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Research Technical Report

Using GIS Tools to Develop a Collaborative Essential Fish Habitat Proposal

de Beukelaer, S., K.F. Grimmer, J.A. Brown, and C. King (2016)

In: D.J. Wright (editor), Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutions. Esri Press. Redlands, California. p.201-220.

ABSTRACT

In 2012, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary brought together stakeholders representing different interests (e.g., fishing and conservation) to work toward a collaborative proposal to the Pacific Fishery Management Council for the design of spatial modifications to current Pacific coast groundfish essential fish habitat conservation areas. This was done by adding new areas containing sensitive resources in need of protection from bottom-trawl fishing gear and reopening some areas to gain access to historical fishing grounds of economic importance to bottom-trawl fishermen. The collaborative proposal was submitted in July 2013 after 11 months of work among stakeholders. This accomplishment was largely because of the suite of GIS tools that were employed, including GIS projects and products such as a customized ArcGIS Online map and spatial analysis tools, which helped inform discussions. GIS was used to provide a clear understanding of the current spatial management, distribution of sensitive resources, and distribution of historical and current fishing efforts. In addition, marine Sanctuary staff used desktop GIS maps during group meetings to manage discussions, enabling the group to move forward even during times of tension and disparity. Data layers were added to help elucidate the topic of conversation or focus the map on a different area to refocus the discussion. At the time of this writing, the proposal was still under consideration by the Pacific Fishery Management Council for implementation. If accepted and approved, the comprehensive essential fish habitat proposal will increase habitat protection for hundreds of known coral and sponge specimen locations, as well as reopen historically important bottom-trawling areas in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The collaborating entities that were part of the completed proposal included the Sanctuary, Alliance of Communities for Sustainable Fisheries, Monterey Bay trawl fishermen, City of Monterey, Oceana, Natural Resources Defense Council, Ocean Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, California Risk Pool, and Environmental Defense Fund.

 

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