Priority Ocean Areas for Protection in the Mid-Atlantic
Findings of NRDC's Marine Habitat Workshop
Benthic: of or pertaining to the bottom of a water body.
Biomass: the weight of a population of fish, the spawning adult portion of that population, or the weight of several populations.
Coral reefs: large living structures of calcium carbonate produced primarily by coral polyps. Polyps are tiny organisms that build and surround them-selves with calcium-carbonate skeletons. Coral reefs can range in size from a few feet to thousands of miles.
Crustaceans: a type of invertebrate that includes lobsters, crabs, shrimps, and barnacles. They characteristically have a segmented body and exoskeleton, and paired, jointed limbs.
Demersal: fish that live on or near the ocean bottom. Also called benthic fish, groundfish, or bottom fish.
Epifauna: benthic fauna living on the substrate (as on a hard seafloor) or on other organisms.
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ): adjacent to state waters, which extend 3 miles out from the coast. The U.S. EEZ includes waters from 3 to 200 nautical miles from shore.
Fishery: the combination of fish and fishers in a region, the latter fishing for similar or the same species with similar or the same gear types.
Fishery Management Council: one of eight regional councils around the United States that are responsible for developing Fishery Management Plans in each region. Evolved out of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976.
Habitat Area of Particular Concern (HAPC): a habitat area designated by a Fishery Management Council under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976.
Infauna: benthic fauna living in the substrate and especially in the soft seafloor.
Invertebrates: animals without a backbone. In fishery-management terms, this refers to shellfish, including lobsters, clams, shrimps, oysters, crabs, and sea urchins. Many other invertebrate species are not fished.
Isobath: a line on a map connecting points of equal bathymetry, i.e., equal depth, in the ocean or another water body.
Macrofauna: large animals (for example, fish).
Megafauna: larger animals (for example, whales).
Pelagic fish: fish that live in the open ocean at or near the water’s surface and usually migrate long distances. Examples include swordfish, tuna, and many species of shark.
Adapted from Fish for the Future (Center for Marine Conservation, 1993) and Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.
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