Northeast Ocean Data provides easy-to-use interactive maps of the ocean’s human dimensions, marine life, and environmental characteristics. We collaborate with many organizations to identify data needs, obtain new datasets, enhance existing datasets, and determine the best ways to map ocean features. Based on that information, we are currently developing a variety of new datasets and maps. Information about how datasets and maps support ocean planning is available from the Northeast Regional Planning Body.


Growing and harvesting shellfish, fish, and seaweed for commercial purposes is a key ocean use in the Northeast. The aquaculture map presents a range of information related to aquaculture, including aquaculture sites and shellfish management areas.

The Northeast Regional Ocean Council in 2012 and 2013 conducted a project to begin producing fishery maps for ocean planning. Maps for four commercial fisheries are now available, showing data from 2006 to 2010: scallop, multispecies, monkfish, and surf clam/quahog. Maps including more years and showing other fisheries are in development.

People in the Northeast have strong cultural ties to the ocean and coast. The culture map shows nationally registered historic sites, landmarks, districts, and properties within ten kilometers of the coastline in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York. Sites in Connecticut and New Hampshire will be added when the datasets become available.

Interest in using the ocean for energy generation and distribution is increasing. The energy and infrastructure map shows energy planning and project areas and energy-related infrastructure.

The marine transportation map shows navigation and marine operation areas and vessel traffic patterns. We are working with BOEM, NOAA, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the industry to improve these data sources, including identifying additional marine operation areas and better representing different types of vessel traffic and commerce.

The national security map shows locations of Department of Defense infrastructure and areas used for surface and subsurface naval operations.

The recreation map shows data on recreational boating and boating-related activities based on the 2012 Northeast Recreational Boater Survey. We developed maps from the survey data in partnership with the boating industry. We are currently obtaining data and developing additional maps of coastal and ocean recreation.


The relative abundance and relative occurrence of 40 seabird species are predicted by models developed by the NOAA National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science in partnership with the Marine-life Data and Analysis Team. Summary maps show total abundance, species richness, and diversity for all birds and several regulatory, ecological, and stressor-sensitivity species groupings.

The observed biomass of 82 fish species in four different fall-season trawl datasets was mapped by the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) in partnership with the Marine-life Data and Analysis Team. Summary maps of the data show total biomass, species richness, and diversity for all fish species and several regulatory and biological species groupings. This map also shows Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) and the abundance and biomass of sea scallops.

The distribution and abundance of 29 marine mammal species and species guilds (whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals) are predicted by habitat density models developed by the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab at Duke University in partnership with the Marine-life Data and Analysis Team. Summary maps display total abundance, species richness, and diversity for all cetaceans and several regulatory, biological, and stressor-sensitivity species groupings. This map also currently contains seasonal sightings-per-unit-effort (SPUE) data for turtles.

The habitat map provides important context for underlying physical and biological features such as the shape and composition of the seafloor, water column characteristics, and primary and secondary productivity. The datasets presented in this theme include seafloor sediment, ocean temperature and stratification, zooplankton abundance, eelgrass beds, wetlands, and modeled coral habitat suitability.


The Northeast Regional Planning Body and the Northeast Regional Ocean Council have developed a dataset of priority ecosystem restoration projects, including restoration of salt marshes, eelgrass beds, and oysters, as well as dam removal and improvement of fish passage. The map includes information about the potential projects, most of which are eligible for federal funding and also require non-federal cost sharing.

Maintaining and improving water quality is vital for the region’s economic and ecological health. This map shows locations of wastewater discharges, impaired waters, and no-discharge zones as designated under the Clean Water Act.