Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2 - Interactive Map Viewer

This map viewer was built by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to provide interactive access to the habitat alternatives proposed by the Northeast Fisheries Management Council in the Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2. The map layers in this viewer were provided by the NEFMC. For more information on using the viewer, please read our help section.

Base Layers

Habitat Alternatives: Eastern GOM

Habitat Alternatives: Central GOM

Habitat Alternatives: Western GOM

Habitat Alternatives: Georges Bank

Habitat Alternatives: Great South Channel/ Southern New England

Spawning Alternatives: Gulf of Maine

Spawning Alternatives: Georges Bank

Research Alternatives

Map Legend

Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2

After more than 10 years of on-again, off-again deliberations, the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) is preparing to take final action on the comprehensive Omnibus Habitat Amendment. "Omnibus" refers to the amendment's application across all fishery management plans (FMPs) within the New England region. The six-volume document addresses several aspects of spatial management: essential fish habitat, permanent and seasonal closed areas, and a detailed analysis of the ecological, social, and economic impacts of the alternatives under consideration.


Essential Fish Habitat (EFH)

The amendment updates EFH designation for all species under NEFMC management. These designations have little impact on fishing activity. Rather, they guide NOAA' s consultation process when other agencies are reviewing non-fishing activities, such as dredging, coastal development, or beach restoration. The amendment also updates Habitat Areas of Particular Concern, essentially a subset of EFH. Any non-fishing activity proposed within an EFH may be subject to limitations, such as dredging only during certain months.

Closed Areas

The most significant part of the amendment deals with proposed changes to the network of year-round and seasonal closed areas in New England waters. Federal regulators have closed areas to fishing activity for varying reasons over the past 20 years. The amendment reconsiders those closures in light of new analysis based on seabed impacts of fishing activity, location of high densities of juvenile groundfish in surveys, and a greater understanding of the spawning behavior of species such as cod. Given the new output-based management approach for groundfish, regulators are also considering changes to closed areas that were designed primarily to limit fishing effort.

Impact Analysis

The impact analysis portions of the amendment anticipate the potential gains or losses to the fishing industry of opening or closing areas. That analysis is then compared to the ecological gains or losses of those actions. In addition, the amendment document considers the cumulative impact of making changes collectively. This section contains in-depth analysis of those impacts across fisheries and communities.


For more information visit www.nefmc.org/management-plans/habitat.

How to use the viewer

Click on the header name (e.g. Volume 3, Section 2.1.1: Eastern GOM) to open the alternative options for that subregion. Click the box next to the alternative you wish to view, and the layers will display on the map. The legend on the far right will identify the specific areas included in the alternative.
Clicking the globe icon will zoom the map to the bounding box of this subregion.
To view more detail about each alternative, click the small info icon to view a pop up window describing the alternative.
Use the +/- zoom control tools on the map to zoom into a layer to view features from the basemap, such as the nautical chart layer.
To view any additional closure options with the alternative, click the link in parenthesis that looks like: (with option 1-4).
Three basemap options are available. By default, the ESRI Oceans basemap is selected. You can choose the NOAA RNC (or Raster Nautical Chart) layer seen above, or the NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts (NOAA ENCĀ®) layer (featuring the ESRI Maritime Charts) as seen in the image below. To view fine scale features on the ESRI layer, you will need to zoom in on the layer.
If many alternatives have been selected from multiple subregions, simply refresh the browser for a clean view of the map.