Collaboration between the world-class expertise of USGS scientists, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Science Program, and state and federal fishery agencies demonstrates the power of partnerships to solve seemingly-insurmountable problems in sustainable and cooperative management of Atlantic coastal fisheries.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is a compact of the 15 Atlantic coastal states that manages marine fish and shellfish within the jurisdiction of multiple states’ Atlantic waters. Today, ASMFC manages 27 of the Atlantic coast’s most productive and iconic species and species groups. Many of these species are diadromous, spending part of their lifecycle in freshwater rivers and streams and part in the marine (ocean) environment. The jurisdiction of the 15 Atlantic states to manage fisheries extends from inland streams and rivers to three miles off the Atlantic coast; thus many of the coast’s diadromous fish are managed under the auspices of ASMFC. The success of ASMFC stems from cooperation among state and federal agencies, namely USGS and NOAA Fisheries, with shared conservation responsibilities for interjurisdictional species.
As the only agency within the Department of the Interior (DOI) with a non-regulatory science mission, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is considered the research arm of the DOI, and USGS is uniquely positioned to support ASMFC and state marine fishery agencies with actionable science that is required under the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act of 1993. Additionally, this partnership benefits marine resources, commercial harvesters, recreational anglers, and shoreside business and their employees.
Since 2018, the USGS Ecosystem Mission Area has increased engagement with ASMFC and its partner agencies to determine where USGS science capabilities align with ASMFC science priorities, and to complement the science support provided by NOAA Fisheries, DOI’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and other partners. The Eastern Ecological Science Center (EESC, formerly Leetown Science Center) has led efforts to expand USGS’ partnership with ASMFC and support research aligned with ASMFC priorities to date.
Learn more about ASMFC’s Interstate Fisheries Management Program and managed species.
Partnership In Action
From “blue water” rivers and streams to “green water” marine environments and brackish estuaries in between, EESC and ASMFC are collaborating to bring together local, regional, and national expertise to provide the science that modern fisheries management demands. Incorporating habitat considerations into fishery management decisions is critical because habitat loss and degradation have been identified as significant factors affecting the long-term sustainability of the nation’s fisheries.
The research partnership between EESC and ASMFC encompasses a vast swath of science priorities that address USGS, EESC, ASMFC and state priorities including habitat mapping and assessment, improving diadromous fish passage, studying migratory behavior (telemetry studies), invasive species research, genetics and population modeling support, investigating unusual mortality events and fish diseases, evaluating temperature changes on freshwater and marine species, management support for endangered/threatened species, science to support management decision, and more.
Explore how our science supports fisheries management: