Northeast Regional Marine Fish Habitat Assessment

The Northeast Regional Marine Fish Habitat Assessment (NRHA) is a collaborative effort to describe and characterize estuarine, coastal, and offshore fish habitat distribution, abundance, and quality in the Northeast. The project aims to align habitat science goals and priorities with human and financial resources to develop habitat science products that support an assessment. Work associated with the NRHA is expected to occur over a three-year time period from July 2019 through July 2022.

The project is being led by a Steering Committee composed of leadership from the major habitat conservation, restoration, and science organizations in the region.

Core Actions

Four core actions have been identified to support the habitat assessment:

  1. Abundance and trends in habitat types in the inshore area. This action will map the location and extent of habitat types utilized by the focus species and quantify the areal coverage, status and trends of these habitats. It will also compile metrics that may inform an assessment of habitat quality.

  2. Habitat vulnerability. This action will involve Council and Commission staff coordination with, and participation in, the NOAA Habitat Climate Vulnerability Assessment (HCVA). That assessment will use habitat experts to examine fish habitat vulnerability to climate and non-climate stressors.

  3. Spatial descriptions of species habitat use in the offshore area. This action will use model-based and empirical approaches to identify, predict, and map habitat use for each of the focus species and track and quantify changes in habitat use over time (e.g. seasonal, annual, and future predicted use).

  4. Habitat data visualization and decision support tool. Habitat information will be incorporated into a publicly accessible decision support tool, making this information available to partners to visualize habitat location, extent, and use throughout the region, and provide access to relevant data and habitat metrics developed by the assessment.

Please see the workplan linked in the “Documents” section for additional information about key outcomes and timelines for each of these actions.



Steering Committee Member Organizations

  • Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Chair)

  • Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

  • Atlantic Coast Fish Habitat Partnership

  • Duke University

  • Monmouth University

  • National Fish Habitat Partnership

  • New England Fishery Management Council

  • NOAA Fisheries Offices of Habitat Conservation (Headquarters and Region)

  • NOAA Fisheries Offices of Science and Technology (Ecosystems and Monitoring)

  • NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center

  • NOAA NCCOS Marine Spatial Ecology Division

  • The Nature Conservancy


For more information, please contact the action leads: