3e. Benefits

1969/12/31 - 20:00

This project proposes to establish a mobile benthic-pelagic observatory to provide fisheries habitat researchers and Sanctuary managers with the data necessary to improve our understanding of marine habitats and assemblages in order to better manage critically important fishery stocks and Marine Sanctuary areas. We will quantify benthic community structure, species diversity, habitat characteristics, and water column properties with repeated measurements on time scales of weeks to years. At test sites containing epi-benthic communities critical to commercial fisheries along the Northeast coastal United States, we will quantify how these communities respond to system change (climate events, fishing activity, position of oceanographic features [fronts], etc) on a multiplicity of time and space scales. The data products produced by this program will help to define new approaches to identifying Essential Fish Habitat and multi-species and ecosystem based fisheries management practices.
Mobile platforms allow flexibility and rapid reaction to investigate specific features and events. Ideally, but beyond the scope of this initial proposal, we would have an increasing number of fully instrumented vessels of various size classes to pursue this approach in both inshore and offshore areas. Simultaneous collection of both high resolution optics and broader area using acoustics simultaneously allows co-registration of information and efficiency of vessel time provided by extrapolation of detail over larger scales. This is particularly germane given that the regions of interest are sufficiently expansive to make continuous surveys unrealistic and unaffordable.
Data products developed here will be served over the internet using OGC compliant approaches for near real-time consumption by end users. Interoperability and integration of massively disparate data streams will be facilitated by OOSTethys metadata standards providing context for IOOS development as a whole. Our end users and stake holders have identified a specific set of data products that would be necessary to allow characterization of EFH and for use in multi-species fisheries and Sanctuary management. We will continue to develop and refine these products as the project progresses over multiple seasons and years.