Our Location

Map of New England/Mid-Atlantic region with labs labeled

The NEFSC’s functions are carried out through the coordinated efforts of research facilities in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Our multidisciplinary program of basic and applied research covers the Northeast Continental Shelf Ecosystem from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras.

What We Do

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center has conducted a comprehensive marine science program in the region since 1871. We  study fishery species and fisheries, monitor and model ocean ecosystems, and provide reliable advice for policy makers. Our work promotes recovery and long-term sustainability of marine life in the region, supports both wild and cultured seafood harvests, helps sustain coastal  communities, and generates economic opportunities and  benefits from the use of these resources.  We strive to be objective and impartial, and to provide the best science available for ocean stewardship. We work with the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office to ensure informed management decisions based on sound science.

Ecosystems and Aquaculture


We study the interactions between the environment and marine life to promote sustainable wild-caught and cultivated fisheries, and to conserve protected species in the Northeast Continental Shelf ecosystem.

Fishery Monitoring and Research

We provide services that help maintain productive and sustainable fisheries, recover and conserve protected species like whales and endangered fish,  and support healthy marine ecosystems.

Population and Ecosystems Monitoring and Analysis

We maintain a comprehensive data collection effort, including  biological samples taken directly from fish and other sea life in our oceans. These collections provide data used to assess the status and trends of fishery resources and the dynamics of the ecological processes that control resource productivity. Over time they are an index of the fast moving changes off our coast owing to human activities and a changing climate.

Resource Evaluation and Assessment

We determine the effects of management measures on the status of fishery and protected species, and also examine the impacts of management actions on the individuals, businesses, and communities in the region that depend on these stocks.


Our Leadership

Management Team

Other Locations

Woods Hole MA

The Woods Hole facility is the nation’s first federal fisheries lab, established in 1871.The NEFSC directorate is located here along with the majority of stock assessment, population biology, fishery monitoring, marine mammal, and social sciences researchers. The lab also houses the nation’s oldest public aquarium, open to visitors year-round.

Milford CT

Located on the shore of Long Island Sound, the Milford Lab’s well-integrated aquaculture program includes studies of the culture of fish and shellfish to develop methods suitable for commercial use as well as for stock enhancement and restoration. Nearshore habitats are studied to determine what characteristics make a habitat suitable for a particular species.

Narragansett RI

At this lab, research is conducted on the effects of changing oceanographic and ecological conditions on the productivity and health of the Northeast US Continental Shelf ecosystem. Studies also are conducted on the demography and ecology of shark populations in response to oceanographic conditions to provide information for shark assessment and management.

Orono ME

At the Orono station, the Atlantic Salmon Ecosystems Research Team works to promote the recovery and future sustainability of Atlantic salmon and other diadromous fish and their ecosystems. ASERT primarily focuses on fish in the estuarine and marine environment.

Sandy Hook NJ

The James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory is a state-of-the-art marine research facility. The primary mission of the lab is to conduct research in ecology, leading to a better understanding of both coastal and estuarine organisms and the effects of human activities on nearshore marine populations.

Our History


Since 1871, when NOAA Fisheries’ first laboratory was founded in Woods Hole, we have conducted a comprehensive marine science program, studying fishery species and fisheries, monitoring and modeling ocean conditions and habitats, developing aquaculture, and providing reliable advice for policymakers. Our work promotes recovery and long-term sustainability of marine life in the region and helps sustain coastal communities.