Ecosystem Productivity

Northeast management objective

Maintain total harvested species biomass above a dynamic biomass threshold

Ecosystem productivity (EP) refers to the aggregate productivity of all the individuals in the ecosystem. Marine ecosystems ultimately depend on the amount of primary production occurring at the base of the food web. Most, if not all, stated management objectives related to Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEA) are in some way tied to EP. Ecosystem productivity is measured across trophic levels in the Northeast Large Marine Ecosystem (NE-LME). For example, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) uses measurements of the primary photosynthetic pigment, chlorophyll a (CHL), as a proxy for estimating phytoplankton biomass and modeling primary productivity. Metrics quantifying productivity for other trophic levels, such as primary consumers like zooplankton and groundfish, have also been developed. EP in the NE-LME is highly temporally and spatially variable, and is influenced by environmental drivers and human activities, including fishing pressures, development, and climate change.

See groundfish productivity, groundfish condition, primary production, and chlorophyll a indicator data, which shows the status and trends of Ecosystem Productivity management objective here.

Annual mean anomaly ratio for primary production in the Mid-Atlantic Bight
Annual mean primary productivity anomaly ratio between 1998-2017.