Habitat

Northeast management objective

Maintain habitat productivity and diversity

Management objectives related to marine habitat include maintaining habitat productivity and diversity. To assess marine habitat, NOAA scientists and partners build probabilistic models of habitat area and species' distributions throughout the Northeast US Continental Shelf, which are then made available to relevant Fishery Management Councils. Thermal habitat projections are also incorporated to model future habitat area based on changes to surface and bottom water temperatures. These models show that many northerly distributed fishes at the southern extent of their ranges will see diminishing habitat over the next century, whereas southerly distributed species may see range increases. As environmental conditions in the region are predicted to change dramatically over the next century, these modeling approaches highlight ways that the Integrated Ecosystem Assessment can be implemented to anticipate changes to ecologically and economically important fish distributions.

For indicator data that describes the status and trend of the Habitat management objective, such as sea scallop thermal habitat and Atlantic cod thermal habitat, see Indicator Data.

Summer flounder historic and current range (A), current thermal habitat (B), and 20-40 projected thermal habitat (C).
Summer flounder historic and current range (A), current thermal habitat (B), and 20-40 year projected thermal habitat (C). Thermal habitat projections serve as estimates of future suitable habitat for a species given changes in ocean temperatures.