HABITAT CONSERVATION AND MITIGATION
Habitat conservation and mitigation is a common theme for sustainable fisheries management. Conservation can include the creation of marine reserves (19) and alternative construction methods on land to reduce shoreline erosion (20), among other strategies. Conservation calls for maintaining habitat quality that is already there. Mitigation, however, aims to reduce the severity of habitat quality loss. Mitigating habitat can include the restoration of habitat types or increasing resiliency of a sensitive habitat to ocean acidification, HABs, etc.
In order to manage habitat conservation and mitigation, it is essential to understand the habitat use by Dungeness crab across various life stages. Although there is information available regarding habitat use by juvenile and adult Dungeness crab (21,22), significant regional gaps remain. There is a general lack of information for inland Washington waters. Additionally, there has been limited work done on crab movement within inland waters, which is essential to understand the full range of habitat used throughout Dungeness crab life history (reviewed in (23). Once the full range of habitat use is known, it is important to assess the quality of habitat across life history stages.
The PCRG is geographically dispersed and the group can leverage their broad expertise and place-based experience to fill information gaps for habitat conservation and mitigation. There is interest by PCRG to examine the habitat loss and projected future habitat conditions for Dungeness crab in Washington state, and broader factors that impact habitat availability (Table XX). As such, the PCRG can play an important role in filling information gaps to inform co-managers regarding habitat conservation and mitigation in Washington state.