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Individual Recommendations
Jack Musick

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Rationale: migratory corridor ("bottleneck"); biodiversity
Seasons and depths important for protection: year-round; pelagic and benthic

The area off Cape Hatteras, extending out to 1,000 meters of depth, is important because, among other things, all coastal fauna that migrate into the mid-Atlantic pass through this area, including mammals, turtles, and fishes. The Gulf Stream passes close to the Cape, making this a hydrodynamic area that attracts seasonal concentrations of seabirds.


Rationale: migratory corridor
Seasons and depths important for protection: April–December critical; benthic

The coastal pathway from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to Cape May, New Jersey, up to about 19 kilometers (10.3 nautical miles) into the ocean, is important for seasonal sea turtle migrations, especially for loggerheads, leatherbacks, and Kemp’s ridleys, which take place during April through June and October through December. The turtles may be found all the way inshore, into Chesapeake Bay and Pamlico Sound.


Rationale: physical features
Seasons and depths important for protection: year-round; pelagic and benthic

Hard bottom (fossil coraline reef) along the edge of the Gulf Stream, roughly between the 50--meter and 200-meter isobaths, is the northernmost year-round outpost of a variety of tropical fishes. Sea turtles are found here from December through March.

Note: Polygon JM3 starts below polygon JM1 and overlaps half with the lower-left part of polygon PA5-CR3-JM9.

POLYGONS JM4, JM5, JM7, and JM8 (Hudson, Baltimore, Oceanographer, and Lydonia Canyons)

Rationale: physical features; biodiversity
Seasons and depths important for protection: year-round; benthic

These polygons extend from the 100-meter to 2,500--meter isobaths (500 meters deeper than Hecker’s polygons at the same locations) and comprise several major fish com-muni-ties from coastal to abyssal. These areas of upwelling and exposed rocky substrate, as well as soft substrate, provide important habitat for fishes and support high species diversity. These are important areas for tilefish, tuna, sword-fish, and lobsters. The area from 1,000-meter depth to 1,500 meters is particularly high in fish diversity.

POLYGON JM6 (Norfolk Canyon)

Rationale: physical features; biodiversity; high abundance; nursery area; also supports multiple fisheries
Seasons and depths important for protection: year-round and benthic

This is a unique ecosystem, with rocky substrate and upwelling supporting a productive environment for a wide variety of species, including their nurseries. Depths range from the 100-meter to 2,500-meter isobaths and comprise several major fish communities from coastal to abyssal. This area may contain the southern-most extent of fauna associated with red boreal outposts. The canyon area is fished for highly valuable tuna, swordfish, and lobsters. It was nominated in 1975 as a marine sanctuary but never designated.


Rationale: biodiversity; nursery area
Seasons and depths important for protection: year-round; pelagic

The shape and location of this polygon is based on Auster, Crowder, and Musick’s agreement on the average location of high-density regions of Sargassum along the Gulf Stream. Sargassum is essential habitat for Sargassum-associated fishes, fishes that serve as prey for larger pelagic predators, and as a nursery for sea turtles and many fishes.


for JM1
Coles, William, and J.A. Musick. 2000. Satellite Sea Surface Temperature Analysis and Correlation with Sea Turtle Distribution off North Carolina. Copeia.

Musick, John A., J.A. Colvocoresses, and E.J. Foell. 1985. Seasonality and the Distribution, Availability and Composition of Fish Assemblages in Chesapeake Bight. Fish Community Ecology in Estuaries and Coastal Lagoons, pp. 451–74.

for JM1, JM2, and JM3
Musick, John A., and C.J. Limpus. 1997. Habitat Utilization and Migration in Juvenile Sea Turtles. (RC Marine) Science Series.

for JM4, JM5, JM6, JM7, and JM8
Markle, D.F., and J.A. Musick. 1974. Benthic-Slope Fishes Found at 900m Depth Along a Transect in the Western North Atlantic Ocean, Marine Biology. 26: 225–33.

Middleton, Robert W., and J. A. Musick. 1996. The Abundance and Distribution of the Family Macrouridae (Pisces: Gadiformes) in the Norfolk Canyon Area. Fishery Bulletin. 84: 35–62.

Musick, John A., J. C. Desfosse, J. C. Wilk, S. McMillan, and E. Grogan. 1996. Historical Comparison of the Structure of Demersal Fish Communities Near a Deep-Sea Disposal Site in the Western North Atlantic. J. Marine Env. Eng. 3: 149–71.

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