Please select your home edition
Edition
Selden

Announcing the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program 2018 report to Congress

by NOAA Fisheries 1 Feb 15:06 UTC
Thorny tinselfsh swimming above dense deep sea coral mounds at 500 meters depth on the West Florida Slope. © NOAA Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries just released the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program 2018 Report to Congress (PDF, 22MB). The deep sea is the largest habitat on Earth, and the least well known.

This new report highlights the exciting discoveries of never-before-seen deep-sea coral habitats and new species found during the past two years (fiscal years 2016 and 2017), ranging from the middle of the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. It describes research activities funded by the Program to meet NOAA's mandate to identify, study, and monitor deep-sea coral areas.

Deep-sea coral habitats occur in every U.S. region, providing important ecological and fisheries benefits. NOAA's Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program, within NOAA Fisheries/Office of Habitat Conservation, uses innovative partnerships to leverage resources and provide the information needed to conserve deep-sea coral habitats.

The Program was established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA §408), to identify, locate, and map deep-sea coral habitat in consultation with U.S. regional fishery management councils. The MSA-requires a biennial report to Congress summarizing the steps taken by NOAA to identify, monitor, and protect deep-sea coral areas, including the Program's research activities and results.

The Program engages with the nation's eight regional fishery management councils and collaborates on research with other federal agencies, international partners, and nongovernmental and academic scientists.

Report findings

This Report to Congress presents an overview of the Program's science activities conducted with numerous partners in 2016 and 2017. These activities include major fieldwork initiatives in the U.S. Pacific Islands and Southeast U.S., research within NOAA sanctuaries on the West Coast, targeted analyses of data, outreach, and expansion of the nation's most comprehensive online database of deep-sea corals and sponges.

The report also describes how this research is informing ocean management issues. Fishery management councils are increasingly engaged in developing methods to manage potential impacts of deep-sea fisheries. Informed by NOAA data, the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils have become the first to protect these habitats by using their discretionary authority, while allowing continued fishing with appropriate gear. Managers in every region of the U.S. are using the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program's discoveries and scientific findings to make informed decisions.

The Program collaborates with other NOAA programs and offices, such as National Marine Sanctuaries, Ocean Exploration and Research, Fisheries science centers and regional offices, the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, and the National Centers for Environmental Information. Given the logistically challenging and expensive nature of deep-sea research, partnerships among these programs and offices have been and continue to prove essential to our shared success. Exploration, research, analysis, and management activities made possible by these collaborations are critical to understanding and managing deep-sea corals and other ocean resources that support a healthy ocean economy.

Related Articles

Lone bowhead whale sighted in Gulf of Maine
For the past few years a lone bowhead has been sighted in the waters off Cape Cod, Massachusetts This Arctic whale was more than a thousand miles from the southernmost extent of its range, socializing and feeding with other whale species before it disappeared from sight. Posted on 14 Apr
Project Protect - SCTLD Interdiction
Force Blue tackles coral disease A new video chronicles the efforts of NOAA partner Force Blue, a nonprofit that engages veterans in restoring coral ecosystems, to halt the spread of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, which is ravaging the Florida Coastal Reef Tract. Posted on 13 Apr
How will changing ocean chemistry affect shellfish
Scientists at the NEFSC Milford Lab are shining some light on ocean acidification While climate change gets most of the publicity, did you know that the ocean absorbs about a quarter of that extra carbon dioxide? Posted on 12 Apr
Second young dolphin disentangled off Florida
After suffering injuries from fishing line During a routine field survey in February, biologists from the Chicago Zoological Society's Sarasota Dolphin Research Program noticed the 2-year-old male dolphin looking underweight. Posted on 4 Apr
Oyster restoration and water quality
Oysters and oyster reefs provide important benefits to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem Oysters are filter feeders, so they help clean the water as they "eat," improving water quality. And the reefs in which they grow provide habitat for fish, crabs, and a host of other Bay species. Posted on 17 Mar
West Coast waters grow more productive
The ocean off the West Coast is shifting from several years of unusually warm conditions The ocean off the West Coast is shifting from several years of unusually warm conditions marked by the marine heat wave known as the "warm blob," toward a cooler and more productive regime that may boost salmon returns Posted on 16 Mar
NOAA supports recovery in Puerto Rico, USVI
National Ocean Service continues to provide recovery support in US Virgin Islands & Puerto Rico In December, NOAA received its second FEMA Recovery Support Mission Assignment to enable "U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Coral Reef Emergency Response and Restoration for Sustainable Ocean Economies, Food Security, and Storm Surge Mitigation." Posted on 15 Mar
Faces of whale conservation in the Pacific Islands
Postmortem examinations revealed new insights into biology and ecology of local cetaceans NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the stewardship of the nation's ocean resources, and this includes various species of cetaceans, which are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, as well as, for some species, the Endangered Species Act. Posted on 10 Mar
Help right whales: give them space
Learn how to keep right whales safe by staying at least 500 yards away NOAA scientists, resource managers, and partners are coordinating closely to solve this urgent conservation challenge. We need to do everything we can to ensure their survival. Posted on 9 Mar
New online training on whale entanglement
Recreational boaters are often the first to spot entangled whales Although only highly trained and experienced teams should attempt to disentangle whales to minimize the dangers involved to responders and whales, boaters who come across entangled whales can gather info and monitor the animals until trained teams arrive. Posted on 22 Feb
Zhik 2018 Dongfeng 728x90 BOTTOMMarine Resources BOTTOMVaikobi 2019 - Footer 1