Modeling Nekton Habitat Use in Galveston Bay, Texas. An Approach to Define Essential Fish Habitat (EFH)




Clark RD
Minello TJ
Christensen JD
Caldwell PA
Monaco ME

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The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requires the identification of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for Federally managed fishery species in our Nation's marine and estuarine environments. The intent of this study is describe and discuss a method that can help estuarine resource managers define EFH; Nekton densities, from 3,864 drop samples taken over a 16 year period in Galveston Bay, were analyzed to evaluate habitat utilization between vegetated marsh edge (ME), submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), and shallow non-vegetated bottom (SNB) by brown shrimp (Farfantepenaeus aztecus), white shrimp (Litopenaeus setiferus), and pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides). Although pinfish is not Federally managed, it was selected as a test finfish candidate for the development of the described analytical technique based on data availability. The analysis was further partitioned along seasonal temperature and salinity gradients to explore the extent to which deterministic and/or stochastic factors influence habitat selection




47D Ocean Sciences & Technology: Biological Oceanography, 98F Agriculture & Food: Fisheries & Aquaculture, Availability, Bottom, Color, Conservation, Data, Definitions, Ecology, EFH, Environment, Environments, Essential Fish Habitat, Fish, Fisheries, Galveston, Galveston bay, Gulf Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Habitat, Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, Management, Marine, Marine biology, Marine fishes, Nekton, Salinity, Shrimps, Temperature, Texas, United States, Vegetation