The Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996, identifying the contribution of habitat loss and degradation on fishery declines, amended the Magnuson-Stevens Act to create a program to protect “essential fish habitat.” The statute defined EFH as “those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity.” The legislation authorized a regulatory program to provide detailed identification of such habitat and obligatory consultation regarding all fishery and non-fishery activities receiving federal funding, permitting, or authorization that could impact EFH. The Council has taken the first step with the approval of the Habitat Plan identifying and describing in detail EFH for species managed throughout the South Atlantic and with the approval of the Comprehensive Habitat Amendment amending all existing FMPs to include descriptions of EFH and EFH-habitat areas of particular concern (EFH-HAPCs).
|Data Layer||Metadata||Data Download (zip file)|
|Dolphin Wahoo EFH||Metadata||Shapefile|
|Spiny Lobster EFH||Metadata||Shapefile|
|Coastal Migratory Pelagics EFH||Metadata||Shapefile|
|Golden Crab EFH||Metadata||Shapefile|
|Snapper Grouper EFH||Metadata||Shapefile|
|Coral, Coral Reefs, Live or Hard Bottom EFH||Metadata||Shapefile|
Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) that is particularly important to the long-term productivity of populations of one or more managed species, or particularly vulnerable to degradation, should be identified as "habitat areas of particular concern" (HAPC) to help provide additional focus for conservation efforts. As a result of the Sustainable Fisheries Act Amendment to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1996 the Councils and the NMFS have been mandated to use an ecosystem approach in managing the Nation's Fisheries. The Council took the first step with the approval of the Habitat Plan identifying and describing in detail EFH for species managed throughout the South Atlantic and with the approval of the Comprehensive Habitat Amendment amending all existing FMPs to include descriptions of EFH and EFH-HAPCs. Due to their important ecological function, areas of the offshore pelagic environments discussed above and the associated benthic habitats represent EFH-HAPCs and were designated as such though previous Council actions.
|Data layer||Metadata||Shapefile||google Earth|
|Dolphin-Wahoo EFH-HAPC||Metadata||Zip File ~8 kb||KMZ|
|Coastal Migratory Pelagics EFH-HAPC||Metadata||Zip File ~238 kb||KMZ|
|Shrimp EFH-HAPC||Metadata||Zip File ~2 mb||KMZ|
|Spiny Lobster EFH-HAPC||Metadata||Zip File ~2.8 mb||KMZ|
|Snapper Grouper EFH-HAPC||Metadata||Zip File ~28 mb||KMZ|
|Coral, Coral Reef and Live or Hard Bottom EFH-HAPC||Metadata||Zip File ~2 mb||KMZ|
|Tilefish EFH-HAPC||Metadata||Zip File ~23kb||KMZ|
Deepwater Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (Deepwater Coral HAPCs) have been designated off the coast of the southern Atlantic states in which the use of specified fishing gear and methods and the possession of coral is prohibited. Within the Deepwater Coral HAPCs, fishing zones have been established that allow continued fishing on the historical grounds for golden crab and deepwater shrimp. This designation protects what is thought to be the largest distribution of pristine deepwater coral ecosystems in the world.
|METADATA||Tab Delimited Coordinates||SHAPEFILE||GOOGLE EARTH|
|Deepwater Coral HAPCs||Metadata||Zip File ~11kb||KMZ|
|Blake Ridge Diapir||BlakeRidgeDiapir.txt|
|Golden Crab Access Area A||GCAA_A.txt||KMZ|
|Golden Crab Access Area B||GCAA_B.txt||KMZ|
|Golden Crab Access Area C||GCAA_C.txt||KMZ|
|Golden Crab Northern Access Area||GCAA_Northern.txt||KMZ|
|Golden Crab Southern Access Area||GCAA_Southern.txt||KMZ|
|Shrimp Fishery Access Area 1|
|Shrimp Fishery Access Area 2||SFAA_2.txt||KMZ|
|Shrimp Fishery Access Area 3||SFAA_3.txt||KMZ|
|Shrimp Fishery Access Area 4||SFAA_4.txt||KMZ|
In 1984, the South Atlantic Council recognized the special significance of the Oculina Bank habitat and designated the Oculina Bank as a Habitat Area of Particular Concern. This action closed a 92–square–kilometer (300 square miles) area to trawling, dredging, longlining, and trapping. Additional restrictions apply to anchoring and possession of rock shrimp and Oculina while in this area.
|Oculina HAPC||Metadata||Zip File ~16kb||KMZ|
|Oculina Experimental Closed Area (OECA)||Metadata||Zip File ~7kb||KMZ|
Eight deepwater Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been established in the South Atlantic region through implementation of Amendment 14 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan. The MPAs are designed to protect a portion of the long-lived, "deep water" snapper grouper species such as snowy grouper, speckled hind, and blueline tilefish. The MPAs range in size from 2 X 4 to 10 X 15 nautical miles.
|Deepwater Marine Protected Areas||Metadata||Zip File ~16kb||KML|
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's (SAFMC) role is to develop fishery management plans needed to manage fishery resources within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending from state waters (three miles in the south Atlantic) to 200 nautical miles. The 1996 Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA) was passed by Congress to protect marine fish stocks with requirements to prevent and stop overfishing, minimize bycatch, and protect habitat. These layers geographically represents prohibitions on the use of various gear (to fish for and retain snapper grouper species) within the SAFMC EEZ.
|Roller Rig Trawls||Metadata||Zip File ~70kb||KMZ|
|Sargassum||Metadata||Zip File ~75kb||KMZ|
|Black Sea Bass Pots||Metadata||Zip File ~30kb||KMZ|
|Bottom Longlines||Metadata||Zip File ~90kb||KMZ|
|Fish Traps||Metadata||Zip File ~73kb||KMZ|
|Octocorals||Metadata||Zip File ~ 48kb||KMZ|
Since 1983, the Council has allowed the designation of Special Management Zones (SMZs) as an incentive to create artificial reefs and fish attraction devices to increase the numbers of fish in an area and/or create fishing opportunities that would not otherwise exist. Many of these areas have been established through cooperation with fishing organizations and local governments and serve as a means to promote localized conservation and positive fishing experiences.
|Special Management Zones (SMZs)||Metadata||Zip File ~17kb|
In 2016, the Council approved Snapper Grouper Amendment 36 that would implement spawning Special Management Zones (SMZs) to protect important areas used by snapper grouper species for reproducing. Spawning SMZs are designed to protect areas important for spawning, such as areas where spawning has been observed or likely to occur in the South Atlantic Region.
|Effective July 31, 2017||METADATA||SHAPEFILE||GOOGLE EARTH|
|Special Management Zones (SMZs)||Metadata||Zip File ~5kb|