This map shows pertinent management areas for the scallop, herring, groundfish, lobster, and surfclam/ocean quahog commercial fisheries. The management areas are waters where commercial fishing activities are regulated by federal and non-federal agencies to govern species conservation and management. While the majority of these areas are federally mandated by the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), this map includes some areas managed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), which is a non-federal partnership of Atlantic coast states. All management areas shown on this map were selected by specialists familiar with commercial fishing activities and regulations, and the areas were vetted with regional NMFS personnel.

This web map displays the management areas based on fishery. When a fishery is selected in the menu, the management area layers are listed below the legend. All fishery management areas have the same color with a slight transparency to visualize overlapping areas. Basic information about each area is available through a combination of annotation in the map, a hover function that provides area name, and a clickable highlight function that shows the area boundaries. More information is available by clicking on each layer name, which pops up a brief description including the date the area went into effect, as well as links to metadata and map documents.

The purpose of this web map is to help provide spatial context for the accompanying Vessel Activity map, which displays Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) data. The selected management areas shown here may be useful for understanding spatial patterns of vessel activity in a fishery. While the management areas were selected to be pertinent to the Vessel Activity map, patterns evident on the Vessel Activity maps may reflect spatial regulations that are no longer in place. It is recommended to check the effective date notice for each regulated area to understand when the regulated area legally took effect or was most recently modified.

Data Considerations

The data on this map are predominantly from the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO). Scallop management areas represent locations where fishing activities and gear for Atlantic sea scallop are prohibited or restricted on a continuous or temporary basis. Herring management areas include Herring Management Areas and ASMFC spawning area closures in the near-shore Gulf of Maine. Groundfish management areas include seven habitat closure areas and five closed areas, as well as three areas with specific requirements for mesh sizes used for fishing. Surfclam/ocean quahog management areas include closure areas where the harvesting of certain shellfish is prohibited due to degraded water quality conditions and an area in Maine that has restrictions regarding the harvesting of mahogany quahogs, as well as habitat closure areas and closed areas. Lobster management areas depict the seven American lobster fishery areas that are managed by the ASMFC with NMFS issuing complementary regulations.

Northeast Ocean Data hosts all published GARFO layers in a map service. However, a select set were republished on this map and in a map service to present important management areas that are pertinent to specific fisheries and especially relevant to the ocean planning process.


NMFS data are from GARFO as of fall 2015. Data are considered final, and these data will be updated as described in the 2016 Northeast Ocean Plan.

Support for Regional Ocean Planning

For information about how these data and maps were developed with stakeholder input and will be used to support regional ocean planning, please see the 2016 Northeast Ocean Plan at www.neoceanplanning.org.