November 20, 2006
"We've really expanded our knowledge about the extent and utilization of shallow, nearshore habitats by many fish species, and to make that knowledge more useful, we put it on the internet so that the public and resource managers can readily access this information from many areas along the Alaska shoreline," said fisheries research biologist Scott Johnson, from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Auke Bay Laboratories.
an eelgrass bed near Sitka, Alaska in summer 2006.
Photo courtesy NOAA
"We see the atlas website as dynamic and it will be updated regularly as we continue sampling throughout Alaska," said Johnson.
"It takes some effort
to learn to navigate the Nearshore Fish Atlas," said Phil
Mundy, Director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Auke
Bay Laboratories, "but we wanted the public to have the
best scientific information about some of the most productive
habitats in Alaska, which are also the most vulnerable to human
NOAA Fisheries' Auke Bay Laboratories and Alaska Regional Office collaborated on the project, pulling together information for the first stage of the project based on beach seine sampling. The atlas provides a quick reference for identifying species in areas designated for development or impacted by human disturbance. It will allow resource managers to track long-term and large-scale changes in fish distribution and habitat use that may result from global climate change. It will also help resource managers prepare biological opinions and identify habitats essential to different life stages of commercially important and forage fish species.
The fish atlas can be found at: www.fakr.noaa.gov/habitat/fishatlas/ Users are advised to use a high-speed internet connection, an Internet Explorer browser, and to turn off pop-up blockers to access the atlas. The Atlas has an enormous amount of information associated with every page: even with high speed internet some downloads are slow.
In 2007 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, will celebrate 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.
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