Northeast Region map

The Northeast region extends from Maine to Virginia encompassing the marine coastlines of 11 states. Within its bounds are the Gulf of Maine, Cape Cod Bay, as well as a myriad of estuarine systems including Long Island Sound, the New York Bight, the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. Rocky shorelines, wetlands, beach/dune complexes, barrier island systems with intertidal and freshwater wetland complexes, and low lying sandy coastal plains abound in this region

Significant marine ecosystems in the region include the Gulf of Maine, Mid Atlantic Bight, and Georges Bank which support thousands of marine plant and animal species, including over 180 species of seabirds. This biological richness is supported by seasonal phytoplankton blooms and high annual primary productivity. 

Approximately 70 million people live in the Northeast, making it the most populous region in the U.S. About 82% of these people live in coastal counties which are vulnerable to storm surge, flooding, sea level rise, salt water intrusion, and changes to temperature and precipitation extremes.

The North Atlantic has significant coastal-dependent industries with three of the top five U.S. ports (value of fish landed) and five of the Nation’s top 20 ports (international cargo volume). Home to a highly productive fishery, this region  supports over a third of the national coastal ocean economy in commercial fishing, with important contributions from tourism, recreation, and shipping.

North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)

graph of the North Atlantic Oscillation index from 1980-2020

Values correspond to Index scores

 

Description of time series:

Positive NAO values mean significantly warmer winters over the upper Midwest and New England and negative NAO values can mean cold winter outbreaks and heavy snowstorms. During the last five years, the NAO indicator shows no significant trend but has remained largely in the negative phase.

 

Description of gauge:

The unitless two-way gauge depicts whether the average of the last 5 years of data for the climate indicator is above or below the median value of the entire time series. High values in either direction mean extreme variation from the median value of the entire time series. 

 

Description of North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO):

The North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) Index measures the relative strengths and positions of a permanent low-pressure system over Iceland (the Icelandic Low) and a permanent high-pressure system over the Azores (the Azores High). When the index is positive (NAO+) significantly warmer winters can occur over the upper Midwest and New England. On the East Coast of the United States a NAO+ can also cause increased rainfall, and thus warmer, less saline surface water. This prevents nutrient-rich upwelling, which reduces productivity. When the NAO index is negative, the upper central and northeastern portions of the United States can incur winter cold outbreaks and heavy snowstorms. This climate condition impacts people and ecosystems across the globe and each of the indicators presented here. Interactions between the ocean and atmosphere alter weather around the world and can result in severe storms or mild weather, drought, or flooding. Beyond “just” influencing the weather and ocean conditions, these changes can produce secondary results that influence food supplies and prices, forest fires and flooding, and create additional economic and political consequences.

 

Data Background:

Climate indicator data was accessed from the NOAA NCEI (https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/teleconnections/nao/data.csv). The data plotted are unitless anomalies and averaged across a given region

Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation index (AMO)

graph of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation index from 1980-2020

Values correspond to Index scores

 

Description of time series:

Positive AMO values indicate the warm phase, during which surface waters in the North Atlantic Ocean are warmer than average, and negative AMO values indicate the cold phase, during which surface waters in the North Atlantic Ocean are cooler than average. During the last five years, the AMO indicator shows no significant trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The unitless two-way gauge depicts whether the average of the last 5 years of data for the climate indicator is above or below the median value of the entire time series. High values in either direction mean extreme variation from the median value of the entire time series. 

 

Description of Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO):

The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation is a series of long-duration changes in the North Atlantic sea surface temperature, with cool and warm phases that may last for 20-40 years. Most of the Atlantic between the equator and Greenland changes in unison. Some areas of the North Pacific also seem to be affected. This broadscale climate condition affects air temperatures and rainfall over much of the Northern Hemisphere. It is also related to major droughts in the Midwest and the Southwest of the U.S. In the warm phase, these droughts tend to be more frequent and/or severe. Vice-versa for the cold phase. During the warm phases the number of tropical storms that mature into severe hurricanes is much greater than during cool phases. Despite the association of AMO with multiple weather and climate impacts, recent scientific debate has questioned whether this indicator is a natural climate variation, like the other climate indicators presented here, or a response of the climate system to human-caused climate change. Whether natural or a result of human-caused climate change, AMO is a useful feature for tracking large-scale weather and climate events. This climate condition impacts people and ecosystems across the globe and each of the indicators presented here. Interactions between the ocean and atmosphere alter weather around the world and can result in severe storms or mild weather, drought, or flooding. Beyond “just” influencing the weather and ocean conditions, these changes can produce secondary results that influence food supplies and prices, forest fires and flooding, and create additional economic and political consequences.

 

Data Background:

Climate indicator data was accessed from NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory (https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/timeseries/AMO/). The data plotted are unitless anomalies and averaged across a given region

 

Sea Surface Temperature

graph of sea surface temperature for the Northeast region from 1980-2020

Sea surface temperature is defined as the average temperature of the top few millimeters of the ocean. Sea surface temperature monitoring tells us how the ocean and atmosphere interact, as well as providing fundamental data on the global climate system

 

Description of time series:

The time series shows the integrated sea surface temperature for the Northeast US region.  During the last five years there has been no notable trend and values have remained within the 10th and 90th percentiles of all observed data in the time series.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 90 indicates that the mean sea surface temperature between 2016 and 2020 for the Northeast US region was higher than 90% of the temperatures between 1982 and 2020.

 

Description of Sea Surface Temperature:

Sea surface temperature (SST) is defined as the temperature of the top few millimeters of the ocean. This temperature directly or indirectly  impacts the rate of all physical, chemical, and most biological processes occurring in the ocean. SST is globally monitored by sensors on satellites, buoys, ships, ocean reference stations, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and other technologies. 

 

SST monitoring tells us how the ocean and atmosphere interact, as well as providing fundamental data on the global climate system. This information also aids us in weather prediction, i.e. identifying the onset of El Niño and La Niña cycles - multiyear shifts in atmospheric pressure and wind speeds. These shifts affect ocean circulation, global weather patterns, and marine ecosystems. SST anomalies have been linked to shifting marine resources. With warming temperatures, we observe the poleward movements of fish and other species. Temperature extremes—both ocean heatwaves and cold spells—have been linked to coral bleaching as well as fishery and aquaculture mortality. We present the annual average SST at the Large Marine Ecosystem scale in all regions.

 

Indicator and source information:

The SST data were accessed from (https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oisst).  The data are plotted in degrees Celsius. 

 

Data background and limitations:

To compensate for platform differences and sensor biases, satellite and ship observations are referenced to buoys. These data are NOAA 1/4° Daily Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature (version 2.1). Measurements of SST served through this portal incorporate data obtained from various platforms such as satellites, buoys, Argo floats, and ships. 

Sea Level

Coastal Sea Level from Tide Gauges

graph of coastal sea level for Northeast US from 1980-2020

Sea level varies due to the force of gravity, the Earth’s rotation and irregular features on the ocean floor. Other forces affecting sea levels include temperature, wind, ocean currents, tides, and other similar processes.

 

Description of time series:

The time series shows the relative sea level, water height as compared to nearby land level, for the Northeast US region. During the last five years there has been no notable trend while but were above the 90th percentile of all observed data in the time series.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 93 indicates that the sea level between 2016 and 2020 for the Northeast US region was higher than 93% of the sea level between 1980 and 2020.

 

Description of Sea Level:

Sea level varies due to the force of gravity, the Earth’s rotation and irregular features on the ocean floor. Other forces affecting sea levels include temperature, wind, ocean currents, tides, and other similar processes. With 40 percent of Americans living in densely populated coastal areas, having a clear understanding of sea level trends is critical to societal and economic well being.

 

Measuring and predicting sea levels, tides and storm surge are important for determining coastal boundaries, ensuring safe shipping, emergency preparedness, and other aspects of the well-being of coastal communities. 

 

Indicator and source information:

NOAA monitors sea levels using tide stations and satellite laser altimeters. Tide stations around the globe tell us what is happening at local levels, while satellite measurements provide us with the average height of the entire ocean. Taken together, data from these sources are fed into models that tell us how our ocean sea levels are changing over time. For this site, data from tide stations around the US were combined to create regionally averaged records of sea-level change since 1980. We present data for all regions.

 

Data background and limitations:

Sea level data presented here are measurements of relative sea level, water height as compared to nearby land level, from NOAA tide gauges that have >20 years of hourly data served through NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) Tides and Currents website. These local measurements are regionally averaged by taking the median value of all the qualifying stations within a region. The measurements are in meters and are relative to the year 2000. 

Chlorophyll-a

graph of chlorophyll A for the Northeast US region from 1980-2020

Chlorophyll a, a pigment produced by phytoplankton, can be measured to determine the amount of phytoplankton present in water bodies. From a human perspective, high values of chlorophyll a can be good (abundance of nutritious diatoms as food for fish) or bad (Harmful Algal Blooms that may cause respiratory distress for people), based on the associated phytoplankton species.

 

Description of time series:

This time series shows the average concentration levels of chlorophyll ɑ for the  Northeast US region. During the last five years there has been no notable trend and values have remained within the 10th and 90th percentiles of all observed data in the time series.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 78 indicates that between 2016 and 2020 the average concentration levels of chlorophyll a in the Northeast US region were considerably higher than the long term median of all chlorophyll ɑ concentration levels between 1998 and 2020.

 

Gauge values

0–10: Chlorophyll a was significantly lower than the long term median state.

10–25: Chlorophyll a was considerably lower than the long term median state.

25–50: Chlorophyll a was slightly lower than the long term median state.

50: Chlorophyll a was at the long term median state.

50–75: Chlorophyll a was slightly higher than the long term median state.

75–90: Chlorophyll a was considerably higher than the long term median state.

90–100: Chlorophyll a was significantly higher than the long term median state.

 

Description of Chlorophyll a:

Phytoplankton are microscopic plants at the base of most marine food webs and produce nearly half of the Earth’s oxygen. One way we estimate the number of phytoplankton in the ocean is by measuring the amount  of chlorophyll a in the water.  Chlorophyll a is a green pigment (the same pigment that makes tree leaves appear green) that the phytoplankton use to absorb sunlight. The amount (or concentration) of chlorophyll a in surface waters  can be calculated by measuring the color of the water ( also referred to as “ocean color”) which can be “seen” by sensors on satellites in space almost like your eyes see the color of the ocean. Environmental and oceanographic factors continuously influence the abundance, species composition, spatial distribution, and productivity of phytoplankton. Tracking the amount of phytoplankton in the ocean conveys the status of the base of the food web, and how much food is available for other animals. Changes in the amount of phytoplankton in the ocean are part of the natural seasonal cycle (similar to seasonal changes of plants on land), but can also indicate an ecosystem’s response to a major external disturbance such as a hurricane or typhoon.

 

Indicator and source information:

The data for this Chlorophyll a annual indicator were provided by the NOAA Fisheries Coastal and Oceanic Plankton Ecology, Production, and Observations Database (COPEPOD).  COPEPOD determined the annual Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) chlorophyll a concentrations using mapped, monthly composites of chlorophyll a concentration as calculated from radiance measurements ("ocean color") made by the SeaWiFS and MODIS-Aqua satellite sensors.   These monthly composites were obtained from NASA (https://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/).  Annual means for each LME for each year were calculated from the average of the LME 12 monthly means in that year.  The overall “National Annual Mean mean was calculated as the average of all LME annual means. See the Data Background section for more details.  Source: https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/copepod/about/about-copepod.html.

To learn more about satellite-based chlorophyll a measurements within NOAA or to supplement the time series data shown here, please visit NOAA CoastWatch for more information and assistance.

 

Data background and limitations:

Satellite chlorophyll a, 9 km mapped, monthly composited data from SeaWiFS and MODIS-Aqua NASA products were spatially re-binned into 0.5 degree latitude by 0.5 degree longitude boxes (nominally about 50 km2 near the equator) then those ~50 km2 box values were averaged over the area of a given LME, resulting in 12 values per LME, one value for each month.  The annual LME chlorophyll a amount reported here is the average of those 12 monthly values.  This technique was done for each LME from North America and Hawaii.  The overall “National Annual Mean mean was calculated as the average of all the LME annual means.  Note that chlorophyll a  is often plotted on a logarithmic scale to accentuate proportional changes.  In other words, small changes in concentration when amounts are relatively low could mean a very big proportional change in the phytoplankton whereas the same change in absolute concentration when concentrations are relatively large is less meaningful.

Zooplankton

graph of billion-dollar storm events for the Northeast US region from 1980-2020

Description of time series:

Between 2015 through 2019 the average concentration of zooplankton biomass showed no significant trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 32 indicates that between 2015 and 2019 the average concentration of zooplankton biomass in Northeast US waters was lower than the median value of all zooplankton biomass concentration levels between 1980 and 2019.

 

Gauge values

High values of zooplankton can be good (lots of lipid rich colder water species) or bad (lots of lipid poor warmer water species), depending on the region.

 

0 - 10: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is very low compared to the median value.

10 - 25: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is much lower than the median value.

25 - 50: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is lower than the median value.

 50: The five-year zooplankton biomass average equals the median value.

50 - 75: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is higher than the median value.

75 - 90: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is much higher than the median value.

90 - 100: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is very high compared to the median value.

 

Description of Zooplankton:

Zooplankton are a diverse group of animals found in oceans, bays, and estuaries. By eating phytoplankton, and each other, zooplankton play a significant role in the transfer of materials and energy up the oceanic food web (e.g., fish, birds, marine mammals, humans.) Like phytoplankton, environmental and oceanographic factors continuously influence the abundance, composition and spatial distribution of zooplankton. These include the abundance and type of phytoplankton present in the water, as well as the water’s temperature, salinity, oxygen, and pH. Zooplankton can rapidly react to changes in their environment. For this reason monitoring the status of zooplankton is essential for detecting changes in, and evaluating the status of ocean ecosystems. We present the annual average total biovolume of zooplankton in the Alaska, California Current, Gulf of Mexico, Hawai'i-Pacific Islands and Northeast regions.

 

Indicator information

Zooplankton data for each region were obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Coastal & Oceanic Plankton Ecology, Production, & Observations Database, an integrated data set of quality-controlled, globally distributed plankton biomass and abundance data with common biomass units and served in a common electronic format with supporting documentation and access software. Gulf of Mexico specific data comes from the Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP): https://www.gsmfc.org/seamap.php. The SEAMAP data were calculated and provided by David Hanisko.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

Unlike previous years, all value are now standardized to "ml/m3". For example, EcoMon data units went from "ml/100m3" to just "ml/m3", but that did not affect the shape of the trends as it is a linear multiplicative factor. CalCOFI, however, went from "ml/m2" to "ml/m3", and the trend has changed noticeably.  It is now noisier and no clear trend.  One converts "ml/m2" to "ml/m3" by dividing by the towing depth (m).  That is a non-linear muplicative factor, so it can affect each data point and change the data shape.

HI -Note that Hawai’i is Wet Mass (g/m3) , not DV (ml/m3).  

Finally, a log10 value frequency histogram of the raw data values showed that 99.9% of the DV  data values were less than 15 ml/m3.   To reduce the impact of large outliers (i.e., due to a large jellyfish or an algal mat caught in the net), any DV value greater than 15 was capped at a value of just 15. Again, this would only affect < 0.1% of the data.  In some extreme cases, original DV values were over 100+ ... which greatly skewed the means and trends if not removed. This is actually standard practice.   CalCOFI offers both a "large" and "small" DV value (with the latter having large values removed), for example, and some programs automatically remove any plankter larger than the 5 cm length from the net sample before measuring the DV.

Zooplankton data for each region were obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Coastal & Oceanic Plankton Ecology, Production, & Observations Database, an integrated data set of quality-controlled, globally distributed plankton biomass and abundance data with common biomass units and served in a common electronic format with supporting documentation and access software. Source: https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/copepod/about/about-copepod.html

 

 

 

Forage Fish

Planktivore biomass

graph of planktivore biomass for the Northeast region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to forage biomass observed per tow in kg

 

Time Series: Between 2015 and 2019 the biomass of forage fish showed no significant trend.

 

Description of Gauge: The Gauge value of 45 indicates that between 2015 and 2019 the biomass of spring planktivore forage fish was less than the median value of all spring planktivore forage fish biomass between 1980 and 2019.

 

Gauge values

0 - 10: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is very low compared to the median value.

10 - 25: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is much lower than the median value.

25 - 50: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is lower than the median value.

50: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average equals the median value.

50 - 75: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is higher than the median value.

75 - 90: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is much higher than the median value.

90 - 100: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is very high compared to the median value.

 

Description of forage fish:

Forage fish or otherwise known as small pelagics are fish and invertebrates (like squids) that inhabit - the pelagic zone - the open ocean. The number and distribution of pelagic fish vary regionally, depending on multiple physical and ecological factors i.e. the availability of light, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, predation, abundance of phytoplankton and zooplankton, etc. Small pelagics are known to exhibit “boom and bust” cycles of abundance in response to these conditions. Examples include anchovies, sardines, shad, menhaden and the fish that feed on them.

 

Small pelagic species are often important to fisheries and serve as forage for commercially and recreationally important fish, as well as other ecosystem species (e.g. seabirds and marine mammals). They are a critical part of marine food webs and important to monitor because so many other organisms depend on them. We present the annual total biomass of small pelagics/forage fish in the Alaska, California Current, and Northeast regions, as well as selected taxa in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast regions.

 

Indicator information:

Forage fish or otherwise known as small pelagics are fish and invertebrates (like squids) that inhabit - the pelagic zone - the open ocean. Small pelagic species are often important to fisheries and serve as forage for commercially and recreationally important fish, as well as other ecosystem species (e.g. seabirds and marine mammals). The number and distribution of pelagic fish vary regionally, depending on multiple physical and ecological factors (i.e., the availability of light, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, predation, abundance of phytoplankton and zooplankton, etc.). Small pelagics are known to exhibit “boom and bust” cycles of abundance in response to these conditions. Examples include anchovies, sardines, shad, menhaden and the fish that feed on them.

This indicator is produced by the Northeast Integrated Ecosystem Assessment team and represents Spring Planktivore biomass in kg^tow -1.

 

Data background and caveats:

Units, time series, and species vary by region for this indicator, so no national score is provided. Best practices and caveats vary by region.

No Caveats.

 

 

Seabirds

graph of seabirds for the Northeast region from 1980-2020

Values indicate estimated seabird abundance based off of the number of seabirds identified by kilometer on Atlantic Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species research cruises

 

Description of time series:

Between 2011 and 2019 the seabird count per nautical mile showed no significant trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 76 indicates that the number of seabirds counted per mile in the Northeast  on Atlantic Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species research cruises between 2015 and 2019 was much greater than the median number of all seabirds counted between 2011 and 2019

 

Overall Scores means the following:

  • 0 - 10: The five-year seabirds average is very low compared to the median value.
  • 10 - 25: The five-year seabirds average is much lower than the median value.
  • 25 - 50: The five-year seabirds average is lower than the median value.
  • 50: The five-year seabirds average equals the median value.
  • 50 - 75: The five-year seabirds average is higher than the median value.
  • 75 - 90: The five-year seabirds average is much higher than the median value.
  • 90 - 100: The five-year seabirds average is very high compared to the median value.

 

Description of seabirds:

Seabirds are a vital part of marine ecosystems and valuable indicators of an ecosystem’s status.  Seabirds are attracted to fishing vessels and frequently get hooked or entangled in fishing gear, especially longline fisheries. This is a common threat to seabirds. Depending on the geographic region, fishermen in the United States often interact with albatross, cormorants, gannet, loons, pelicans, puffins, gulls, storm-petrels, shearwaters, terns, and many other species. We track seabirds because of their importance to marine food webs, but also as an indication of efficient fishing practices.  We present estimates of seabird abundance in the Alaska, California Current, Gulf of Mexico and Northeast regions.

 

Indicator and source information:

Seabird count and transect length data for the Northeast are extracted from the Atlantic Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (AMAPPS) annual reports. Counts for all seabirds observed are summed and divided by the sum of the transect length in nautical miles.

Overfished Stocks

graph of number of overfished stocks in the Northeast US region from 1980-2019

The x-axis represents years. The y-axis represents the number of fish stocks or fish populations that are deemed by NOAA as overfished. Overfished means the population of fish is too low. Therefore the population can not support a large amount of fishing.

 

Description of time series:

The series shows the number of fish populations that have qualified as overfished since 2000. Between 2016 and 2020 the number of overfished stocks shows no trend.

 

Description of gauge:

Gauge analysis was not appropriate for these data.

 

Overall Scores mean the following:

High values for overfished stocks are bad, low numbers are good.

  • 0 - 10: The five-year overfished stock status average is very low compared to the median value.
  • 10 - 25: The five-year overfished stock status average is much lower than the median value.
  • 25 - 50: The five-year overfished stock status average is lower than the median value.
  • 50: The five-year overfished stock status average equals the median value.
  • 50 - 75: The five-year overfished stock status average is higher than the median value.
  • 75 - 90: The five-year overfished stock status average is much higher than the median value.
  • 90 - 100: The five-year overfished stock status average is very high compared to the median value.

 

Description of Overfished Stocks:

An overfished stock is a population of fish that is too low. From a technical standpoint, a stock that is overfished is depleted below a minimum level and active rebuilding is required. Stocks that are overfished cannot support a large amount of fishing. A fish stock can be listed as overfished as the result of many factors including overfishing, habitat degradation, pollution, climate change, and disease. The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires the status of overfished stocks be reported annually.

 

Stock assessments provide information to determine if a stock is overfished or experiencing overfishing (harvest higher than a maximum fishing threshold). This is done by estimating fishing intensity and the abundance of fish stocks and comparing those estimates to management reference points. Stock assessments can provide the science that supports the steps necessary to rebuild overfished stocks to sustainable levels.

 

It is important to track the status of fish stocks because fish play an important role in marine ecosystems, such as supporting the ecological structure of many marine food webs. Fish also support significant parts of coastal economies including recreational and commercial fisheries, and play an important cultural role in many regions.  

 

This site presents the number of overfished stocks by year in all US Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs).

 

Data Source:

Data were obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Fishery Stock Status website. Stocks that met the criteria for overfished status were summed by year for each region.

 

Threatened/Endangered Marine Mammals

Endangered Species Act threatened/endangered species

graph of ESA threatened species numbers for Northeast US region from 1980-2020

Values Correspond to the Number of ESA Threatened or Endangered Species in a given region

Data Interpretation

Gauge and Trend Analyses were not appropriate for marine mammal data.

 

Data Background and Caveats

NOAA Fisheries goes through required regulatory steps to list, reclassify, or delist a species under the ESA. For more information, see a step-by-step description of the ESA listing process. The listing process requires time and resources; as a result, the timing and number of listed marine species is not necessarily indicative of the actual number of currently endangered or threatened species and the exact timing of when these species became eligible to be listed under the ESA. Many marine species were initially listed when the ESA was passed in 1973; others have taken more time to be listed, and some have been reclassified or delisted since then.

 

Description of Threatened and Endangered Marine Mammals (ESA):

NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the protection, conservation, and recovery of endangered and threatened marine and anadromous species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA aims to conserve these species and the ecosystems they depend on. Under the ESA, a species is considered endangered if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, or threatened if it is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range See a species directory of all the threatened and endangered marine species under NOAA Fisheries jurisdiction, including marine mammals. 

Under the ESA, a species must be listed if it is threatened or endangered because of any of the following 5 factors:

1) Present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;

2) Over-utilization of the species for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;

3) Disease or predation;

4) Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and

5) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

The ESA requires that listing determinations be based solely on the best scientific and commercial information available; economic impacts are not considered in making species listing determinations and are prohibited under the ESA. There are two ways by which a species may come to be listed (or delisted) under the ESA:

- NOAA Fisheries receives a petition from a person or organization requesting that NOAA lists a species as threatened or endangered, reclassify a species, or delist a species.

- NOAA Fisheries voluntarily chooses to examine the status of a species by initiating a status review of a species.

Strategic/Depleted Marine Mammal Stocks

Marine Mammal Protection Act strategic & depleted stocks

graph of MMPA strategic & depleted stocks for the Northeast region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to the number of MMPA Strategic or Depleted Marine Mammal Species listed each year in each region

 

Data Interpretation

Gauge and Trend Analyses were not appropriate for marine mammal data.

 

Data Background and Caveats

NOAA Fisheries prepares marine mammal stock assessment reports to track the status of marine mammal stocks. Some marine mammal stocks are thriving, while others are declining, and we often don’t know all the reasons behind a species or stock’s population trend. Because of this variability, it is difficult to indicate the state of an ecosystem or specific region using stock assessment data for marine mammal species that often range across multiple ecosystems and regions.

 

Description of Marine Mammal Strategic and Depleted Stocks (MMPA):

A stock is defined by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as a group of marine mammals of the same species or smaller taxa in a common spatial arrangement, that interbreed when mature. See a list of the marine mammal stocks NOAA protects under the MMPA.

 

A strategic stock is defined by the MMPA as a marine mammal stock—

- For which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds the potential biological removal level or PBR (defined by the MMPA as the maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population); 

- Which, based on the best available scientific information, is declining and is likely to be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) within the foreseeable future; or 

- Which is listed as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA, or is designated as depleted under the MMPA. 

 

A depleted stock is defined by the MMPA as any case in which—

- The Secretary of Commerce, after consultation with the Marine Mammal Commission and the Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals established under MMPA title II, determines that a species or population stock is below its optimum sustainable population; 

- A State, to which authority for the conservation and management of a species or population stock is transferred under section 109, determines that such species or stock is below its optimum sustainable population; or 

- A species or population stock is listed as an endangered species or a threatened species under the ESA. 

Marine Species Distribution - Latitude

Spring

NE MSD Lat

Values indicate annual cumulative change in centroid across all species in a region in degrees N

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2014 and 2018 the average species latitudinal shift showed an increasing trend, indicating a northward shift in distributions.

 

Description of Gauge: The gauge value of 93 indicates that between 2014 and 2018 the average species latitudinal shift was very high compared to the median average latitudinal shift between 1980 and 2018.

 

Gauge Values

  • 0 - 10: The five-year latitudinal shift is very low compared to the median value.
  • 10 - 25: The five-year latitudinal shift is much lower than the median value.
  • 25 - 50: The five-year latitudinal shift is lower than the median value.
  • 50: The five-year latitudinal shift average equals the median value.
  • 50 - 75: The five-year latitudinal shift is higher than the median value.
  • 75 - 90: The five-year latitudinal shift is much higher than the median value.
  • 90 - 100: The five-year latitudinal shift is very high compared to the median value

 

Description of Marine Species Distribution (Latitude and Depth):

The geographic location where a species is found, known as that species’ “distribution”, is a fundamental piece of information. Some species naturally move from location to location throughout the year, following seasons, food, or other factors. However, as climate change causes ocean waters to warm, populations of many species are moving towards the poles (northward in the northern hemisphere) or deeper towards cooler waters, allowing them to track their preferred temperature. Changes in a species distribution are not always due to individual animals following a preferred temperature, but could also be due to reduced survival of individuals in the warming areas. Understanding where and how fast marine species are moving is important to coastal communities as these changing distributions can affect the species available for fishing, recreation, and cultural practices. Marine species distributions are also good indicators of a warming ocean as they largely follow the species’ preferred temperature, can react quickly to ocean changes, and have been measured for many years, allowing us to see changes over time.  

 

Indicator Source Information:

This data provides important information for fisheries management including which species are caught where and at what depth. The scientists at Ocean Adapt use this data to calculate each species’ centroid as the mean latitude and depth of catch in the survey, weighted by biomass. The centroid for each species is calculated for each year after standardizing the data to ensure that the measure is consistent over time despite changes in survey techniques and total area surveyed. 

 

Data Background and Caveats:

The regional and national marine species distributions shown here represent the average shift in the centroid of species caught in surveys conducted in each region. These species represent a wide range of habitats and species types. As species distributions respond to many environmental and biological factors, combining data from multiple diverse species allows for a more complete picture of the general trends in marine species distribution. In order to more easily track and display changes in these distributions, the first year is standardized to zero. Thus, the indicator represents relative change in distribution from the first survey year.

Marine Species Distribution - Depth

Spring

NE MSD Depth

Values Indicate annual cumulative change in average species centroid depth in meters - for example, a value of -5 indicates a decrease in average depth by 5m.

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2014 and 2018 the average species water column depth shift shows no significant trend.

 

Description of Gauge: The gauge value of 9 indicates that between 2014 and 2018 the average species water column depth shift was very high compared to the median average water column depth shift between 1980 and 2018 with species moving deeper.

 

Gauge Values

  • 0 - 10: The five-year water column depth shift is very high compared to the median value with species moving deeper.
  • 10 - 25: The five-year water column depth shift is much higher than the median value with species moving deeper.
  • 25 - 50: The five-year water column depth shift is higher than the median value with species moving deeper.
  • 50: The five-year water column depth shift average equals the median value.
  • 50 - 75: The five-year water column depth shift is higher than the median value with species moving towards the surface.
  • 75 - 90: The five-year water column depth shift is much higher than the median value with species moving towards the surface.
  • 90 - 100: The five-year water column depth shift is very high compared to the median value with species moving towards the surface.

 

Description of Marine Species Distribution (Latitude and Depth):

The geographic location where a species is found, known as that species’ “distribution”, is a fundamental piece of information. Some species naturally move from location to location throughout the year, following seasons, food, or other factors. However, as climate change causes ocean waters to warm, populations of many species are moving towards the poles (northward in the northern hemisphere) or deeper towards cooler waters, allowing them to track their preferred temperature. Changes in a species distribution are not always due to individual animals following a preferred temperature, but could also be due to reduced survival of individuals in the warming areas. Understanding where and how fast marine species are moving is important to coastal communities as these changing distributions can affect the species available for fishing, recreation, and cultural practices. Marine species distributions are also good indicators of a warming ocean as they largely follow the species’ preferred temperature, can react quickly to ocean changes, and have been measured for many years, allowing us to see changes over time.  

 

Indicator Source Information:

This data provides important information for fisheries management including which species are caught where and at what depth. The scientists at Ocean Adapt use this data to calculate each species’ centroid as the mean latitude and depth of catch in the survey, weighted by biomass. The centroid for each species is calculated for each year after standardizing the data to ensure that the measure is consistent over time despite changes in survey techniques and total area surveyed. 

 

Data Background and Caveats:

The regional and national marine species distributions shown here represent the average centroid of all species caught in every year of the surveys. These species represent a wide range of habitats and species types. As species distributions respond to many environmental and biological factors, combining data from multiple diverse species allows for a more complete picture of the general trends in marine species distribution. In order to more easily track and display changes in these distributions, the first year is standardized to zero. Thus, the indicator represents relative change in distribution from the first survey year.

Coastal Population

graph of coastal population for the Northeast US region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to the total coastal population for a given region

 

Description of time series:

The 2014 – 2018 average coastal population in the Northeast was substantially above historic levels, although the recent trend is not different from historical trends.  

 

Description of gauge:

The 2014 – 2018 average coastal population within the Northeast was greater than 94% of all population levels between 1970 to 2018, again highlighting the substantial growth in the coastal population of this region.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal population over the last 5 years of data was below any annual population level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual population level up until that point.

 

Description of Coastal Population:

While marine ecosystems are important for people all across the country, they are essential for  people living in coastal communities. The population density of coastal counties is over six times greater than inland counties. In the U.S. coastal counties make up less than 10 percent of the total land area (not including Alaska), but account for 39 percent of the total population. From 1970 to 2010, the population of these counties increased by almost 40% and are projected to increase by over 10 million people or 8+% into the 2020s. 

The population density of an area is an important factor for economic planning, emergency preparedness, understanding environmental impacts, resource demand, and many other reasons. Thus, this indicator is important to track. We present the number of residents within all regions.

 

Indicator Source Information:

The American Community Survey (ACS) helps local officials, community leaders, and businesses understand the changes taking place in their communities. It is the premier source for detailed population and housing information about our nation. The 2020 ACS Data Update will be publicly available no later than November 30, 2021.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

The values represented here are coastal county population estimates for states bordering US Large Marine Ecosystems as calculated by the US Census Bureau from the American Community Survey.

 

Coastal Tourism GDP

graph of coastal GDP for the Northeast US region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to percent change in the GDP of the Tourism Sector of Coastal Counties in US States that border a region

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county tourism GDP showed no significant trend.

Description of Gauge: The gauge value of 85 indicates that between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county tourism sector GDP was much higher than the median change in coastal county tourism sector GDP between 2006 and 2018.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal tourism GDP over the last 5 years of data was below any annual coastal tourism GDP level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual coastal tourism GDP value up until that point.

 

Description of Coastal Tourism:

U.S. coasts are host to a multitude of travel, tourism, and recreation activities. To manage our coasts, plan for development, and assess impacts as a result of coastal hazards including sea level rise, it is important to have baseline economic information. To accomplish this, we need indicators of the economic value of recreation and tourism. We present the annual total change in billions of dollars of goods and services (GDP), employment and annual wages provided from tourism industries in the Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Hawaii-Pacific Islands, Southeast, and California Current regions. This data does not include industries located in U.S. territories. 

 

Indicator Source Information

Coastal tourism Gross Domestic Product is the total measure (in billions of 2012 dollars) of goods and services provided from various industries involved in tourism services and products along the coast. Data for Coastal Counties come from the US Census Bureau. This dataset represents US counties and independent cities which have at least one coastal border and select non-coastal counties and independent cities based on proximity to estuaries and other coastal counties. The dataset is built to support coastal and ocean planning and other activities pursuant to the Energy Policy Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Rivers and Harbors Act and the Submerged Lands Act.

Coastal Tourism Employment

NE EMp Tour

Values correspond to percent change in the total Employment of the Tourism Sector of Coastal Counties in US States that border a region

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county employment showed no significant trend.

Description of Gauge: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county tourism sector employment was higher than the median change in coastal county tourism sector employment between 2006 and 2018.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal tourism employment over the last 5 years of data was below any annual coastal tourism employment level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual coastal tourism employment level up until that point.

 

Description of Coastal Tourism:

U.S. coasts are host to a multitude of travel, tourism, and recreation activities. To manage our coasts, plan for development, and assess impacts as a result of coastal hazards including sea level rise, it is important to have baseline economic information. To accomplish this, we need indicators of the economic value of recreation and tourism. We present the annual total change in billions of dollars of goods and services (GDP), employment and annual wages provided from tourism industries in the Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Hawaii-Pacific Islands, Southeast, and California Current regions. This data does not include industries located in U.S. territories. 

 

Indicator Source Information:

Coastal tourism employment is the total measure of jobs in tourism industries along the coast.  Data for Coastal Counties come from the US Census Bureau. This dataset represents US counties and independent cities which have at least one coastal border and select non-coastal counties and independent cities based on proximity to estuaries and other coastal counties. The dataset is built to support coastal and ocean planning and other activities pursuant to the Energy Policy Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Rivers and Harbors Act and the Submerged Lands Act.

Coastal Tourism Wages

NE Tour Wage

Values correspond to percent change in the total real wage compensation of the Tourism Sector of Coastal Counties in US States that border a region

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county real wage compensation showed no significant trend.

Description of Gauge: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county tourism sector real wage compensation was much higher than the median change in coastal county tourism sector real wage compensation between 2006 and 2018.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal tourism wage compensation over the last 5 years of data was below any annual coastal tourism wage compensation level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual coastal tourism wage compensation level up until that point.

 

Description of Coastal Tourism:

U.S. coasts are host to a multitude of travel, tourism, and recreation activities. To manage our coasts, plan for development, and assess impacts as a result of coastal hazards including sea level rise, it is important to have baseline economic information. To accomplish this, we need indicators of the economic value of recreation and tourism. We present the annual total change in billions of dollars of goods and services (GDP), employment and annual wages provided from tourism industries in the Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Hawaii-Pacific Islands, Southeast, and California Current regions. This data does not include industries located in U.S. territories. 

 

Indicator Source Information:

Coastal tourism wage is the measure of wages (nominal) paid to employees in tourism industries along the coast. Data for Coastal Counties come from the US Census Bureau. This dataset represents US counties and independent cities which have at least one coastal border and select non-coastal counties and independent cities based on proximity to estuaries and other coastal counties. The dataset is built to support coastal and ocean planning and other activities pursuant to the Energy Policy Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Rivers and Harbors Act and the Submerged Lands Act.

Coastal Employment

graph of coastal employment for the Northeast US region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to total employment in all industries in a given region

 

Description of time series:

Average coastal employment within the Northeast between 2014 and 2018 was substantially above historical levels, although no trend is apparent over that same period.  

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 90 indicates that coastal employment between 2014 and 2018 for the Northeast US was higher than 90% of all years between 1990 and 2018.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal employment level over the last 5 years of data was below any annual employment level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual employment level up until that point.

 

Description of coastal employment:

The total coastal employment is the number of jobs in coastal communities. Businesses in coastal counties employ tens of millions of people nationally. This includes hundreds of thousands of ocean-dependent businesses that pay over $100 billion in wages annually. Many coastal and ocean amenities attracting visitors are free, generating no direct employment, wages, or gross domestic product. However, these “nonmarket” features are key drivers for many coastal businesses. We present data for all regions.

 

Data Source:

Coastal employment numbers were downloaded from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ quarterly census of employment and wages, filtered to present only coastal county values using the Census Bureau’s list of coastal counties within each state. Of note is that these data fail to include self-employed individuals. Coastal county employment numbers were then summed within each region for reporting purposes.

 

Commercial Fishery Landings

graph of commercial fishery landings for the Northeast US region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to landings in millions of metric tons

 

Description of time series:

Between 2015 and 2019, commercial landings from the Northeast were substantially below historic levels, although there is no recent trend apparent.  

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 3 indicates that the mean annual commercial landings between 2015 and 2019 for the Northeast US was higher than 3% of all years between 1950 and 2019

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average revenue or landings over the last 5 years of data was below any annual value up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average value over that same period was above any annual value up until that point.

 

Description of Commercial Fishing (Landings and Revenue):

Commercial landings are the weight of, or revenue from, fish that are caught, brought to shore, processed, and sold for profit. It does not include sport or subsistence (to feed themselves) fishermen or for-hire sector, which earns its revenue from selling recreational fishing trips to saltwater anglers. 

Commercial landings make up a major part of coastal economies. U.S. commercial fisheries are among the world’s largest and most sustainable; producing seafood, fish meal, vitamin supplements, and a host of other products for both domestic and international consumers. 

The weight (tonnage), and revenue from the sale of commercial landings provides data on the ability of marine ecosystems to continue to supply these important products. 

 

Indicator Source Information:

Landings are reported in pounds of round (live) weight for all species or groups except univalve and bivalve mollusks, such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops, which are reported as pounds of meats (excludes shell weight). Landings data may sometimes differ from state-reported landings due to our reporting of mollusks in meat weights rather than gallons, shell weight, or bushels. Also, NMFS includes some species such as kelp and oysters that are sometimes reported by state agricultural agencies and may not be included with state fishery agency landings data.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

All landings summaries will return only non confidential landing statistics. Federal statutes prohibit public disclosure of landings (or other information) that would allow identification of the data contributors and possibly put them at a competitive disadvantage. Most summarized landings are non confidential, but whenever confidential landings occur they have been combined with other landings and usually reported as "Withheld for Confidentiality" Total landings by state include confidential data and will be accurate, but landings reported by individual species may, in some instances, be misleading due to data confidentiality.

Landings data do not indicate the physical location of harvest but the location at which the landings either first crossed the dock or were reported from.

Many fishery products are gutted or otherwise processed while at sea and are landed in a product type other than round (whole) weight. Our data partners have standard conversion factors for the majority of the commonly caught species that convert their landing weights from any product type to whole weight. It is the whole weight that is displayed in our web site landing statistics. Caution should be exercised when using these statistics. An example of a potential problem is when landings statistics are used to monitor fishery quotas. In some situations, specific conversion factors may have been designated in fishery management plans or Federal rule making that differ from those historically used by NOAA Fisheries in reporting landings statistics.

The dollar value of the landings are ex-vessel (as paid to the fisherman at time of first sale) and are reported as nominal (current at the time of reporting) values. Users can use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Producer Price Index (PPI) to convert these nominal landing values into real (deflated) values.

Landings do not include aquaculture products except for clams, mussels and oysters.

Pacific landings summarized by state include an artificial “state” designation of “At-Sea Process, Pac.” This designation was assigned to landings consisting of primarily whiting caught in the EEZ off Washington and Oregon that were processed aboard large vessels while at sea. No Pacific state lists these fish on their trip tickets which are used to report state fishery landing, hence the at-sea processor designation was used to insure that they would be listed as a U.S. landing.

Landing summaries are compiled from data bases that overlap in time and geographic coverage, and come from both within and outside of NOAA Fisheries. 

Commercial Fishing Revenue

graph of commercial fishing revenue for the Northeast US region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to real revenue is 2020 US Dollars

 

Description of time series:

Between 2015 and 2019, average annual commercial revenue from the Northeast was substantially higher than historical patterns, although there is no trend in values. Given the historically low level of landings over that same period, the difference is derived from a substantially higher price per pound of fish received by fishermen

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 97 indicates that the mean annual commercial revenue between 2015 and 2019 for the Northeast US was higher than 97% of all years between 1950 and 2019

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average revenue or landings over the last 5 years of data was below any annual value up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average value over that same period was above any annual value up until that point.

 

Description of Commercial Fishing (Landings and Revenue):

Commercial landings are the weight of, or revenue from, fish that are caught, brought to shore, processed, and sold for profit. It does not include sport or subsistence (to feed themselves) fishermen or for-hire sector, which earns its revenue from selling recreational fishing trips to saltwater anglers. 

Commercial landings make up a major part of coastal economies. U.S. commercial fisheries are among the world’s largest and most sustainable; producing seafood, fish meal, vitamin supplements, and a host of other products for both domestic and international consumers. 

The weight (tonnage), and revenue from the sale of commercial landings provides data on the ability of marine ecosystems to continue to supply these important products. 

 

Indicator Source Information:

Landings are reported in pounds of round (live) weight for all species or groups except univalve and bivalve mollusks, such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops, which are reported as pounds of meats (excludes shell weight). Landings data may sometimes differ from state-reported landings due to our reporting of mollusks in meat weights rather than gallons, shell weight, or bushels. Also, NMFS includes some species such as kelp and oysters that are sometimes reported by state agricultural agencies and may not be included with state fishery agency landings data.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

All landings summaries will return only non confidential landing statistics. Federal statutes prohibit public disclosure of landings (or other information) that would allow identification of the data contributors and possibly put them at a competitive disadvantage. Most summarized landings are non confidential, but whenever confidential landings occur they have been combined with other landings and usually reported as "Withheld for Confidentiality" Total landings by state include confidential data and will be accurate, but landings reported by individual species may, in some instances, be misleading due to data confidentiality.

Landings data do not indicate the physical location of harvest but the location at which the landings either first crossed the dock or were reported from.

Many fishery products are gutted or otherwise processed while at sea and are landed in a product type other than round (whole) weight. Our data partners have standard conversion factors for the majority of the commonly caught species that convert their landing weights from any product type to whole weight. It is the whole weight that is displayed in our web site landing statistics. Caution should be exercised when using these statistics. An example of a potential problem is when landings statistics are used to monitor fishery quotas. In some situations, specific conversion factors may have been designated in fishery management plans or Federal rule making that differ from those historically used by NOAA Fisheries in reporting landings statistics.

The dollar value of the landings are ex-vessel (as paid to the fisherman at time of first sale) and are reported as nominal (current at the time of reporting) values. Users can use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Producer Price Index (PPI) to convert these nominal landing values into real (deflated) values.

Landings do not include aquaculture products except for clams, mussels and oysters.

Pacific landings summarized by state include an artificial “state” designation of “At-Sea Process, Pac.” This designation was assigned to landings consisting of primarily whiting caught in the EEZ off Washington and Oregon that were processed aboard large vessels while at sea. No Pacific state lists these fish on their trip tickets which are used to report state fishery landing, hence the at-sea processor designation was used to insure that they would be listed as a U.S. landing.

Landing summaries are compiled from data bases that overlap in time and geographic coverage, and come from both within and outside of NOAA Fisheries. 

 

Recreational Fishing Effort

graph of recreational fishing effort for the Northeast US region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to cumulative number of angler trips

 

Description of time series:

Between 2016 and 2020, recreational fishing effort in the Northeast is around historic levels and shows no trend. 

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 54 indicates that the recreational fishing effort between 2016 and 2020 for the Northeast US was higher than 54% of the recreational fishing effort values between 1982 and 2020

 

 Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average effort or harvest over the last 5 years of data was below any annual value up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average value over that same period was above any annual value up until that point.

 

Description of Recreational Fishing (Effort and Harvest):

U.S. saltwater recreational fishing is an important source of seafood, jobs, and recreation for millions of anglers and for-hire recreational businesses. Recreational fishing effort is measured as “Angler Trips”, which is the number of recreational fishing trips people go on. Recreational fishing harvest is the number of fish caught and brought to shore on recreational fishing trips. 

Recreational effort and harvest help us understand how recreational opportunities and seafood derived from our marine environment is changing over time. Fisheries managers use this data to set annual catch limits and fishing regulations, including season lengths, size, and daily catch limits. We present the total number of fish harvested and angler trips annually for all marine fish in all regions. 

 

Indicator Source Information

Recreational harvest and effort data pulled from National Summary Query. Units of data are in Effort in Angler Trips and Harvest in numbers of fish. The data from these queries is used by state, regional and federal fisheries scientists and managers to maintain healthy and sustainable fish stocks.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

To properly interpret this information, it is important to consider the following key points:

  • When comparing harvest estimates across an extended time series, note differences in sampling coverage through the years. Some estimates may not be comparable over long time series.
  • Changes may occur between preliminary and final estimates and year to year, meaning that the data may change when updated. Please review the Limitations and other sections on the Using the Data page from the source for more information.

 

Recreational Fishing Harvest

graph of recreational fishing effort for the Northeast US region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to harvest in millions of fish

 

Description of time series:

Between 2016 and 2020, recreational harvest from Northeast are around historic levels. There is no significant trend apparent. 

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 28 indicates that the recreational fishing harvest between 2016 and 2020 for the Northeast US was higher than 28% of the recreational fishing harvest values between 1982 and 2020

 

 Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average effort or harvest over the last 5 years of data was below any annual value up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average value over that same period was above any annual value up until that point.

 

Description of Recreational Fishing (Effort and Harvest):

U.S. saltwater recreational fishing is an important source of seafood, jobs, and recreation for millions of anglers and for-hire recreational businesses. Recreational fishing effort is measured as “Angler Trips”, which is the number of recreational fishing trips people go on. Recreational fishing harvest is the number of fish caught and brought to shore on recreational fishing trips. 

Recreational effort and harvest help us understand how recreational opportunities and seafood derived from our marine environment is changing over time. Fisheries managers use this data to set annual catch limits and fishing regulations, including season lengths, size, and daily catch limits. We present the total number of fish harvested and angler trips annually for all marine fish in all regions. 

 

Indicator Source Information

Recreational harvest and effort data pulled from National Summary Query. Units of data are in Effort in Angler Trips and Harvest in numbers of fish. The data from these queries is used by state, regional and federal fisheries scientists and managers to maintain healthy and sustainable fish stocks.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

To properly interpret this information, it is important to consider the following key points:

  • When comparing catch estimates across an extended time series, note differences in sampling coverage through the years. Some estimates may not be comparable over long time series.
  • Changes may occur between preliminary and final estimates and year to year, meaning that the data may change when updated. Please review the Limitations and other sections on the Using the Data page from the source for more information.

 

 

Commercial Fishing Engagement

Graph of commercial fishing engagement index in the Northeast US region from 2009-2016

The x-axis on this time series represents years and the y-axis represents the percent of communities that are moderate to highly engaged in commercial fishing across Northeast. Commercial fishing engagement is measured by the number permits, fish dealers, and vessel landings across the Northeast. 

 

Description of time series:

This time series shows the percent of communities moderately or highly engaged in commercial fishing in the Northeast from 2009 to 2018. Between 2013 and 2018 the percent of communities moderately or highly engaged in commercial fishing showed a downward trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 20 indicates that the mean annual commercial fishing engagement between 2013 and 2018 for Northeast communities was higher than 20% of all years in the time series.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average percentage of communities engaged in commercial or recreational fishing over the last 5 years of data was below any annual engagement level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any engagement level up until that point.

 

Description of Fishing Engagement:

Recreational and commercial fishing engagement is measured by the presence of fishing activity in coastal communities. The commercial engagement index is measured through permits, fish dealers, and vessel landings.  The data for recreational engagement indicators varies by state. A high rank within these indicates more engagement in fisheries. For details on both data sources and indicator development, please see https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/socioeconomics/social-indicators-fishing-communities-0.

 

NOAA Monitors recreational and commercial fishing engagement to better understand the social and economic impacts of fishing policies and regulations on our nation’s vital fishing communities. This and other social indicators help assess a coastal community’s resilience. NOAA works with state and local partners to monitor these indicators. We present data from the Northeast, Southeast, Gulf of Mexico, California Current, Alaska, and Pacific Island regions.

 

Data Source:

Commercial fishing engagement data is from the National Marine Fisheries Service’s social indicator data portal:https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/data-and-tools/social-indicators/ The percentage of all communities in each region classified as medium, medium high, or highly engaged is presented for both recreational and commercial fishing

 

 

Recreational Fishing Engagement

Graph of recreational fishing engagement index in the Northeast US region from 2009-2016

The x-axis on this time series represents years and the y-axis represents the percent of communities that are moderately to highly engaged in recreational fishing across the Northeast

 

Description of time series:

This time series shows the percent of communities moderately to highly engaged in recreational fishing in the Northeast US from 2009 to 2018. Between 2013 and 2018 (highlighted in green) the percent of communities moderately or highly engaged in recreational fishing showed no significant trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 30 indicates that the average annual recreational fishing engagement between 2013 and 2018 for the Northeast US was only higher than 30% of all years between 2009 and 2018

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average percentage of communities engaged in commercial or recreational fishing over the last 5 years of data was below any annual engagement level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any engagement level up until that point.

 

Description of Fishing Engagement:

Recreational and commercial fishing engagement is measured by the presence of fishing activity in coastal communities. The commercial engagement index is measured through permits, fish dealers, and vessel landings.  The data for recreational engagement indicators varies by state. A high rank within these indicates more engagement in fisheries. For details on both data sources and indicator development, please see https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/socioeconomics/social-indicators-fishing-communities-0.

 

NOAA Monitors recreational and commercial fishing engagement to better understand the social and economic impacts of fishing policies and regulations on our nation’s vital fishing communities. This and other social indicators help assess a coastal community’s resilience. NOAA works with state and local partners to monitor these indicators. We present data from the Northeast, Southeast, Gulf of Mexico, California Current, Alaska, and Pacific Island regions.

 

Indicator Source Information:

The Northeast recreational engagement indicator is measured using shore, private vessel and for-hire vessel fishing activity estimates.

 

Data Source:

Commercial fishing engagement data is from the National Marine Fisheries Service’s social indicator data portal:https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/data-and-tools/social-indicators/ The percentage of all communities in each region classified as medium, medium high, or highly engaged is presented for both recreational and commercial fishing

Beach Closures

graph of EPA-mandated beach closures for the Gulf of Mexico region from 1980-2020

Beach closures are the number of days when beach water quality is determined to be unsafe.

 

Data Interpretation:

Time series: This time series shows the average number of beach closure days in the Northeast US region from 2000 to 2020. During the last five years there has been no notable trend and values have remained within the 10th and 90th percentiles of all observed data in the time series.

Gauge: The gauge value of 29 indicates that between 2016 and 2020 the average number of beach closure days in the Northeast US region was lower than the median value of beach closure days between 2000 and 2020 which was 1,311.

 

Gauge values

0–10: The five-year beach closure days average is very low compared to the median value.

10–25: The five-year beach closure days average is much lower than the median value.

25–50: The five-year beach closure days average is lower than the median value.

50: The five-year beach closure days average equals the median value.

50–75: The five-year beach closure days average is higher than the median value.

75–90: The five-year beach closure days average is much higher than the median value.

90–100: The five-year beach closure days average is very high compared to the median. 

 

* gauge value is the percentile rank of the last five years based on the time series.

 

Description of beach closures:

The beach closure indicator is the number of days a beach is closed, because the water and/or air quality is determined to be unsafe. Unsafe water and air quality may have significant impacts on human health, local economies, and ecosystems. 

 

Indicator and source information:

Unsafe water quality may have significant impacts on human health, local economies, and the ecosystem. Beach water quality is determined by the concentration of bacteria in the water (either Enterococcus sp. or Escherichia coli). 

 

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports coastal states, counties and tribes in monitoring beach water quality, and notifying the public when beaches must be closed. The information presented is from states, counties, and tribes that submit data to the EPA Beach Program reporting database (BEACON). Data obtained from the EPA BEACON website have been provided to EPA by the coastal and Great Lakes states, tribes and territories that receive grants under the BEACH Act. Data were refined to closure, by state or territory, by year.

 

Data background and limitations:

Data compiled by states or territories are combined in regions defined as US Large Marine Ecosystems (LME). Changes in the number of beach closure days may be driven by changes in the number of beaches monitored under the BEACH Act versus by state and local municipalities and not by changes in water and/or air quality. Not all US beach closures are captured in this database, because not all beaches in a state or territory are monitored through the EPA BEACH Act. Data that were not identified to a water body or identified as inland water were not included. Data for beaches monitored by state and local municipalities are not included. 

 

Billion-Dollar Disasters

graph of billion-dollar storm events for the Northeast US region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to the number of events in a given year

 

Interpretation of Time Series

The number of billion dollar disasters within the Northeast is variable over time.  The number of disasters over the past 5 years is substantially higher than historical levels of events, and there is an upward trend in the number of events.

 

Interpretation of Gauge

The gauge value of 92 indicates that the number of billion dollar disasters between 2016 and 2020 for the Northeast US was higher than 92% of all years between 1980 and 2020.

 

Extreme Gauge values

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average number of disasters over the last 5 years of data was below any annual level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual number of disasters up until that point. 

 

Description of billion dollar disasters:

In the United States, the number of weather and climate-related disasters exceeding 1 billion dollars has been increasing since 1980. These events have significant impacts to coastal economies and communities. The Billion Dollar Disaster indicator provides information on the frequency and the total estimated costs of major weather and climate events that occur in the United States. This indicator compiles the annual number of weather and climate-related disasters across seven event types. We Present the total annual number of disaster events for all regions.

 

Indicator Source Information:

Billion dollar disaster event frequency data are taken from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The number of disasters within each region were summed for every year of available data. Although the number is the count of unique disaster events within a region, the same disaster can impact multiple regions, meaning a sum across regions will overestimate the unique number of disasters.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

Events are included if they are estimated to cause more than one billion U.S. dollars in direct losses. The cost estimates of these events are adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and are based on costs documented in several Federal and private-sector databases.

Source and analysis of data:

Billion dollar disaster event frequency data are taken from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The number of disasters within each region were summed for every year of available data. Although the number is the count of unique disaster events within a region, the same disaster can impact multiple regions, meaning a sum across regions will overestimate the unique number of disasters.

 

 

Resources

Northeast IEA Indicator data

The Northeast Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) provides a framework that brings social and ecological science and management advice to managers in a manner that is useful under current governance structures while supporting the adoption of Ecosystem-Based Management.

The NOAA Integrated Ecosystem Assessment Logo

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Condition Report

The purpose of a condition report is to use the best available science and most recent data to assess the status and trends of various parts of the sanctuary’s ecosystem.

The National Marine Sanctuary System Logo

Northeast Ocean Data

The Northeast Ocean Data Portal is a centralized, peer-reviewed source of data and interactive maps of the ocean ecosystem and ocean-related human activities in the northeastern United States. 

The Northeast Ocean Data Logo

Integrated Sentinel Monitoring Network (ISMN)

The Integrated Sentinel Monitoring Network for Change in Northeast U.S. Ocean and Coastal Ecosystems (ISMN) initiative is a joint project of NERACOOS and NROC (Northeast Regional Ocean Council), which was established based on a pressing regional need to establish an integrated network to observe and interpret changes in the ecosystem (Runge, et. al 2012). 

The ISMN Logo

Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS)

The Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) spans coastal waters from the Canadian Maritime Provinces to the New York Bight. 

The NERACOOS Logo

NOAA Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA): Regional Portals

The Environmental Response Management Application is a web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) tool that assists emergency responders and environmental resource managers in dealing with incidents that may adversely impact the environment.

Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal

The Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal is an online toolkit and resource center that consolidates available data and enables state, federal and local users to visualize and analyze ocean resources and human use information such as fishing grounds, recreational areas, shipping lanes, habitat areas, and energy sites, among others.

The Mid Atlantic Ocean Data Portal Logo

Mid-Atlantic Regional Association Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS)

MARACOOS is a regional association of partners that collect unique ocean and coastal data that is transformed into information products that support jobs, the economy, safety and well-being for the more than 78 million people living, visiting, and working in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The MARACOOS Logo

Gulf of Maine Marine Biodiversity Observation Network

The Gulf of Maine (GoM) lies at the epicenter of the most rapid warming trend in U.S. coastal waters. The GoM ecosystem supports the most valuable U.S. fishery (lobster) and the most valuable U.S. fishing seaport (New Bedford). Evidence is mounting that recent warming is affecting ecosystem structure and services, for example, closure of the northern shrimp fishery, impacts on Atlantic cod recovery, and recovery of endangered North Atlantic right whales.

The MBON Logo

Ocean ADAPT

OceanAdapt is a collaboration between Rutgers University, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to provide information about the impacts of changing climate and other factors on the distribution of marine life to the National Climate Assessment, fisheries communities, policymakers, and to others. This website hosts an annually updated database of scientific surveys in the United States and Canada, providing tools for exploring changes in marine fish and invertebrate distributions. 

Adapt