HEPR: Essential Fish Habitat
Alaska has more than 50% of the U.S. coastline and leads the Nation in fish habitat area and value of fish harvested, yet large gaps exist in our knowledge of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) in Alaska.
Major research needs are 1) to identify habitats that contribute most to the survival, growth, and productivity of managed fish and shellfish species; and 2) to determine how to best manage and protect these habitats from human disturbance and environmental change.
Project selection for EFH research is based on research priorities from the EFH Research Implementation Plan for Alaska. Around $450,000 is spent on about ten EFH research projects each year. Project results are described in annual reports and the peer-reviewed literature. Study results contribute to existing Essential Fish Habitat data sets.
Research priorities are:
- Coastal areas facing development
- Characterize habitat utilization and productivity
- Sensitivity, impact and recovery of disturbed benthic habitat
- Validate and improve habitat impacts model
- Seafloor mapping
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