New England and the Mid-Atlantic have a long and storied history of fishing, beginning with the Native American tribes who celebrated annual fish runs, and continuing with the colonial settlers, the whalers, and the modern fishing fleet.
Fishing still defines our culture today, with lobsters, sea scallops, crabs, and a variety of fish filling our menus and attracting tourists from all over the world. New Bedford, Massachusetts, has been the highest value port in the United States for 16 consecutive years, thanks to the lucrative scallop fishery. Recreational fishing is a popular pastime, contributing $4.3 billion to our economy. Many fishermen still fish in the same places and for the same species as their ancestors hundreds of years ago.
Our work to ensure sustainable fisheries and protect marine life is a joint effort of the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office and Northeast Fisheries Science Center, offering sound science to help inform management decisions in an ever-changing environment.
The Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office is responsible for the science-based stewardship of the nation’s living marine and diadromous resources and their habitats throughout approximately 100,000 square miles of the northwest Atlantic. The region encompasses the large marine ecosystem from Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; the Great Lakes; and the rivers and estuaries within this range.
Since 1871, when NOAA Fisheries’ first laboratory was founded in Woods Hole, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center has 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.
Partnering with Industry
Our Cooperative Research Branch brings fishermen and researchers together in projects that require specialized knowledge. The results promote better science and management for fisheries, and effective communication and collaboration among fishing professionals in the region.
For more than 50 years, researchers and volunteers have gone to sea aboard NOAA fishery survey vessels to collect fish and plankton samples, count marine mammals and seabirds, and take oceanographic measurements.
Understanding the complex interplay of the ocean, the life it supports, climate, and resilience in natural and human communities is a tall order. Our scientists are well suited to study these connections within a large marine ecosystem.
We collect and use information from commercial and recreational fisheries to inform fisheries science and management, as well as fill data gaps to complement fishery independent surveys through commercial and recreational fishing platforms. We work