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RECA: Coastal Assessments

ABL Home
Recruitment, Energetics, & Coastal Assessment
Recruitment Energetics
Coastal Assessment:
Gulf of Alaska
Coastal Mapping
Program Activities:
Data Sets
School of fish in the nearshore of Pt. Hope, AK
School of fish in the nearshore of Pt. Hope, AK
Young of the year Gadids (cod family), Aleutian Islands, AK
Young of the year Gadids (cod family), Aleutian Islands, AK

Nearshore habitats are some of the most important in Alaska and the most vulnerable to climate change and human disturbance. The nearshore environment provides a mosaic of habitat types that are used by many fish species for spawning, feeding, and rearing. Recent amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Management Act establish new provisions which direct the National Marine Fisheries Service to identify and describe essential fish habitat in federal Fishery Management Plans. Essential fish habitat is defined as "those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity." However, a better understanding is needed on the importance of the nearshore to commercially important fish species and how they can be managed responsibly in an ecosystem approach

Our research group is presently quantifying and identifying fish habitats in Alaska through nearshore fish surveys, long term monitoring and coastal habitat mapping. This is no small task considering Alaska has over 70,000 km of coastline and 3.3 million km2 of marine waters (Exclusive Economic Zone). There are four major oceans surrounding Alaska and hundreds of fish species utilizing a multitude of habitats. Recruitment Energetics and Coastal Assessment researchers are therefore involved in studies all over the state of Alaska and the challenges they present (e.g. Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, Aleutian Is., Bering Sea, Yukon Delta, Gulf of Alaska, Prince William Sound, and southeastern Alaska).

Ron Heintz
Auke Bay Laboratories
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries

Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
17109 Pt Lena Loop Rd
Juneau AK 99801

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