April 19, 2017 — The following was released by the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program:
The Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP) has released its 2016-2020 Management Plan. Prepared by the South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean components of SEAMAP, the Management Plan serves as a reference for official SEAMAP policies and procedures through 2020. The Plan also includes detailed information on SEAMAP activities and highlights how SEAMAP data meet critical needs for recent stock assessments and management decisions. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, the Plan details how SEAMAP’s core surveys have been impacted by level/declining funding. It identifies how expansions in funding could be used to refine existing assessments and advance the movement towards ecosystem-based management; ultimately, leading to more comprehensive fisheries management in the Southeast region.
SEAMAP is a cooperative state/federal/university program for the collection, management, and dissemination of fishery-independent data and information in the Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean. Representatives from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) jointly plan and conduct surveys of economically and ecologically important fish and shellfish species and the critical habitats that support them. Since 1982, SEAMAP has sponsored long-term standardized surveys that have become the backbone of fisheries and habitat management in the Southeast and Caribbean. SEAMAP currently provides the only region-wide mechanism for monitoring long-term status and trends of populations and habitats within the region.
As a cooperative effort, SEAMAP monitors the distribution and abundance of fish and other marine resources from North Carolina through Texas and into the Caribbean. SEAMAP is intended to maximize the capability of fishery-independent and associated survey activities to satisfy data and information needs of living marine resource management and research organizations in the region. The primary means of performing that task is to optimize coordination and deployment of regional surveys and provide access to the collected data through documents and online databases. Additional roles of SEAMAP are to document long- and short-term needs for fishery-independent data to meet critical management and research needs, and to establish compatible and consistent databases for ecosystem and predictive modeling applications. SEAMAP promotes coordination among data collection, processing, management, and analysis activities emphasizing those specifically concerned with living marine resource management and habitat protection, and provides a forum for coordination of other fishery-related activities.
The 2016-2020 SEAMAP Management Plan is available online at: http://bit.ly/2pw1qXM. For more information about SEAMAP, particularly the South Atlantic component, please visit www.SEAMAP.org or contact Shanna Madsen, SEAMAP-SA Coordinator, at email@example.com or 703.842.0740.