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How NMFS Uses GIS

Fishery Management

GIS provides a broad perspective required to view fisheries holistically and to consider numerous interacting factors that influence how fisheries operate and are managed. Fisheries managers use GIS to develop management options and alternatives by analyzing temporal and spatial variability in catch rates, fishing effort, bycatch, and other data. GIS has been used to evaluate the potential impact of marine protected areas and fishery closures designed to reduce bycatch and to identify and map Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). GIS gives managers the ability to analyze fishing patterns throughout the U.S. EEZ, and to consider potential impacts on the stocks, protected species, and interaction with other fisheries. This technology has greatly enhanced the ability to get the big picture of fisheries while also providing the detail needed to make sound management decisions.

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