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North Carolina's Coastal Fish Habitats
Habitat is a place, or set of places, in which a fish, fish population, or fish assemblage finds the physical, chemical and biological features needed for life.
Six distinctive fish habitats support North Carolina’s coastal fish and fisheries.
These habitats occur within an area covering 2.5 million acres of water and coastal wetlands, including the largest estuarine system of any coastal state on the eastern seaboard.
Fish habitats are interdependent. What happens to one habitat can affect the entire ecosystem. Most fish species use different habitats at different life stages. The diversity and productivity of fish populations depends on the integrity of the entire aquatic ecosystem.
As a whole, North Carolina’s estuarine and coastal waters are showing signs of habitat degradation and loss. Not only are coastal fisheries threatened, but also coastal economies built around a high-quality natural environment. Timely action is required because preventing a problem is often much less costly than fixing one.