Northeast Indicator Data

Indicators presented in this section represent the current status and historical trends of key components of the Northeast marine ecosystem. These indicators are compiled and presented to the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council in the State of the Ecosystem report

 
  • Commercial landings in metric tons of medium pelagics (A), groundfish (B), commercial small pelagics (C), and benthic invertebrates (D) in Georges Bank.
    Commercial landings in metric tons of medium pelagics (A), groundfish (B), commercial small pelagics (C), and benthic invertebrates (D) in Gulf of Maine.

    Commercial landings include all seafood landings in the region, including species not managed by NEFMC. These figures show seafood specific landings in Georges Bank (left) and Gulf of Maine (right) for medium pelagic (A), groundfish (B), commercial small pelagics (C), and benthos (D) species in metric tons. An orange trend line reflects a significant positive trend while purple indicates a significant negative trend. 


    These data are available for download here.

  • Recreational catch in New England.

    Recreational seafood landings (not including catch-and-release) are shown for New England in the figure above. These data are used to assess food use for recreationally caught species, and indicate a decline since sampling began.


    These data and data for more indicators related to recreational fishing are available here.

  • Revenue, price, and volume change of commercial fisheries in New England.

    The above figure shows the Bennet Indicator, which attributes changes in revenue (black line) to the combination of changes in price (green bars) and changes in landings volume (orange bar) for aggregated species in Gulf of Maine (A) and Georges Bank (B). The Bennet indicator is used to compare differences in revenue caused by changing quantities of landings and prices during the time period 1964-2016. Each year in the series is compared to an “average” year based on revenue during the entire period. Average revenue, landings and an implicit price (revenue/landings) are calculated for the time period. The volume indicator measures the contribution of changing quantities to revenue change and the price indicator measures the contribution of changing prices. The overall Bennet index is the sum of the volume and price indicators in each year


    In the years between 1970 and 1990, Gulf of Maine revenue was generally below average, and this was due to either lower volumes or lower prices depending on the year. After 1990, revenue was higher than average, before declining dramatically after 2000 mostly due to lower volumes. Revenue then fluctuated between 2008 and 2016, with some years being above average and some below. During most of these yearly cycles, changes in the volume of benthivorous species were responsible for the changes in overall volume. Benthivores were also the group whose price difference was the primary reason for the changes in the overall price. 


    These data were derived from the Commercial Fisheries Database Biological Sample (CFDBS). A derived version of can be found here.

  • Revenue from NEFMC managed (red) and unmanaged (black) commercial species in Gulf of Maine (top) and Georges Bank (bottom).

    Revenue from NEFMC managed (red) and unmanaged (black) commercial species in Gulf of Maine (A) and Georges Bank (B).


    These data were derived from the Commercial Fisheries Database Biological Sample (CFDBS). A derived version can be found here.

  • Fleet diversity (A) and fleet count (B) in New England.

    Commercial fleet diversity (top) and fleet count (bottom) in New England. A fleet is defined as the combination of gear code (Scallop Dredge, Other Dredge, Gillnet, Hand Gear, Longline, Bottom Trawl, Midwater Trawl, Pot, Purse Seine, or Clam Dredge) and vessel length category (Less than 30 ft, 30 to 50 ft, 50 to 75 feet, 75 ft and above). The indicator presented assesses the diversity of the overarching fleet, in terms of all revenue generated. There has been a decline in both fleet diversity and fleet count since the mid-1990s in New England.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Species revenue diversity (effective Shannon) in New England.

    Another diversity index is the average effective Shannon index for species revenue at the permit level, for all permits landing any amount of New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) species within a year (including both Monkfish and Spiny Dogfish). Although the exact value of the effective Shannon index is relatively uninformative, the major change in diversity seems to have occurred in the late 1990’s, with much of the recent index relatively stable.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Recreational participation in New England.

    Number of recreational anglers (A) and number of recreational trips (B) in the New England.


    These data and data for more indicators related to recreational fishing are available here.

  • Shellfish bed closures in New England. Locations reflect region of occurrence.

     

    The map above shows regional HAB-related shellfish bed closures in New England (2007-2016) categorized by syndrome associated with shellfish toxins. The seasonal occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in New England is responsible for fluxes of saxitoxin and domoic acid into shellfish beds, which can result in paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP) respectively. Blooms of the dinoflagellate Dinophysis could also pose a threat to New England waters, with the first ever Dinophysis related waterway closure in Massachusetts occurring in 2015. Dinophysis blooms are associated with diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (listed as DSP above).


    The data used to create this figure can be found here, and were derived from the report of the ICES-IOC WGHABD 2017

  • Bivariate choropleth maps of commercial (left) and recreational (right) reliance with social vulnerability in New England.

     

    Bivariate choropleth maps of commercial (A) and recreational (B) reliance crossed with social vulnerability in New England. The NOAA Fisheries Community Social Vulnerability Indicators (CSVIs) are statistical measures of the vulnerability of communities to events such as regulatory changes to fisheries, wind farms, and other ocean-based businesses, as well as to natural hazards, disasters, and climate change. The CSVIs currently serve as indicators of social vulnerability, gentrification pressure vulnerability, commercial and recreational fishing reliance and engagement, sea level rise risk, species vulnerability to climate change, and catch composition diversity.
     
    Here, we look at the extent to which commercial and recreational fishing reliance intersect with community social vulnerability in the New England region. Commercial fishing reliance is a measure of per capita pounds landed, value landed, commercial permits and commercial dealers in a community. Recreational reliance is a per capita measure of shore, private vessel and for-hire recreational fishing in a community. Social vulnerability represents social factors that can shape either an individual or community's ability to adapt to change. There are many socially vulnerable communities in the New England region, but with varying degrees of commercial and/or recreational fishing reliance. While there are some communities that are both moderate to highly socially vulnerable and moderate to highly reliant on commercial fishing in Northern New England, there are different communities in Southern New England that are both moderate to highly vulnerable and moderate to highly reliant on recreational fishing.


    The data used to make these figures can be found here.

  • Commercial species vulnerability to climate change in New England communities.

     

    Assessment of the potential impacts of climate change on recreational and commercial fishermen and their communities has begun by linking social and economic indicators of community vulnerability and resilience to the climate vulnerability assessments of biological and ecological change expected to result from climate change. New Bedford, the largest commercial fishing port in US (in terms of revenue) is heavily dependent on benthic species which are in turn highly vulnerable to climate change. Four of the top ports are dependent on an array of species, the majority of which are ranked as low to moderately vulnerable to climate change.

  • Five year mean of harbor porpoise bycatch throughout the Northeast US Continental Shelf. Potential Biological Removal (PBR) refers to the maximum permitted level.

    Rolling five year mean of harbor porpoise bycatch throughout the Northeast US Continental Shelf. At last measure, harbor porpoise bycatch is at or near the all-time low. Potential Biological Removal (PBR) refers to the maximum number of animals that may be removed annually from a marine mammal stock, not including natural mortalities, that allows a stock to reach an optimal sustainable size. Read more about protected species research and management strategies here. 


    NEFSC protected species time series data can be found here.

  • Median right whale abundance on the Northeast US Continental Shelf.

    North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered large whale populations in the world. Changes in right whale trends can have implications for fisheries management where fisheries interact with these whales. Although the population increased steadily from 1990 to 2011, it has decreased recently. Reduced survival rates of adult females and diverging abundance trends between sexes have also been observed. Further, right whale distribution has changed since 2010. The reasons for these changes is unclear, but changes in climate and primary prey (Calanus finmarchicus) are suspected. Not yet reflected in this trend are the 17 right whale deaths observed in 2017, 5 due to vessel strike (1 in US waters, 4 in Canadian waters), 3 from entanglement (2 in Canadian gear, 1 in unknown gear), and the rest from unknown causes. Read more about protected species research and management strategies here. 


    NEFSC protected species time series data can be found here.

  • NEFSC fall  and spring survey biomass of (a) medium pelagic fishes, (b) Mid-Atlantic groundfish, (c) commercial small pelagics, and (d) benthic invertebrates in Gulf of Maine.
    NEFSC fall  and spring survey biomass of (a) medium pelagic fishes, (b) Mid-Atlantic groundfish, (c) commercial small pelagics, and (d) benthic invertebrates in Georges Bank.

    NEFSC fall (black line) and spring (red line) survey biomass of medium pelagic fishes (A), groundfish (B), commercial small pelagics (C), and benthic invertebrates (D) in Gulf of Maine (left) and Georges Bank (right). Medium pelagic species (i.e. striped bass and bluefish) are not present or rare in Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine spring survey data. Learn more about the relationships between these groups and human activities, environmental drivers, and ecological interactions here


    These data are available for download here.

  • Shannon diversity of ichthyoplankton species in the spring (A) and fall (B) surveys from the US Northeast Continental Shelf.
    Counts of ichthyoplankton species in diversity analyses in the spring (C) and fall (D) surveys.

    Ichthyoplankton Shannon diversity and species counts in the spring (top) and fall (bottom). Diversity here is estimated using data from the NOAA NEFSC Oceans and Climate branch public dataset for 45 abundant and well-identified ichthyoplankton taxa, and shows a decrease for one season (spring), suggesting that survey timing may be interacting with changes in spawn timing or migration of adult fish, as well as a potential change in ichthyoplankton availability due to adult fish distribution shifts. The decrease in spring ichthyoplankton diversity coincides with an increase in the spring abundance of sand lance (Ammodytes spp.) larvae, an important prey species. Researchers documented a significant seasonal shift from winter to spring based on annual relative proportions from 1977-1987 to 1999-2008.


    Ichthyplankton diversity data for the NE-LME can be found here.

  • Sea scallop along-shelf distance from spring and fall NEFSC survey data

    Along-shelf distance is a metric for quantifying the distribution of a species through time along the axis of the US Northeast Continental Shelf, which originates in the southwest Atlantic and extends northeastward. Values in the time series correspond to mean distance from the southwest origin of the along-shelf axis at 0. Along-shelf distance data for sea scallop from the NEFSC spring (A) and fall (B) surveys show no significant changes over time.

     Sea scallop mean depth on US Northeast Continental Shelf.

    Another metric used to assess changes in species distribution is mean depth of occurrence, shown above for spring (A) and fall (B) survey data of sea scallop.


    These data and results from similar analyses for many more species can be found here.

  • Atlantic cod along-shelf distance

    Along-shelf distance is a metric for quantifying the distribution of a species through time along the axis of the US Northeast Continental Shelf, which originates in the southwest Atlantic and extends northeastward. Values in the time series correspond to mean distance from the southwest origin of the along-shelf axis at 0. Along-shelf distance of Atlantic cod has significantly increased for both spring (A) and fall (B) survey time series; indicative of a distribution shift northward. 

     Mean depth of Atlantic cod

    Another metric used to assess changes in species distribution is mean depth of occurrence, shown above for spring (A) and fall (B) survey data of Atlantic cod. There have been significant increases in mean depth of Atlantic cod on the Northeast US Continental Shelf. 


    These data and results from similar analyses for many more species can be found here.

  • Current and historical abundance of sea scallop (A) with current thermal habitat estimate (B) and 20-40 year thermal habitat projection (C).

    Current and historical abundance of sea scallop (A) with current thermal habitat estimate (B) and 20-40 year thermal habitat projection (C). Thermal habitat for individual species can then be projected using global climate models. While thermal habitat is only part of the picture, and species may adapt to new thermal regimes, these projections indicate the potential for key species to thrive or not over the coming decades, where further ocean warming is expected. Sea scallop thermal habitat is projected to decline. 


    Kernel density maps for many more NE-LME species can be found here. Thermal habitat projection data may for sea scallop are available for download here.  

  • Current and historical abundance of Atlantic cod (A) with current thermal habitat estimate (B) and 20-40 year thermal habitat projection (C).

    Current and historical abundance of Atlantic cod (A) with current thermal habitat estimate (B) and 20-40 year thermal habitat projection (C). Thermal habitat for individual species can then be projected using global climate models. While thermal habitat is only part of the picture, and species may adapt to new thermal regimes, these projections indicate the potential for key species to thrive or not over the coming decades, where further ocean warming is expected. Atlantic cod thermal habitat is projected to decline.


    Kernel density maps for many more NE-LME species can be found here. Thermal habitat projection data may for sea scallop are available for download here.  

  • Long-term sea-surface temperatures in the NE-LME

    Sea surface temperature (SST) measurements have been collected on the Northeast Continental Shelf since the mid- 1800s. The highest mean annual temperature in this time series was recorded in 2012, as the ecosystem warmed above the levels last seen in the late 1940s. The 2017 datum is the sixth highest temperature in the time series. The positive trend over the full time series (1856-2016) is significant, and the trend over the most recent decade of the time series is even greater. Read more about SSTs on the Northeast US Continental Shelf here.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Seasonal sea-surface temperature anomalies in the Northwest Atlantic.

    Seasonal sea-surface temperature anomalies on the US Northeast Continental Shelf between 1982-2017. In 2017 there was slight cooling during the spring of 2017 on Georges Bank, where SSTs were close to the long-term mean, although SSTs were above average in the winter and fall months. Gulf of Maine experienced above average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) throughout most of 2017, with the exception of the spring when SSTs were only slightly above average. Spring and summer months saw closer to average SSTs in the region.


    Data for this figure and other SST time series were acquired from NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory

  • Sea-surface temperatures, primary production, and chlorophyll a for 2017 in Gulf of Maine.

    The above figure shows sea surface temperature (A), primary production (B), and chlorophyll a (C) for 2017 relative to the long-term mean (black line) for Gulf of Maine. Regions shaded in red or dark green reflect daily mean values > 1 SD above the long-term mean. Gulf of Maine experienced above average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) throughout most of 2017, with the exception of the spring when SSTs were only slightly above average. 

    Chlorophyll a (CHL), an index for phytoplankton biomass, was below average in 2017, including during the spring bloom period in Gulf of Maine. Conversely, primary production (PP) was at or above average during most of 2017. 

     Sea-surface temperatures, primary production, and chlorophyll a for 2017 on Georges Bank.

    There was slight cooling during the spring of 2017 on Georges Bank (above) where SSTs were close to the long-term mean, although SSTs were above average in the winter and fall months. Patterns in PP and CHL production on Georges Bank were similar to those seen in Gulf of Maine, with above average PP and below average CHL. The above average PP rates in the fall could be due to the above average temperatures supporting increased remineralization of nutrients and regenerated production by smaller phytoplankton species. This suggests that while overall PP may be increasing, not all of excess PP may be available to higher trophic levels.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Primary production anomaly ratio in New England
    Chlorophyll anomaly ratio in New England

    These figures show mean primary productivity (PP) and chlorophyll α (CHL) anomaly ratios in New England during 2017. A value larger than one indicates an increase from the long-term mean. PP in the region was above the long-term mean in 2017, and CHL was lower than average. The above average PP rates in the fall could be due to the above average temperatures supporting increased remineralization of nutrients and regenerated production by smaller phytoplankton species. This suggests that while overall PP may be increasing, not all of excess PP may be available to higher trophic levels.


    Data for primary production and chlorophyll a used to make the figures above are available here and here.

  • Copepod size index (black) and primary production anomaly ratio (green) for Gulf of Maine (A) and Georges Bank (B)

    Small-large copepod size index (black line) and primary production anomaly ratio (green line) in Gulf of Maine (A) and Georges Bank (B). There are coherent patterns between the primary production anomaly and the copepod size index for both GB and GOM. While the trends were in opposite direction early in the time series (1998-2002), increasing PP generally led to an increase in the copepod size index after 2002, when an anomalous period of high abundance of small copepods ended. This period of high abundance of small copepods began in the early 1990's and was attributed to a prolonged influx of Scotian shelf waters affecting productivity in the GOM, and can be seen in the time series of Pseudocalanus spp. in the GOM.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Pseudocalanus spp. (A) and C. finmarchicus (B) abundance anomalies in Gulf of Maine

    Pseudocalanus spp. (A) and C. finmarchicus (B) abundance anomalies in Gulf of Maine. Pseudocalanus spp., an important food source for juvenile cod and haddock, saw low abundances between 2002-2014. C. finmarchicus abundance has remained near average since the mid-1990s.

     Pseudocalanus spp. (A) and C. finmarchicus (B) abundance anomalies in Georges Bank

    Pseudocalanus spp. (A) and C. finmarchicus (B) abundance anomalies on Georges Bank. There has been a long-term decline in Pseudocalanus spp. on Georges Bank, along with a decline in abundance of C. finmarchicus since the mid-2000s. C. finmarchicus are the principal prey of North Atlantic right whales; reductions in C. finmarchicus populations potentially impact the most vulnerable protected species in our region as well as key forage fish that feed on them, with implications throughout the food web.


    These data are available for download here

  • Fish condition, measuring weight-per-length of surveyed species in New England.

    Fish condition is measured as the weight per length - a measure of "fatness". This information is from NEFSC bottom trawl surveys and shows a change in condition across all species at around 2000. Around 2010-2013 many species started to have better condition, while yellowtail flounder remain thinner for their length on average. This matches the trend in small-large copepods, perhaps reflecting changing nutrition across many species contributing to changes in condition. 


    These data are available for download here.

  • Productivity (a measure of weight-per-length) of groundfish species in New England.

    The amount of small fish relative to larger fish of the same species from the NEFSC surey is a simple measure of productivity, intended to complement model-based stock assessment estimates of recruitment for commercial species. There are no clear long term trends in this indicator when aggregated across all species in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank.


    These data are available for download here

  • Commercial landings in metric tons of medium pelagics (A), groundfish (B), commercial small pelagics (C), and benthic invertebrates.

    Commercial seafood landings in metric tons of medium pelagics (A), Mid-Atlantic groundfish (B), commercial small pelagics (C), and benthic invertebrates (D) in the Mid-Atlantic. Landings are presented from 1986 onwards in order to remove the influence of foreign landings on trend. An orange trend line indicates a significant positive trend overall, and a purple trend line denotes a significantly decreasing trend. 


    These data are available for download here.

  • Recreational catch in the Mid-Atlantic.

    Recreational seafood landings in the Mid-Atlantic (not including catch-and-release) are shown in the figure above. These data are used to assess food use for recreationally caught species, and indicate a decline since sampling began.


    These data and data for more indicators related to recreational fishing are available here.

  • Revenue, price, and volume change of commercial fisheries in the Mid-Atlantic Bight

    The above figure shows the Bennet Indicator, which attributes changes in revenue (black line) to the combination of changes in price (green bars) and changes in landings volume (orange bar) for aggregated species. Prior to 2000, revenue was generally negative compared to average, and for most years this was caused by lower prices. After 2000, there were periods of positive and negative revenue gain. Price increases of benthic species (e.g. sea scallop) contributed most to revenue changes after 2000. 


    These data were derived from the Commercial Fisheries Database Biological Sample (CFDBS). A derived version of can be found here.

  • Revenue from MAFMC managed (red) and unmanaged (black) commercial species in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.

    Revenue from Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council managed (red) and unmanaged (black) commercial species in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.


    These data were derived from the Commercial Fisheries Database Biological Sample (CFDBS). A derived version can be found here.

  • Fleet diversity (A) and fleet count (B) in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.

    Commercial fleet diversity (top) and fleet count (bottom) in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. A fleet is defined as the combination of gear code (Scallop Dredge, Other Dredge, Gillnet, Hand Gear, Longline, Bottom Trawl, Midwater Trawl, Pot, Purse Seine, or Clam Dredge) and vessel length category (Less than 30 ft, 30 to 50 ft, 50 to 75 feet, 75 ft and above). The indicator presented assesses the diversity of the overarching fleet, in terms of all revenue generated.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Shannon index for species revenue at the permit level in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.

    Average effective Shannon index for species revenue at the permit level, for all permits landing any amount of Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) species within a year (including monkfish and spiny dogfish).


    These data are available for download here.

  • Number of recreational anglers (A) and number of recreational trips (B) in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.

    Number of recreational anglers (A) and number of recreational trips (B) in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Number of oysters sold in Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey.

    Number of aquaculture-raised oysters sold in Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey between 2005 and 2016, collected from surveys of oyster farmers.


    These data are available for download here. 

  • Occurrence of all algal blooms at concentrations warranting action by the Virginia Department of Health (black), and occurrence of C. polykrikoides in Chesapeake Bay at cell concentrations >300,000 cells per L (red).

    Occurrence of all algal blooms at concentrations warranting action by the Virginia Department of Health (>5e6 cells per L; black), and occurrence of C. polykrikoides in Chesapeake Bay at cell concentrations >3e5 cells per L (red). Fish exposed to C. polykrikoides cell concentrations >3e5 cells per L experience near total mortality in as little as one hour. Data here were limited in spatial extent to southern Chesapeake Bay.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Bivariate choropleth maps of commercial (left) and recreational (right) reliance with social vulnerability in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.

    Bivariate choropleth maps of commercial (A) and recreational (B) reliance crossed with social vulnerability in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. The NOAA Fisheries Community Social Vulnerability Indicators (CSVIs) are statistical measures of the vulnerability of communities to events such as regulatory changes to fisheries, wind farms, and other ocean-based businesses, as well as to natural hazards, disasters, and climate change. The CSVIs currently serve as indicators of social vulnerability, gentrification pressure vulnerability, commercial and recreational fishing reliance and engagement, sea level rise risk, species vulnerability to climate change, and catch composition diversity.

    Here, we look at the extent to which commercial and recreational fishing reliance intersect with community social vulnerability in the Mid-Atlantic region. Commercial fishing reliance is a measure of per capita pounds landed, value landed, commercial permits and commercial dealers in a community. Recreational reliance is a per capita measure of shore, private vessel and for-hire recreational fishing in a community. Social vulnerability represents social factors that can shape either an individual or community’s ability to adapt to change. There are many socially vulnerable communities in the Mid-Atlantic region, but with varying degrees of commercial and/or recreational fishing reliance. While there are some communities that are both moderate to highly socially vulnerable and moderate to highly reliant on commercial fishing  there are many more communities that are both moderate to highly vulnerable and moderate to highly reliant on recreational fishing primarily in New Jersey and New York.


    These derived data are available for download here.

  • Commercial species vulnerability to climate change in Mid-Atlantic communities.

    Six key Mid-Atlantic fishing communities were evaluated for their dependence on species vulnerable to climate change and catch composition diversity. Five of the six communities had a majority of revenue from species highly vulnerable to climate change.

  • Five year mean of harbor porpoise bycatch throughout the Northeast US Continental Shelf. Potential Biological Removal (PBR) refers to the maximum permitted level.

    Rolling five year mean of harbor porpoise bycatch throughout the Northeast US Continental Shelf. At last measure, harbor porpoise bycatch is at or near the all-time low. Potential Biological Removal (PBR) refers to the maximum number of animals that may be removed annually from a marine mammal stock, not including natural mortalities, that allows a stock to reach an optimal sustainable size. Read more about protected species research and management strategies here.


    NEFSC protected species time series data can be found here

  • Median right whale abundance on the Northeast US Continental Shelf.

    North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered large whale populations in the world. Changes in right whale trends can have implications for fisheries management where fisheries interact with these whales. Although the population increased steadily from 1990 to 2011, it has decreased recently. Reduced survival rates of adult females and diverging abundance trends between sexes have also been observed. Further, right whale distribution has changed since 2010. The reasons for these changes is unclear, but changes in climate and primary prey (Calanus finmarchicus) are suspected. Not yet reflected in this trend are the 17 right whale deaths observed in 2017, 5 due to vessel strike (1 in US waters, 4 in Canadian waters), 3 from entanglement (2 in Canadian gear, 1 in unknown gear), and the rest from unknown causes. Read more about protected species research and management strategies here.


    NEFSC protected species time series data can be found here

  • NEFSC fall survey biomass of (a) medium pelagic fishes, (b) Mid-Atlantic groundfish, (c) commercial small pelagics, and (d) benthic invertebrates.
    NEFSC fall survey biomass of (a) medium pelagic fishes, (b) Mid-Atlantic groundfish, (c) commercial small pelagics, and (d) benthic invertebrates.

    Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) fall (left) and spring (right) survey biomasses of medium pelagic fishes (A), Mid-Atlantic groundfish (B), commercial small pelagics (C), and benthic invertebrates (D) in the Mid-Atlantic. Learn more about the relationships between these groups and human activities, environmental drivers, and ecological interactions here.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Shannon diversity of ichthyoplankton species in the spring (A) and fall (B) surveys from the US Northeast Continental Shelf.
    Counts of ichthyoplankton species in diversity analyses in the spring (C) and fall (D) surveys.

    Ichthyoplankton Shannon diversity and species counts in the spring (top) and fall (bottom). Diversity here is estimated using data from the NOAA NEFSC Oceans and Climate branch public dataset for 45 abundant and well-identified ichthyoplankton taxa, and shows a decrease for one season (spring), suggesting that survey timing may be interacting with changes in spawn timing or migration of adult fish, as well as a potential change in ichthyoplankton availability due to adult fish distribution shifts (see below). The decrease in spring ichthyoplankton diversity coincides with an increase in the spring abundance of sand lance (Ammodytes spp.) larvae, an important prey species. Researchers documented a significant seasonal shift from winter to spring based on annual relative proportions from 1977-1987 to 1999-2008.


    Ichthyplankton diversity data for the NE-LME can be found here.

  • Mean along-shelf distance of black sea bass; an important groundfish in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.

    Along-shelf distance is a metric for quantifying the distribution of a species through time, where the along-shelf axis originates in the southwest of the Northeast US Continental Shelf and extends northeastward. Values in the time series correspond to mean distance from the southwest origin of the along-shelf axis at 0. The spring distribution of black sea bass (A) has shown significant increases northward since about 1970, whereas the fall distribution (B) has remained close to average.


    These data and results from similar analyses can be found here.

  • Mean along-shelf distance of summer flounder; an important groundfish in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.

    Along-shelf distance is a metric for quantifying the distribution of a species through time, where the along-shelf axis originates in the southwest of the Northeast US Continental Shelf and extends northeastward. Values in the time series correspond to mean distance from the southwest origin of the along-shelf axis at 0. Similar to along-shelf distance of black sea bass, the spring distribution of summer flounder (A) has shown significant increases northward since about 1970, whereas the fall distribution (B) has remained close to average.


    These data and results from similar analyses can be found here.

  • Current and historical abundance of black sea bass (A) with current thermal habitat estimate (B) and 20-40 year thermal habitat projection (C).

    Current and historical abundance of black sea bass (A) with current thermal habitat estimate (B) and 20-40 year thermal habitat projection (C). Thermal habitat for individual species can then be projected using global climate models. While thermal habitat is only part of the picture, and species may adapt to new thermal regimes, these projections indicate the potential for key species to thrive or not over the coming decades, where further ocean warming is expected. Black sea bass thermal habitat is projected to decline. Read more about NE-LME species distributions here.

  • Current and historical abundance of summer flounder (A) with current thermal habitat estimate (B) and 20-40 year thermal habitat projection (C).

    Current and historical abundance of summer flounder (A) with current thermal habitat estimate (B) and 20-40 year thermal habitat projection (C). Thermal habitat for individual species can then be projected using global climate models. Summer flounder habitat continues to expand and move further offshore.  Read more about NE-LME species distributions here .

  • Records of southern kingfish from the Mid-Atlantic in the NEFSC observer database.

    Records of southern kingfish since 2010 obtained through the NEFSC Observer Program in the Mid-Atlantic. Fishery observer records indicate that southern kingfish sightings have increased since 2014 when species validation methods were implemented, but this increasing trend has been in place since 2010.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Long-term sea-surface temperatures in the NE-LME

    Sea surface temperature (SST) measurements have been collected on the Northeast Continental Shelf since the mid- 1800s. The highest mean annual temperature in this time series was recorded in 2012, as the ecosystem warmed above the levels last seen in the late 1940s. The 2017 datum is the sixth highest temperature in the time series. The positive trend over the full time series (1856-2016) is significant, and the trend over the most recent decade of the time series is even greater. Read more about SSTs on the Northeast US Continental Shelf here.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Seasonal sea-surface temperature anomalies in the Northwest Atlantic.

    Seasonal sea-surface temperature anomalies on the US Northeast Continental Shelf between 1982-2017. The Mid-Atlantic saw above average temperatures throughout the year; especially in the winter and fall of 2017. Spring and summer months saw closer to average SSTs in the region.


    Data for this figure and other SST time series were acquired from NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory

  • Sea-surface temperatures, primary production, and chlorophyll a for 2017 in the Mid-Atlantic.

    The above figure shows sea surface temperature (A), primary production (B), and chlorophyll a (C) for 2017 relative to the long-term mean (black line) for the Mid-Atlantic Bight. Regions shaded in red or dark green reflect daily mean values > 1 SD above the long-term mean. The Mid-Atlantic experienced above average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) throughout most of 2017, with the exception of early summer when SSTs were close to average. 

    Chlorophyll a (CHL), an index for phytoplankton biomass, was below average in 2017, including during the spring bloom period in the Mid-Atlantic. Conversely, primary production (PP) was at or above average during most of 2017.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Mean primary production and chlorophyll a anomaly ratios in the Mid-Atlantic Bight in 2017.

    These figures show mean primary productivity (PP) and chlorophyll α (CHL) anomaly ratios in the Mid-Atlantic Bight during 2017, where a value larger than one indicates an increase from the long-term mean. The Mid-Atlantic saw relatively high rates of PP in 2017, and lower CHL production in more southerly, nearshore regions. 


    Data for primary production and chlorophyll a used to make the figures above are available here and here.

  • Primary productivity anomaly (green) and small-large copepod index (black). A higher abundance of <i>C. finmarchicus</i> results in lower values of the small-large index.

    Primary productivity anomaly ratio (green) and small-large copepod index (black). There is a coherent pattern between the primary production anomaly and the copepod size index for the MAB, with distinct peaks in production centered around 2002, 2010, and 2015, when the copepod size index was positive. The copepod size index relates the abundance anomaly of small bodied copepods to the abundance of a large bodied copepod, Calanus finmarchicus.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Fish condition, measuring weight-per-length of surveyed species in the Mid-Atlantic.

     

    Fish condition is a measure of weight-per-length of surveyed species. This information is drawn from NEFSC bottom trawl surveys and shows a change in condition across all species at around 2000. Between 2010-2013 many species started to have better condition, while black sea bass, goosefish and male spiny dogfish remained thinner for their length on average. This matches the trend in small-large copepods, perhaps reflecting changing nutrition across many species contributing to changes in condition.


    These data are available for download here.

  • Productivity (ratio of small fish per large fish biomass) of groundfish species in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.

    The number of small fish relative to the biomass of larger fish of the same species from the NEFSC survey is a simple measure of productivity, intended to complement model-based stock assessment estimates of recruitment for commercial species. The above figure shows a general decline in the productivity of commercial groundfish species in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.


    These data are available for download here