National Essential Fish Habitat Summit

Regional Essential Fish Habitat Profiles

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The National Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Summit was a unique opportunity for discussion among council and NOAA Fisheries habitat experts. The regional EFH profiles below were developed by Fisheries Forum staff with input and review provided by council and NOAA Fisheries staff. The purpose of these profiles was to provide all EFH Summit participants with valuable background information, and to help illustrate similarities, differences, and adaptations across regions.

These profiles were intended as background for discussion and were not intended to be comprehensive. The format, focus, and level of detail vary by profile in response to each region’s approach to implementing EFH authorities, as well as the suggestions provided by council and agency staff during the review process. This collection of materials also includes examples of EFH maps, text descriptions, process documents, and other regional resources provided by EFH Summit speakers to support presentations and discussions.

This page and the full set of regional profiles were published in May 2016, and have not been updated. Please visit individual council websites for updates and additional information on regional EFH initiatives.

Download the full report (including reviewers and references)

New England

The New England Council recently completed Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2, a comprehensive review of EFH and HAPC for all Council-managed species and spatial management measures to minimize the adverse effects of fishing on EFH.

New England EFH Profile

Example: Atlantic Cod EFH (OHA2 Preferred)

Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 Summary

Swept Area Seabed Impact (SASI) Approach Summary


The Pacific Council recently completed an EFH review and FMP amendment for Pacific Salmon, and is nearing the completion of an EFH review and amendment for Pacific Coast Groundfish. The Groundfish EFH Review follows a three-phase process described in the Council’s Operating Procedures.

Pacific EFH Profile

Map: West Coast States Salmon EFH

Maps: Pacific Coast Groundfish EFH Closed Areas and HAPCs

Council Operating Procedures 22

South Atlantic

The South Atlantic Council updates and refines EFH and HAPC through amendments to a Fishery Ecosystem Plan. The Council is developing an updated Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEPII) and updating information supporting EFH identification and refining spatial information where available.

South Atlantic EFH Profile

Habitat Policy StatementsDigital Dashboard

Habitat and Ecosystem Atlas

Maps: Appendices from Comprehensive Ecosystem Based Amendment 1


The Mid-Atlantic Council is conducting a project focused on strengthening existing habitat authorities and tools to address threats to fish habitat more effectively, and recently began a review of all EFH components for all Council managed species.

Mid-Atlantic EFH Profile

MAFMC Habitat Page and Habitat Policies

Map: Tilefish EFH (depth defined as 100-300m, no survey data)

Map: Adult illex squid (all data)

Map: Adult illex squid (EFH only)

North Pacific

The Alaska Region’s updated EFH description methodology describes EFH by species and life history stage using Level 1 and Level 2 data. The region is considering fishing effects to habitat with the use of a Fishing Effects model that calculates potential habitat reduction by estimating impacts and recovery in a continuous time framework.

North Pacific EFH Profile

2015 EFH 5-year Review Approach

2010 HAPC Process Document

Alaska Essential Fish Habitat Research Plan


The Caribbean Council is proposing to transition from the current species-based fishery management plans (FMPs) to island-based FMPs. Island-based FMPs will be structured by island or island group (including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix), and will require reviewing existing EFH and new EFH if new species are proposed for management.

Caribbean EFH Profile

Atlantic HMS

Atlantic Highly Migratory species (HMS) are managed internationally through the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and in the U.S. under the Magnuson-Stevens Act through an FMP administered by NOAA Fisheries under the Secretarial authority of the MSA. The Atlantic HMS FMP is subject to the same requirements as all federal FMPs, including the requirement to describe and identify EFH.

Atlantic HMS EFH Profile

Example: Atlantic Skipjack Tuna EFH

Western Pacific

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council completed its first five-year review for Hawaii Archipelago bottomfish in 2012, and received Secretarial approval on the amendment implementing changes to EFH in April of 2016. The region is currently review EFH for additional management unit species in each of the region’s Fishery Ecosystem Plans.

Western Pacific EFH Profile

Gulf of Mexico

The Gulf Council is currently undertaking a third EFH five-year review. This process will include developing web resources to help facilitate exploration of EFH information. The region’s second review in 2010 did not result in any changes to EFH descriptions.

Gulf of Mexico EFH Profile