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Layer: Estuarine Benthic Habitat Mapping Areas - Iteration 1 (ID: 6)

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Name: Estuarine Benthic Habitat Mapping Areas - Iteration 1

Display Field: MONTH_MAP

Type: Feature Layer

Geometry Type: esriGeometryPolygon

Description: The need for extensive shellfish management in North Carolina has been recognized since the 1947 North Carolina General Assembly authorized the Division of Commercial Fisheries to conduct a rehabilitation program to restore the declining oyster (Crassostrea virginica) fishery. More recently, rising prices and increased demand for hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) and Bay Scallops have spurred the implementation of new management techniques and philosophies toward this expanding fishery. Although the Fisheries Management Section of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has been actively managing these shellfish resources since 1964, it has done so with limited resource base information. The most complete and accurate shellfish bottom survey in North Carolina waters was done by Lt. Francis Winslow, U.S. Navy, in 1889 and was limited to the larger estuaries. This survey was targeted solely toward oysters and potential oyster producing grounds, and although it was quite extensive in Pamlico Sound, it has long since become outdated. Beginning in 1978, the Division of Marine Fisheries has undertaken a shellfish bottom survey of the commercial shellfish-producing waters in the coastal area. The purpose of the survey is to locate and map shellfish-producing areas and to delineate potentially productive benthic shellfish habitats. Gross determinations of shellfish concentrations within productive bottom types are to be determined through a stratified random sampling program. The information generated from this survey is expected to update resource base data to a level from which information can be drawn for making management decisions. A preliminary survey of the Newport River system was conducted from November 1980 to April 1981. Newport River was selected as a testing ground for survey techniques because of its close proximity to sampling headquarters, its diverse fisheries and environmental characteristics, and the pressing need for resource base data in such a dynamic system. From this survey it was deemed that the mapping techniques and survey methods proved acceptable, and in 1987 the estuarine waters were divided into areas based on shellfish habitat suitability criteria. In 1989 the Shellfish Resource Mapping Proposal was introduced, which led to the creation of the Shellfish Mapping Program in 1990 MSA I2 is the second iteration of Shellfish Bottom Mapping. I2 is developed based on newer shoreline created from high resolution imagery. There are changes in mapping process with use of updated transect grid size (6" * 6") and also use of mapping grade GPS for ground truthing purposes. Iteration 2 (I2) data should be used when it is geographically available.

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