Habitat Suitability Mapping of the American Lobster for Use in Marine Spatial Planning
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Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a management tool which could help mitigate the conflict that exists between the American lobster fishery and the net-pen salmon aquaculture industry in the Canadian Maritime provinces. However, lobster habitat suitability maps, which are a necessary feature of these MSP, have not been created in most areas. This thesis presents two studies which demonstrate acoustic-based methods of developing habitat suitability maps for the American lobster for use in MSP. The first study demonstrates success with the method for adult lobsters, and highlights the importance of explicitly analysing spatial scale and resolution in benthic habitat models. The second study explores the same acoustic method in tandem with juvenile lobster trawl data, and demonstrates that juveniles live on fine sediments with no preference between the substrate categories. This suggests that a deeper understanding of juvenile lobster habitat is needed to fully map habitat suitability for MSP.