The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the National Marine
Fisheries Service (NMFS) are the federal agencies responsible for marine
fishery assessment and management in Canada and the USA. These agencies conduct
large annual resource assessment trawl surveys for their stock assessments, and
to help determine management objectives.
DFO conducts ... surveys in four regional programs: the Bay of Fundy through the
Scotian Shelf; the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence; the Northern Gulf of St.
Lawrence; and the west and south coasts of Newfoundland, Grand Banks, and
Labrador Shelf. The NMFS survey extends from Cape Hatteras to the US/Canadian
border. These are by far the most comprehensive sets of fishery-independent
groundfish data available for the east coast of North America.
The Groundfish Atlas consists of distribution maps for 99 groundfish species
off the east coast of North America. Ninety-nine species maps (including four
genus maps) are presented in this atlas. The study area extends from the
coastline to beyond the continental shelf from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina,
USA (35 degrees North latitude), to Cape Chidley, Labrador, Canada (61 degrees
North latitude). These maps contain information on catch in numbers per tow,
along with some basic analyses of temporal variability by five-year time
Standard resource assessment trawl survey data were obtained from each source
for 1970-94, although little sampling was conducted in the Northern Gulf of St.
Lawrence and off northern Labrador in the earlier years. Corrections were made
to handle taxonomic errors and inconsistencies in species coding systems among
the surveys, and the data sets were merged into a single file format (see
Brown, et al., 1996 for details). No attempt was made to standardize the data
for the possible effects of differing survey gear. The overall dataset contains
55,043 tows with 26,286,369 individuals from 412 species (including some
A technical report based on the same data set, East Coast of North America
Groundfish: Initial Explorations of Biogeography and Species Assemblages (Brown
et al. 1996), is also available.
The maps, derived from trawl survey data, were developed as part of the East
Coast of North America Strategic Assessment Project (ECNASAP), a US/Canada data
synthesis and mapping project concerned with living marine resources and their