chapter  9
Restoring deepwater coral ecosystems and fisheries after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
WithAndrew N. Shepard
Pages 24

Introduction ................................................................................................................................. 148 Oil impacts on coral ecosystems and sheries ........................................................................ 148 Ecosystem restoration after Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DWHOS) .................................. 151 Recommended deep coral ecosystem restoration actions ..................................................... 154

Objective A: Identify priority needs and gaps in knowledge for comanagement of Gulf of Mexico coral ecosystems .......................................................................................... 155

Action A1: Review ecosystem-based management (EBM) successes and lessons learned from other ecosystems .......................................................................... 155 Action A2: Engage stakeholders in developing EBM operational frameworks for coral ecosystem goods and services that identify science goals, gaps in science information, management priorities, and desired outcomes ........................ 158

Objective B: Conduct research, monitoring, modeling, and technology developments required to ll gaps and support adaptive management ....................... 159

Action B1: Expand surveys and research needed, as determined by gap analyses, to support management of activities that affect coral ecosystems ............ 159 Action B2: Develop and fund an expanded (applications, time and space scales) gulfwide observing and monitoring program .................................................. 160 Action B3: Develop and apply ecosystem models to support decision makers ...... 161 Action B4: Support and incentivize new technologies to improve sheries efciency and reduce the negative impacts of shing activities on coral ecosystems .......................................................................................................................... 161 Action B5: Determine socioeconomic value of coral ecosystem services .................. 162

Objective C: Support information management and synthesis ....................................... 162 Action C1: Integrate data, derivative products, and research results to support EBM for coral ecosystems................................................................................................. 162 Action C2: Support synthesis of useful products for managers and communication to all stakeholders ................................................................................. 162

Conclusion ................................................................................................................................... 163 Acknowledgments ...................................................................................................................... 163 References ..................................................................................................................................... 164

Introduction The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DWHOS) in 2010 was the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history, unprecedented in its extent and complexity of pollutants and potential impacts. The spill immediately affected deep (>50 m depth) coral ecosystems and, 3 years after the spill, is still threatening both shallow and deep coral communities. Monetary penalties for ecosystem restoration via settlements and litigation may exceed $20 billion and provide unprecedented regional opportunities to support ecosystem-based management (EBM) of Gulf of Mexico ecosystems, including coral ecosystems and associated sheries. In contrast to ecosystem restoration of coastal habitats and resources, restoration of offshore habitats, where there is often little or no baseline information, is more complex and operationally challenging. This chapter describes the DWHOS restoration science programs and recommends actions they may support to develop EBM for restoring and sustaining deep (>50 m depth) coral ecosystems and sheries. Recommended restoration actions include support for Gulf of Mexico integrated ecosystem assessment (IEA) to identify coral ecosystem restoration goals, metrics (indicators), and gaps in knowledge; improvement of sheries-independent survey tools and recreational landings data to inform reef sh stock assessments; support for coral habitat characterization and mapping; support for long-term observing and monitoring; and actions to ensure ecosystem restoration projects and programs engage stakeholders (scientists, decision makers, and citizens) and result in useful outputs.