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 multiple state and federal fishery independent bottom trawl surveys for the fall season. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) produced fish biomass and distribution products in partnership with OceanAdapt (a collaboration between the Pinksy Lab at Rutgers University and the National Marine Fisheries Service) for federal fishery independent bottom trawl surveys for the spring and fall seasons. Collectively, the fish biomass data span the areas from Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
Fish individual species products
NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center NEFSC led the original MDAT effort in summarizing fish biomass and distribution, as part of their ongoing Ecosystem Assessment work on the Northeast Continental Shelf, which spans Cape Hatteras, NC to the Gulf of Maine. The Ecosystem Considerations website provides a broad overview of the ecology of the region through several topics including climate change, ecosystem status, current conditions, spatial analyses, and modeling approaches. In 2019, TNC worked with MDAT, OceanAdapt, and NEFSC to create updated products for the fall bottom trawl survey data, and to add the spring bottom trawl data products, based on recent advances in the analysis methods developed by NEFSC, and requests from users.
These data contain maps for individual species of fish that were developed by TNC using data from NEFSC, and by the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) using data from 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 link below to access online map services for individual species from the NEFSC sources:
Under this directory, you will find the following layers for each species:
Observed biomass - Each observation is plotted as a circle, where the circle size represents the value of the total fish biomass (kg) in the tow.
Interpolated biomass - Biomass values are established by interpolation using inverse distance weighting and modified depending on the bathymetry. With this approach bottom depth differences between the interpolated points and observed data serve as a third dimension of distance, with a parameter converting depth differences to horizontal differences. Prior to interpolation, the biomass values were transformed using a cubic root to ensure normality. Strata that were not surveyed were removed from the interpolations. The grid size is 2km x 2km.
Click on the links below to access online map services for individual species from these three 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.
- Northeast Ocean Data Portal Fish Viewer
- Mid-Atlantic Marine Life Library
- The MarineCadastre.gov team has selected a subset of the fish layers to include in the National Viewer
If you use this dataset or portions of this dataset in a scientific publication or other formal publication, we request that you cite the Curtice et al. (2019) publication, and the relevant dataset: Ribera et al. dataset (2019), or Fogarty & Perretti dataset (2016):
NEFSC products: Ribera, M., Pinsky, M., Richardson, D. 2019. Distribution and biomass data for fish species along the U.S. east coast from about Cape Hatteras north to Canadian waters, created by The Nature Conservancy for the Marine-life and Data Analysis Team. Online access: http://www.northeastoceandata.org/data-explorer/?fish
MDMF, MENH, NEAMAP products: Fogarty, M. and Perretti, C. 2016. Distribution and biomass data for fish species along the U.S. east coast from about Cape Hatteras north to waters in the state of Maine, created by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center for the Northeast Regional Ocean Council. Online access: http://www.northeastoceandata.org/data-explorer/?fish
Curtice, C., Cleary J., Shumchenia E., Halpin P.N. 2019. 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 and Dynamic Branch and The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Data sourced from fall (2010-2016) and spring (2010-2017) bottom trawl surveys performed by NEFSC Ecosystem Surveys Branch, 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 about NEAMAP, MDMF, MENH map products, please contact Michael Fogarty (NOAA NEFSC, firstname.lastname@example.org). For information about the mapping procedure for the NEFSC base-layer products, please contact David Richardson (NOAA NEFSC, email@example.com).