assessments studies with a new generation of model not yet used by ICCAT, and that can be compared to other stock assessment models estimates.

Deploying Satellite      Pop Up Satellite

Relating Population Abundance of Groundfish Species to Habitats Using Predictive Models and Broad-scale Seafloor Maps

Principal Investigator: Mary Yoklavich
Co-Principal Investigator: Lisa Wedding

Mary YoklavichDeep rocky banks and outcrops, underwater pinnacles, and submarine canyons are important habitats for hundreds of species of demersal fishes in California waters. Rocky areas on the continental shelf and upper slope off central California are dominated by more than 40 species of rockfishes, of which seven have been declared overfished by NOAA Fisheries. Sedentary rockfishes living in heterogeneous high-relief rocky habitats are particularly difficult to appraise accurately with conventional methods such as bottom-trawl gear. The first objective of this project is to develop statistical models that predict densities of individual demersal fish species and multispecies fish assemblages over broad spatial scales. We will base these models on a number of associated habitat variables (e.g. depth, substratum type, patch size and configuration) and the densities of co-occurring fish species, using a subset of our database from central California. Issues related to spatial scale also will be explored. The second objective is to couple these models with the broad-scale seafloor habitat maps in a geographical information systems (GIS) environment to forecast fish densities on a regional basis. Such efforts have been limited in deep water systems because of the lack of detailed habitat maps from which broad-scale fish densities can be derived. RockfishThe recent availability of detailed and accurate habitat maps from the multibeam-acoustic surveys of the seafloor within California’s territorial waters makes this proposed effort possible. From these predictive models and maps of density for various demersal species, population size (total abundance and biomass, when coupled with size composition) can be estimated in the study area. , in addressing such needs as (1) the design and monitoring of marine protected areas, (2) identification of essential fish habitats, and (3) identification of areas important to the restoration or rebuilding of depleted stocks.

Region

Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC)

Products - Reports

FY10 Annual Report

Products – Publications & Media Links

Region

Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC)

Products - Reports

Final Report, FY10 Annual Report

Products – Publications & Media Links

ICCAT Proposal

Region

Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC)

Products - Reports

FY10 Annual Report, FY11 Annual Report

Products – Publications & Media Links