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In the ocean I think the rock in this picture is our #1 missing habitat. It's a soft sandstone easily broken by hand and then crumbled into sand. As you can see, it's easily burrowed. I've found as many as 5 white-leg crabs (rock crab) in a single burrow.
In the Gulf of Maine they call this soft rock, "Pipe Clay." I've not held hundreds of pieces and certainly can't refer to a body of literature, but up north they have examples of pipe clays with tree-trunk sized holes ..and, I understand, they too have large areas of pipe clay habitat that's gone missing.
Given that you can crumble this rock in your hand, when many-ton hydraulic clam dredges and trawls w/o cookies were towed across once-large areas of reef in the 1950s, 60s & 70s, the cumulative impact over decades was a now-smooth, reef free bottom.
Trawl skippers would say, "We cleaned that bottom up." They mean it too.
Many men once fished multi-square mile reefs without aid of precise electronic navigation. Now satellite navigation is a requirement for the few men who fish today's much smaller reefs.
Both marine & estuarine natural hardbottom habitat production is largely lost. Management struggles with 'catch restriction only' based restoration policies guided by, at times, absolutely ridiculous catch estimates, yet managers have failed to even consider habitat loss's impact on today's much reduced habitat production capability.
More Coral, More Fish also means; less coral, less fish.
I think it's time management took habitat seriously.
2,000 page documents are useless for restoration unless we embed them in cement & toss them overboard.
So far as I know, we haven't even one page for the Mid-Atlantic. It's "all sand & mud."
Catch restriction has to carry the fight or we'll lose. At the rate sea bass season is evaporating in regulation's heat, I'm afraid we will lose.
But at least we're building some reef privately, funding our own way out of lost habitat production with a little government help for our "Feel Good" work. There's also Maryland's well-funded artificial oyster reef* construction that could, seriously, turn the Mid-Atlantic ocean blue again. (*Sorry, I meant Oyster Bed Substrate Replenishment)
Guys up in New York are especially behind the curve. The State of New York gives all their reef material away.
If the Tappan Zee Bridge falls and no NY reef is built, I hope it's not because good men remained silent.
There's a new thread at Fishing United about NY reef building's potential. Should the New York Reef Foundation be formed, I'll buy the first T-shirt. A ceramic coffee mug too.
Meanwhile, I'm working every day toward fishery restoration based on real results from real habitat.
It's the only thing I've ever seen that actually worked.