NOAA FISHERIES SERVICE. Habitat Assessment Prioritization

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1 NOAA FISHERIES SERVICE Habitat Assessment Prioritization

2 What is a Habitat Assessment? A habitat assessment is both the process and products associated with consolidating, analyzing, and reporting the best available information on habitat characteristics relative to the population dynamics of fishery species and other living marine resources. The ultimate goal of a habitat assessment is to determine the function of habitats in relation to fishery production and ecosystems, thereby supporting management decisions that are a mandated responsibility of NOAA. Habitat Assessment Improvement Plan (NMFS, 2010)

3 Hudson Canyon Benthic Habitats What is habitat? Two Definitions: Physical Habitats as defined in this map (Landscape Ecology definition) Stock Habitats as used by NMFS (Autecological definition) After Pierdomenico et al Tilefish Habitat

4 NOAA FISHERIES SERVICE Scheme originators: Office of Science and Technology, F/ST Habitat Assessment Prioritization Working Group (HAPWG): Report 2011 As Modified by: the Southwest Regional Habitat Assessment Prioritization Working Group: Report 2012

5 THE ISSUE: THE FUTURE OF HABITAT AND STOCK ASSESSMENT SCIENCE The Habitat Assessment Improvement Program (HAIP) recommends: NMFS should develop criteria to prioritize stocks and geographic locations that would benefit from habitat assessments. NMFS should identify and prioritize data inadequacies for stocks and their respective habitats, as relevant to information gaps identified in the HAIP.

6 THE HABITAT ASSESSMENT PRIORITIZATION PROCESS 1. Scoring is split into two separate lists to support the main objectives outlined in the HAIP: Priorities for habitat science supporting stock assessments (Stock Assessment Theme), and priorities for EFH science (EFH Science Theme).

7 THE HABITAT ASSESSMENT PRIORITIZATION PROCESS 2. Scope is focused on Federally-managed fish stocks geographic context is provided by stock area distributions and species habitat utilization patterns.

8 THE HABITAT ASSESSMENT PRIORITIZATION PROCESS 3. Process uses two types of criteria to consider each stock: Filter Criteria, which stocks must meet in order to be further considered in process; and Scorable Criteria, which assigns numeric scores independently to each stock based on its qualifications against a set rubric.

9 THE HABITAT ASSESSMENT PRIORITIZATION PROCESS 4. Weighting factors may be applied to some or all criteria categories. However, weighting must be assigned prior to scoring and the HAPWG recommends weighting be used judiciously.

10 THE HABITAT ASSESSMENT PRIORITIZATION PROCESS 5. Once final scores for each theme are calculated, eligible stocks are sorted into high/medium/low priority categories as assigned by the regional groups.

11 THE HABITAT ASSESSMENT PRIORITIZATION PROCESS 6. Each regional group should present its results in a report that provides a summarized list of stocks for each theme area, an appendix containing a table of raw scores, and additional text as needed to explain or justify scores, identify knowledge gaps and suggest research, and provide other useful information.

12 Filter Criteria (Rating Value is 0 or 1 no or yes): 1. Stock Assessment & EFH Science Themes: FMP Stock Listed in the FSSI or is a Regional FMC Priority? 2. Stock Assessment Theme: Is Habitat Assessment Likely to Benefit Stock Assessment? 3. EFH Science Theme: Is Habitat Assessment Likely to Inform EFH Science?

13 Scorable Criteria (Rating Value range 0-5 and are additive): Theme-Specific Scorable Criterion: Benefits of a Habitat Assessment to Stock Assessment Theme-Specific Scorable Criterion: Habitat Assessment Likely to Advance EFH Information Common Scorable Criterion: Fishery Status Common Scorable Criterion: Regional FMC Priority

14 Scorable Criteria (Rating Value range 0-5 and are additive): Common Scorable Criterion: Habitat Disturbance, Vulnerability, and Rarity Common Scorable Criterion: Habitat Dependence Common Scorable Criterion: Ecological Importance Common Scorable Criterion: Economic, Social, and Management Value

15 ASSEMBLY OF TEAM: NEFSC & GARFO EVALUATION OF NON-SA ISSUES ENGAGEMENT OF STOCK ASSESSMENT FOLKS FOR SA QUESTIONS REPORT TO S&T

16 Northeast HAPWG Team NEFSC GARFO Vince Guida Dave Packer Paul Rago Chris Legault Dave Stevenson Moira Kelly Mike Johnson Alison Verkade

17

18 Northeast HAPWG Stocks 1 Acadian redfish 17 Little skate 33 Silver hake (S. GB/MA) 2 American plaice 18 Longfin inshore squid 34 Smooth skate 3 Atlantic cod (GB) 19 Monkfish (GOM/N. GB) 35 Spiny dogfish 4 Atlantic cod (GOM) 20 Monkfish (S. GB/MA) 36 Summer flounder 5 Atlantic herring 21 Northern shortfin squid 37 Thorny skate 6 Atlantic mackerel 22 Ocean Pout 38 Tilefish 7 Atlantic surfclam 23 Ocean quahog 39 White hake 8 Atlantic wolffish 24 Offshore hake 40 Windowpane (GOM/GB) 9 Barndoor skate 25 Pollock 41 Windowpane (SNE/MA) 10 Black sea bass 26 Red deepsea crab 42 Winter flounder (GB) 11 Bluefish 27 Red hake (GOM/N. GB) 43 Winter flounder (GOM) 12 Butterfish 28 Red hake (S. GB/MA) 44 Winter flounder (SNE/MA) 13 Clearnose skate 29 Rosette skate 45 Winter skate 14 Haddock (GB) 30 Scup 46 Witch flounder 15 Haddock (GOM) 31 Sea scallop 47 Yellowtail flounder (CC/GOM) 16 Halibut 32 Silver hake (GOM/N. GB) 48 Yellowtail flounder (GB) 49 Yellowtail flounder (SNE/MA)

19 Scorable Criteria (Rating Value range 0-5) : Theme-Specific Scorable Criterion: Benefits of a Habitat Assessment to Stock Assessment Assessment is likely to result in: an SAIP Level 5 stock assessment, an HAIP Tier 3 habitat assessment, or improve performance within an existing SAIP Level 5 or HAIP Tier 3 assessment 5 pts. improved survey efficiency or efficacy, reduce sampling variability, or improve the analysis of fishery catch per unit of effort (CPUE) data used in a stock assessment 3 pts. provide new opportunities to develop stock assessment modeling or survey techniques that incorporate the relationships between habitat and population processes or data variability 1 pt.

20 Scorable Criteria (Rating Value range 0-5): Theme-Specific Scorable Criterion: Habitat Assessment Likely to Advance EFH Information Habitat assessment would likely provide an initial definition of EFH. - 5 pts. Habitat assessment would likely provide an increase in information sufficient to increase between EFH levels of knowledge. 4 pts. Habitat assessment would likely provide an increase in information within the existing EFH level of knowledge. 1 pt.

21 Scorable Criteria (Rating Value range 0-5): Common Scorable Criterion: Fishery Status Stock overfished, approaching overfished condition, experiencing overfishing, or in a rebuilding or recovery plan.- 5 pts. Stock is below 80% of BMSY 3 pts. Stock is fully exploited (i.e. FMSY FC 0.75*FMSY, or ABC Total Catch 0.75*ABC if no FMSY available) 2 pt. Stock status unknown, but credible info exists to suggest that stock is at risk or vulnerable to overexploitation. 1 pt. Stock not overfished, not approaching overfished condition, not experiencing overfishing, or otherwise showing any evidence of overexploitation. Or, if stock status is unknown, evidence does not suggest 0 pt.

22 Scorable Criteria (Rating Value range 0-5): Common Scorable Criterion: FMC Priority Research is identified for stock the regional FMC to address a pressing issue and satisfy the Federal requirements of the MSA.- 5 pts. Research is identified for a stock by the regional FMC to address ongoing needs of fishery management 3 pts. Research is identified for a stock by the regional FMC; however, it is not of immediate concern or necessary to manage a Federal fishery. 1 pt. Stock is not identified as a priority by the regional FMC. 0 pt.

23 Scorable Criteria (Rating Value range 0-5): The primary physical habitat of a fish stock is demonstrably rare pt. Common Scorable Criterion: Habitat Disturbance, Vulnerability, and Rarity: INDEPENDENT ADDITIONS A large portion of the habitat is disturbed due to fishing activities or other direct anthropogenic events pt. A large portion of the habitat is disturbed due to non-fishing anthropogenic activities, as a result of natural disasters, or indirect anthropogenic events pt. The primary habitat of a life stage of a fish stock is vulnerable to disturbance based on a location that is accessible or heavily used, resulting in impacts to habitat pt. The primary physical habitat of a fish stock is vulnerable or slow to recover from disturbance pt.

24 Scorable Criteria (Rating Value range 0-5): Common Scorable Criterion: Habitat Dependence There is quantitative evidence that vital rates and productivity of a stock are dependent on particular habitat (s). - 5 pts. There is a measurable difference, attributable to habitat quality and/or quantity, in a stock s density, population size, and/or an individual s condition factor. - 3 pts. While uncertainty exists due to poor or conflicting data, there is a reasonable expectation for a measurable difference, attributable to habitat quality and/or quantity, in a stock s density, population size, and/or an individual s condition factor.- 1 pt. No evidence exists to suggest that a stock s density, population size, or individual condition is linked to habitat quality and/or quantity. - 0 pt.

25 Scorable Criteria (Rating Value range 0-5): Common Scorable Criterion: Ecological Imporance - ADDITIVE The stock is an important predator. The stock consumes a high number of species (top quartile) compared to other predators at that life stage - +1 pt. The stock is important prey. The stock occurs in diets of a high number of species (top quartile) compared to other prey at that life stage.- +1 pt. The stock is a habitat-altering species. It is known to create, modify, or maintain habitat functions pt. Evidence exists that in the region of interest the stock was historically abundant, or an important predator, prey, or ecosystem engineer. +1 pt.

26 Scorable Criteria (Rating Value range 0-5): Common Scorable Criterion: Economic, Social & Management Value ADDITIVE The economic impacts of the commercial industry for this stock are in the top quartile (25%) of FMP stocks in the region.- +1 pt. The economic impacts of recreational fishing for this stock are in the top quartile (25%) of FMP stocks in the region pt. The commercial fishery for the stock has high resource management importance pt. The recreational fishery for the stock has high resource management importance pt. The stock has high social value such as cultural importance or strong localized effects on community viability, or is necessary for subsistence pt.

27 Northeast HAPWG Spreadsheet

28 STOCK ASSESSMENT Stock SA Score Priority Category Stock SA Score Priority Category Atlantic cod (GB) 32 High Atlantic herring 15 Medium Atlantic cod (GOM) 32 High American plaice 15 Medium Winter flounder (SNE/MA) 30 High Longfin inshore squid 15 Medium Atlantic wolffish 29 High Atlantic halibut 14 Medium Summer flounder 27 High Red hake (S. GB/MA) 14 Medium Winter flounder (GOM) 26 High Silver hake (S. GB/MA) 14 Medium Black sea bass 27 High Ocean quahog 14 Medium Haddock (GOM) 24 High Atlantic mackerel 14 Medium Haddock (GB) 23 High Pollock 14 Medium Yellowtail flounder (GB) 23 High White hake 13 Low Yellowtail flounder (CC/GOM) 22 High Winter skate 11 Low Acadian redfish 21 High Bluefish 10 Low Sea scallop 19 High Red deepsea crab 10 Low Thorny skate 19 High Silver hake (GOM/N. GB) 10 Low Atlantic surfclam 19 High Barndoor skate 10 Low Windowpane (GOM/GB) 19 High Goosefish (GOM/N. GB) 10 Low Witch flounder 19 High Goosefish (S. GB/MA) 10 Low Scup 18 Medium Smooth skate 9 Low Tilefish 18 Medium Spiny dogfish 9 Low Ocean pout 18 Medium Northern shortfin squid 8 Low Red hake (GOM/N. GB) 18 Medium Rosette skate 7 Low Winter flounder (GB) 16 Medium Clearnose skate 5 Low Yellowtail flounder (SNE/MA) 16 Medium Little skate 5 Low Windowpane (SNE/MA) 16 Medium Offshore hake 4 Low Butterfish 15 Medium

29 ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT Stock EFH Score Priority Category Stock EFH Score Priority Category Atlantic cod (GB) 32 High White hake 16 Medium Atlantic cod (GOM) 32 High Winter flounder (GB) 16 Medium Winter flounder (SNE/MA) 30 High Yellowtail flounder (SNE/MA) 16 Medium Winter flounder (GOM) 29 High American plaice 15 Medium Atlantic wolffish 29 High Longfin inshore squid 15 Medium Black sea bass 27 High Winter skate 14 Medium Yellowtail Flounder (GB) 26 High Ocean quahog 14 Medium Haddock (GOM) 24 High Pollock 14 Medium Summer flounder 23 High Red deepsea crab 13 Low Haddock (GB) 23 High Silver hake (GOM/N. GB) 13 Low Thorny skate 22 High Barndoor skate 13 Low Yellowtail flounder (CC/GOM) 22 High Butterfish 12 Low Windowpane (GOM/GB) 22 High Smooth skate 12 Low Ocean pout 21 High Atlantic herring 12 Low Red hake (GOM/N. GB) 21 High Atlantic mackerel 11 Low Acadian redfish 21 High Rosette skate 10 Low Sea scallop 19 Medium Goosefish (GOM/N. GB) 10 Low Atlantic surfclam 19 Medium Goosefish (S. GB/MA) 10 Low Windowpane (SNE/MA) 19 Medium Northern shortfin Squid 8 Low Witch flounder 19 Medium Clearnose skate 8 Low Scup 18 Medium Little skate 8 Low Tilefish 18 Medium Bluefish 7 Low Atlantiic halibut 17 Medium Offshore hake 7 Low Red hake (S. GB/MA) 17 Medium Spiny dogfish 6 Low Silver Hake (S. GB/MA) 17 Medium

30 Regional Habitat Assessment Prioritization for Northeastern Stocks Report of the Northeast Regional Habitat Assessment Prioritization Working Group (NE-RHAPWG) Northeast Fisheries Science Center and Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office Vincent G. Guida, David K. Stevenson, David Packer, Moira C. Kelly, Michael R. Johnson, Alison T. Verkade, Paul Rago, and Christopher Legault September 3, 2015

31 THE BEGINNING

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