Advances in Coastal Atlases, Habitat Mapping, and Habitat Assessment Science to Support Fisheries and Ecosystem Decisions

Recent advances in habitat assessments and improved access to spatial data have built the foundation for improved fisheries science and management. This symposium will highlight research connecting fisheries and habitat science; provide information about regional and national marine mapping, coastal atlas, and data initiatives; and identify methods for improving fisheries management using these new tools. Habitat assessments consolidate, analyze, and report the best available information on habitat characteristics relative to the population dynamics of a species. The goal of a habitat assessment is to support management decisions by providing information on how habitats contribute to the production and health of fisheries and the ecosystems upon which they rely. This session will present research which advances habitat science in support of fisheries management. Improved habitat assessments will contribute to assessments of ecosystem services, prepare for management challenges associated with climate change, and contribute to ecosystem-based fishery management, integrated ecosystem assessments, and coastal and marine spatial planning. Habitat assessments will also improve identification of essential fish habitat and habitat areas of particular concern, assess impacts to these areas, enable a reduction in habitat-related uncertainty in stock assessments, and allow ecosystem considerations and spatial analyses to be accounted for in management decisions.  In order to build upon and implement these habitat assessments, there is a significant need for reliable, standardized habitat information throughout marine and estuarine environments. New web-based coastal atlases and nearshore mapping databases integrate vast amounts of marine resource information and make it available to potential users.  This data has many applications for fisheries management and research.  This symposium will provide a forum to showcase regional-scale coastal habitat datasets and share innovations in coastal habitat inventory, classification, and modeling.  The symposium will provide participants with additional tools and resources for habitat research and habitat management.
Cindy Hartmann Moore, Kirsten Larsen and Joe Nohner
Joe Nohner, Cindy Hartmann Moore, Kristan Blackhart, Mary Yoklavich, Steve K. Brown, Kirsten Larsen, John Harper, Mary C. Morris, Mandy R. Lindeberg and Kathy Taylor
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