Science and Research

The Bureau of Marine Science's mission is to conduct fisheries research and monitoring, critical habitat protection, conservation, management, protection and restoration of diadromous fish populations to their historic range, and marine resource education. The Department's research and monitoring efforts contribute to better decision-making by local, state, federal, international, academic and private parties. Research plans and priorities are described in more detail on our Research Projects page.

The Landings Program supports the Bureau's commitment to fisheries research and monitoring by providing accurate and timely data about commercial harvest volume and value which helps the department better allocate resources, achieve management targets, and quantify the value of Maine's fisheries.

Research programs include commercial catch sampling of lobsters, sea urchins, shrimp, herring, scallops, groundfish, and sea cucumbers for use in stock assessments, recreational fisheries sampling, aquaculture lease investigations, habitat mapping, seaweed management, oil spill response activities, protected species conservation, and fishery independent surveys of marine, estuarine, and riverine fishery resources, including a biannual inshore trawl survey.

Long-term programs to evaluate the condition of and year-to-year changes in stocks, habitats, and environmental conditions target fisheries such as Lobster, Atlantic Herring, Northern Shrimp, Scallops, and Green Sea Urchins.

The Maine Coastal Program's Mapping Initiative (MCMI) is acquiring critical data about the seafloor and our oceanic environment, including bathymetry (seafloor depth), sediment information, fauna type and abundance, and water column information.

The Department has developed GIS maps for scallop closures, lobster management areas, aquaculture lease and LPA sites, and more! These maps provide an interactive, up-to-date alternative to static maps, and many datasets are downloadable. Several data dashboards are also available.

Finally, education and outreach are integral to the delivery of research results and critical to a better appreciation of our valuable marine resources. Through our Maine State Aquarium and Burnt Island Lighthouse facilities, the Education Division provides educational services and materials to school children, teachers, and the general public.