Current Conditions of the Northeast U.S. Shelf Ecosystem

October 18, 2019

A current summary of temperature, salinity, chlorophyll and other conditions on the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf.

Current Conditions

The Current Conditions is a biannual report on ecosystem and fisheries indicators for the Northeast U.S. continental shelf ecosystem. The report includes measurements of temperature and salinity indicators of seasonal warming and cooling patterns. Indicators describing phytoplankton distribution and blooms are derived from satellite remote sensing data. Upper trophic level indicators of fish and macroinvertebrate habitat and distribution dynamics are based on the Northeast Fisheries Science Center bottom trawl surveys.

Current Report Summary

  • During the first half of 2019, sea surface temperatures in the Northeast U.S. Shelf Ecosystem continued to be moderate compared to the record high temperatures that occurred in 2012. However, based on contemporary satellite remote-sensing data and shipboard measurements, temperatures remain above the long-term average.

  • The Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank 2019 winter-spring phytoplankton blooms were  below average. 

  • Compared to recent years, the spring thermal transition dates for 2019 were near average. 

  • According to bottom trawl survey samples through spring 2019, fish and invertebrate species distribution has shifted to the northeast and into deeper water. 

See the complete Spring 2019 report.

Previous Reports

Fall 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006
(reporting on the first six months of the year)

Spring 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006
(reporting on the last six months of the previous year)


Last updated by Northeast Fisheries Science Center on 01/10/2020