SAFMC GIS Data

Essential Fish Habitat

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
Shrimp 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

EFH-Habitat Areas of Particular Concern

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 (Coral HAPCs)

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
Cape Lookout
Cape Fear CapeFear.txt
Stetson-Miami Terrace
Pourtales Terrace PourtalesTerrace.txt
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

Oculina Habitat Area of Particular Concern

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.

  METADATA SHAPEFILE GOOGLE EARTH
Oculina HAPC Metadata Zip File ~16kb KMZ
Oculina Experimental Closed Area (OECA) Metadata Zip File ~7kb KMZ

Deepwater Marine Protected Areas

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.

  METADATA SHAPEFILE GOOGLE EARTH
Deepwater Marine Protected Areas Metadata Zip File ~16kb KML

Restricted Gear

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.

GEAR METADATA SHAPEFILE GOOGLE EARTH
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