Ongoing efforts and challenges for managing deep-sea corals in the Gulf of Mexico

//Ongoing efforts and challenges for managing deep-sea corals in the Gulf of Mexico
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Speaker: Morgan Kilgour, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council

Register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8236288050617849092

Sponsors: This webinar is part of a NOAA Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program webinar series to highlight research, exploration, and management of deep-sea corals and sponges around the U.S.

Seminar POC: Heather.Coleman@noaa.gov (301-427-8650)

Abstract: Currently, U.S. Fishery Management Councils have two major avenues for protecting deep-sea corals, via establishment of habitat areas of particular concern (HAPCs) or through the discretionary deep-sea coral authority outlined under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. While both avenues protect corals from fishing, only the HAPC designation requires a consultation with NMFS regarding any non-fishing activity. The Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) Fishery Management Council is in the initial stages of determining if additional areas in the Gulf warrant HAPC status for deep-sea corals. Currently, the Gulf has 11 individual HAPCs, sanctuaries or reserves that have fishing regulations totaling just over 4100 square kilometers. There are an additional 10 areas that have been defined as HAPCs but do not have fishing restrictions. The Gulf Council has convened several working groups to discuss new areas for consideration of HAPC status. Additionally, the Gulf Council is developing a new data management tool on our data portal to assist managers with management decisions. This presentation discusses the process, challenges, and type of the protection needed for deep-sea corals while working collaboratively with stakeholders.

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(Morgan Kilgour, Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council)