Expeditions | Oceana USA

Central and Northern Oregon Coast 2013

Preserving Special Places

Because of the essential role corals and sponges play in supporting healthy fish populations, these habitats warrant special protection under our national fisheries law as Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).

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Overview

Identifying and documenting the ocean’s most sensitive hotspots is a critical step to ensuring a vibrant ocean ecosystem that includes a healthy ocean food web and sustainable fisheries into the future.

On the ocean floor, vibrant and beautiful corals, sponges, and invertebrates provide three-dimensional habitat structures critical to supporting healthy populations of groundfish species—like rockfish, Pacific Ocean perch, and Pacific cod—as well as non-commercial marine life like sea stars, nudibranchs, and octopuses. Because of the essential role corals and sponges play in supporting healthy fish populations, these habitats warrant special protection under our national fisheries law (the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act) as Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).

In accordance with the EFH review process, Oceana proposed 1,413 square miles off the coast of Oregon, including pristine rocky reef habitats and deep sea canyons and ridges, be protected from bottom trawling. These areas build upon existing conservation areas and support the delicate living seafloor species like gorgonian corals, black corals, stony corals, bubble gum corals, branching sponges, and glass sponges.

This expedition follows similar expeditions conducted by Oceana in 2011 off the coast of southern Oregon, where we captured images and video of never-before-seen seafloor habitats and amazing biological communities. Such expeditions were also performed in 2010 and 2011 off the coast of Monterey Bay, California which further supported Oceana’s efforts to protect key ocean hotspots.

Identifying and documenting the ocean’s most sensitive hotspots is a critical step to ensuring a vibrant ocean ecosystem that includes a healthy ocean food web and sustainable fisheries into the future.

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