Monitoring Programs of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico: Inventory, Development and Use of a Large Monitoring Database to Map Fish and Invertebrate Spatial Distributions


Arnaud Grüss, University of MiamiFollow
Holly A. Perryman, University of Miami
Elizabeth A. Babcock, University of Miami
Skyler R. Sagarese, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center
James T. Thorson, Fisheries Resource Analysis and Monitoring Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center
Cameron H. Ainsworth, University of South Florida
Evan John Anderson, University of Southern Mississippi
Kenneth Brennan, Southeast Fisheries Science Center--Beaufort Laboratory
Matthew D. Campbell, Southeast Fisheries Science Center--Mississippi Laboratories
Mary C. Christman, MCC Statistical Consulting LLC
Scott Cross, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information
Michael D. Drexler, University of South Florida
J. Marcus Drymon, Mississippi State UniversityFollow
Chris L. Gardner, Southeast Fisheries Science Center--Panama City Laboratory
David S. Hanisko, Southeast Fisheries Science Center--Mississippi Laboratories
Jill Hendon, University of Southern MississippiFollow
Christopher C. Koenig, Florida State University
Matthew Love, Ocean Conservancy Gulf Restoration Program
Fernando Martinez-Andrade, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Jack Morris, Mote Marine Laboratory
Brandi T. Noble, Southeast Fisheries Science CenterFollow
Matthew A. Nuttall, University of Miami
Jason Osborne, Everglades National Park
Christy Pattengill-Semmens, Reef Environmental Education Foundation
Adam G. Pollack, Southeast Fisheries Science CenterFollow
Tracey T. Sutton, Nova Southeastern University
Theodore S. Switzer, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


Since the onset of fisheries science, monitoring programs have been implemented to support stock assessments and fisheries management. Here, we take inventory of the monitoring programs of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GOM) surveying fish and invertebrates and conduct a gap analysis of these programs. We also compile a large monitoring database encompassing much of the monitoring data collected in the U.S. GOM using random sampling schemes and employ this database to fit statistical models to then map the spatial distributions of 61 fish and invertebrate functional groups, species and life stages of the U.S. GOM. Finally, we provide recommendations for improving current monitoring programs and designing new programs, and guidance for more comprehensive use and sharing of monitoring data, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the inputs provided to stock assessments and ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) projects in the U.S. GOM. Our inventory revealed that 73 fisheries-independent and fisheries-dependent programs have been conducted in the U.S. GOM, most of which (85%) are still active. One distinctive feature of monitoring programs of the U.S. GOM is that they include many fisheries-independent surveys conducted almost year-round, contrasting with most other marine regions. A major sampling recommendation is the development of a coordinated strategy for collecting diet information by existing U.S. GOM monitoring programs for advancing EBFM.

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Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries





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