Habitat Assessment Improvement Plan Questionnaires Finalized

As chair of the Marine Fisheries Habitat Assessment Improvement Plan (HAIP) team, Mary Yoklavich (SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division’s Habitat Ecology Team Leader) finalized two questionnaires that will serve as the main data call to support this Plan. HAIP is being developed to assist NMFS in meeting the mandates of the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act, and more specifically to improve identification of EFH (Essential Fish Habitat) and to improve stock assessments by achieving a greater number of assessments that explicitly incorporate ecosystem considerations and spatial analyses.

The questionnaires have been distributed by John Boreman (Director, NMFS Office of Science and Technology) to Science Center Directors and Regional Administrators, in order to (i) identify the important types of habitat-related data and resources that will be necessary to improve stock assessments and EFH/HAPC (Habitat Area of Particular Concern) identification, and to (ii) take general inventory of habitat data currently available.

Habitat and ecosystem scientists and managers and stock assessment scientists that work with FMP (Fishery Management Plan) species are being asked to respond to Questionnaire I. Questionnaire II is directed at program directors, one from each Center and Region, to give an overview of each Center’s and Region’s habitat and population assessment programs. The results will be of great use within our agency to inform and prioritize habitat science efforts both in the short- and long-term. Deadline for completed questionnaires is on November 5.

(October 14, 2008)