Social, Economic, Cultural, and Policy Research in the Northeast
We aim to improve regional and national benefits derived from renewable marine resources through socioeconomic research.
The Northeast’s social sciences staff conducts research on the use and management of commercial and recreational fisheries, protected species, and marine ecosystems. Socioeconomic studies help to improve the benefits and well-being of communities that depend on marine resources.
Performance measures work similarly to fish stock assessments, but focuses on the people involved in harvesting fish commercially or recreationally. By studying people and their communities, we are able to see the bigger picture.
NOAA’s vision of the future is one of healthy ecosystems, communities, and economies that can survive changes. In order to develop this resilience, we must understand how communities respond and adapt to change. This information comes from studying the historical, social, and economic attributes of communities found in various forms of research, such as
- Oral histories
- Focus groups
- Ethnographic interviews
- Survey dataset analyses
Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management
The primary guidance for ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) comes from the EBFM policy and EBFM roadmap at the National and regional level, and the Northeast Region Strategic Plan. These documents provide three broad categories of work that our Social Sciences Branch undertakes: Integrated Ecosystem Assessments, coupled models, and ecosystem services valuation.
Economics of Protected Species
Recovery plans for protected species are needed to reduce threats, such as commercial and recreational fishing, shipping, pollution, climate change, habitat degradation, ecosystem alterations, and energy exploration. These threats and growing competition for marine resources calls for a more integrated approach to protected species recovery. Protected species economics research seeks to understand the effectiveness of recovery plan alternatives and the consequences of using or not using marine environments and resources while simultaneously working to preserve them.
Recreational economics research provides policy-relevant information and products to support the current and emerging needs of the regional fishery management councils, the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, and other stakeholder organizations, such as industry organizations, state fishery management agencies, the recreational fishing public, and others.
Fisheries, aquaculture, and seafood play major roles in the broader regional, national, and international food network. We study and document how these networks and systems support sustainable fisheries and resilient coastal communities. Our work also strives to understand the impacts of fisheries regulations and policy on food systems and the connections between fisheries and public health and nutrition.