The Northeast Regional Ocean Council and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) collaborated to fund the development of maps of marine life to support ocean planning and management. Researchers at several institutions who work collaboratively as the Marine-life Data and Analysis Team (MDAT) assembled a collection of new maps that represents one of the largest known efforts globally to assemble and disseminate spatial data for multiple species and taxa of marine life. As part of this effort, the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) mapped the biomass of fish species using data from their own 46-year trawl survey, as well as data from the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, and data from the North East Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (NEAMAP). Collectively, the fish biomass data span the areas from Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Information about the fish mapping methodology is available by visiting http://nefsc.noaa.gov/ecosys.

Fish individual species products

These data contain individual species maps for fish that were developed by the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) through a partnership with the Marine-life Data and Analysis Team (MDAT) using data from NEFSC, the state of Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MDMF) trawl, the states of Maine and New Hampshire (ME/NH) trawl and the North East Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (NEAMAP) trawl. Each set of fish trawl data sources has used standardized survey designs and data collection methodologies but some have used different vessels and gears over time. Results have been normalized to account for these vessel and gear differences within each data source, however no method has yet been applied to normalize data across the different sources.

Click on the links below to access online map services for individual species from these four sources.

Under each of these directories, you will find the following layers for each species:

Log biomass - Each raw observation is plotted as a circle, where the circle size is proportional to the value of the total fish biomass in the tow.

Mean log biomass - The survey area is divided into a grid of hexagons and the mean is calculated from the natural logarithm of total fish biomass from all observations that occur within each hexagon.

Variance of log biomass - Uncertainty is estimated as the variance of the log-kilograms of total fish biomass per tow within each hexagon.

Interpolated natural log biomass - Created by applying an inverse-distance weighting algorithm to all observations (natural logarithm of total fish biomass), to smooth over multiple observations and to interpolate results in areas with few observations. The grid size is 10km x 10km.

More information


Any use of the data should be accompanied by the following citations:

Michael Fogarty, Charles Perretti (2016) Distribution and biomass data for fish species along the US east coast from about Cape Hatteras north to Canadian waters, created by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center for the Northeast Regional Ocean Council.

Curtice, C., Cleary J., Shumchenia E., Halpin P.N. 2018. Marine-life Data and Analysis Team (MDAT) technical report on the methods and development of marine-life data to support regional ocean planning and management. Prepared on behalf of the Marine-life Data and Analysis Team (MDAT). Accessed at: http://seamap.env.duke.edu/models/MDAT/MDAT-Technical-Report.pdf


Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) Ecosystem Assessment Program. Data sourced from fall bottom trawl surveys performed by NEFSC (1970-2014), Northeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (2007-2014), Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (1978-2014), and the Maine Department of Marine Resources and New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (2000-2014). These products represent the results of aggregating and interpolating trawl point data along the US east coast from North Carolina to Maine. For more information, please contact Michael Fogarty (NOAA NEFSC, michael.fogarty@noaa.gov).