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Socioeconomic, Cultural, and Policy Research in the Northeast

Through social science research, we aim to better understand the relationship between humans and the marine environment and to improve the benefits our nation and region derive from renewable marine resources.

Crew on deck of the FV Endurance, working on the gear.

The Northeast’s social science staff conducts economic, social, cultural, and policy research. This research focuses on the use and management of commercial and recreational fishery species, protected species, and marine ecosystems. Social science studies help to improve the benefits we all derive from the ocean and the well-being of communities that depend on these marine resources.

Here are some of our most in-demand products. Each reflects years of data collection and analysis:

Commercial Vessel Cost Data Visualization

Our social scientists conduct commercial vessel cost surveys to better understand trends and patterns in commercial fishing business costs in Northeast fisheries. A new data visualization tool displays data from surveys conducted in 2011, 2012, and 2015. It includes multiple expense categories and gear types. In 2023, we launched a new and improved version of the survey. These surveys are the only direct source of vessel cost data in our region. 

Commercial Fishing Performance Measures

This interactive product displays trends in key indicators of economic and social performance for commercial fishing activity throughout the Northeast region by the fishery management plan. Indicators include measures of fishing revenue, effort, prices, fishing activity by community, community profiles, and community resilience. The fishery management plans covered are for species managed by the New England and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils.

Community Snapshots

Fishing community snapshots provide descriptive community-level information about Northeast fishing cities and towns. Key indicators include landings of commercial and recreational species, community composition, and population demographics. Using this information, the snapshots create a picture of how reliant a community is on marine resources and how vulnerable it is to changes in social and economic conditions.

Fishing Footprints

Landings and revenues from commercial fishing are often presented by port of landing. This set of interactive maps looks at landings and revenues differently, —linking them to where the fish was caught rather than to where it was landed.

Market News Archives

Search by species for prices and quantities of fish sold at each of the three major seafood auctions in the region. Includes daily reporting and weekly summaries of auction prices and quantities sold, from August 1, 2012 to December 31, 2018.

Social Indicators

Social indicators are numerical measures that describe and evaluate the social, economic, and psychological well-being of individuals or communities. This interactive mapping and graphing tool allows users to display and download data that describe and evaluate a coastal community’s ability to respond to changing social, economic, and environmental conditions. The dataset includes information for more than 4,600 coastal communities in 23 states.

NOAA Voices Oral History Archives

A living collection of oral history interviews related to the changing environment, climate, oceans, and coasts. Established in 2003, this product allows users to access more than 1,800 interviews conducted with scientists, fishermen, and other stakeholders, and  to find information on creating and sharing their own collections.

Last updated by Northeast Fisheries Science Center on August 03, 2023