This report stems from a workshop entitled “Technical Workshop on Impacts to Coastal Fishery Habitat from Nonfishing Activities,” which was held January 10 – 12, 2005 in Mystic, CT. The workshop convened a group of experts in the field of environmental, marine habitat, and fisheries impact assessment from federal and state government agencies. The goals of the workshop were to: (1) describe known and potential adverse effects of human induced, nonfishing activities on fisheries habitats; (2) create a matrix of the degree of impacts associated with various activities in riverine, estuarine, and marine habitats; and (3) develop a suite of best management practices (BMPs) and conservation recommendations that could be used to avoid or minimize adverse impacts to fisheries habitats. Refer to Chapter One-Technical Workshop on Impacts to Coastal Fisheries Habitat from Nonfishing Activities, for a detailed summary of the technical workshop.
The general purpose and goals of this report are to:
- Identify human activities that may adversely impact Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) and other coastal fishery habitat. As Stevenson et al. (2004) characterized the impacts to EFH from fishing activities in the northeast region, the focus of this report is on nonfishing activities.
- Review and characterize existing scientific information regarding human-induced impacts to EFH and other coastal fishery habitat.
- Provide BMPs and conservation measures that can be implemented for specific types of activities that avoid or minimize adverse impacts to EFH and other coastal fishery habitat.
- Provide a comprehensive reference document for use by federal and state marine resource managers, permitting agencies, professionals engaged in marine habitat assessment activities, the regulated community, and the public.
- Ensure that the best scientific information is available for use in making sound decisions with respect to project planning, environmental assessment, and permitting.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service is mandated to protect and conserve fishery resources, an activity which includes engaging in consultation with federal agencies on actions that may adversely affect NOAA’s trust resources. It is anticipated that the information in this report will be used to assist federal agencies and their consultants in the preparation of impact assessments for EFH and other NOAA’s trust resources. In addition, this report will assist National Marine Fisheries Service habitat specialists in: (1) reviewing proposed projects; (2) considering potential impacts that may adversely affect NOAA’s trust resources; and (3) providing consistent and scientifically supported conservation recommendations. This report will also provide insight for the public and the regulated community on the issues of concern to National Marine Fisheries Service along with approaches to design and implementation of projects that avoid and minimize adverse effects to fish habitat.